Another Year Over, and What have I done?

“So this is Christmas. And what have you done?
Another year over. A new one just begun.”

When I hear this classic Christmas song by John Lennon and the question he poses, it always makes me stop and think. What have I done? I mean, what did I do this last year that really made a difference?

Some of us tend to set goals and expectations for the coming new year. One year I created a visual on a whiteboard, wrote out all my self-imposed expectations and goals to be achieved for the first half of the year. I bailed on it before March.

It was becoming clear real fast I wasn’t going to stick it out. Being a rule follower has not been one of my strongest attributes. If I can find a reason not to do that uncomfortable social media marketing, I will. “What? The upstairs bathroom needs to be cleaned? I’ll be right there!”

So why didn’t that whiteboard work? Was it because I had set my expectations too high, too lofty to be realistic? Maybe I hadn’t clearly defined the steps that had to be taken to achieve them. In retrospect, maybe I just didn’t need those goals to be met in the first place. If I really needed them to be attained, I know myself well enough that I would have done so.

As I reflect on how much my mother has aged this past year, I know my time with her is limited. Hearing her voice on the other end of the phone is a gift to me. Someday it will go silent. Her loving voice will be held only in my memory.

My husband’s year of knee replacement surgeries, (on both knees, only 5 months apart!) has required the reluctant nurse in me to step up to the plate, though Florence Nightingale I am not. There were days I wanted to stab him with a kitchen fork if he asked me for one more thing! Fortunately, he’s recovering nicely, with no stab wounds, so I guess I did okay.

But maybe our reflections and expectations of the past year are not to hash over what we did or didn’t accomplish, but rather what little moments of joy we experienced. And more than that, what little bits of joy we brought into someone else’s life, intentionally or by chance.
When our granddaughter’s ran across the gym floor to give us a hug upon seeing our entrance for their basketball game, in front of their teammates, (during their warm ups no less!), well, that was called pure joy!

When the story of MARK OF THE FAERIE barreled down on me over twenty years ago and demanded to be written, I didn’t know where this journey would take me. But when something bigger than yourself demands your attention, there is a reason for that.

There is a sign in my office that reads:
We all die. The goal is not to live forever. The goal is to create something that will. Four published books later, this amazing tale has now been released to the world, and I know that I have created something that will live forever.

And that is where gratitude comes in. Every book sale is an opportunity to share this magical saga of Isaboe and Connor, Margaret and Rosalyn. Even the evil Fey Queen Lorien has a story that deserves to be shared. Though I may not have met my expectations of making a best sellers list, yet, I am grateful for the readers who have embraced this story.  And to those of you who have gone out of your way to leave a review, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Reviews are the lifeblood of any product, especially sold online. Think of the last time you researched for a new product on Amazon. You were more likely to buy the product with more good reviews, right?

The same goes with books.

It is an understatement to say how truly grateful I am for each and every one of my readers. For all of you who have stopped by my booth at one of the fairs I attended this year, bought a book, (or books), or reached out to me online, thank you!!  When I make a connection with another soul through my writing, well, as an author, that honor gives me the greatest joy.

An author friend of mine recently posted on her FB page this one-line sentence:

I’m still here… still alive… still writing… just breathing.

What struck me about this post was the number of times she used the word ‘still’. When we constantly push ourselves, we forget how to be still. I mean, really still. There is peace of mind and of soul that can be found in the simple act of just breathing, focusing inward, being still.
(Note to self: Download a meditation app on my phone! A gift to myself for 2024!) 

During this busy time of year, and whatever this holiday season means to you, my wish for you is the gift of finding and embracing all those little moments of joy, no matter how small or fleeting.

I love to hear from you! Please reach out and share your reflections on this closing year. What does it mean to you? If you liked this post, please feel free to share it!

P.S. – Don’t forget the booklover on your list! The four-book series of MARK OF THE FAERIE makes a great gift!

I’ll end this post the same way it started, with words from John Lennon’s Christmas song:

“And a Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”

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