One Word at a Time Will Get Me On My Way

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Now that I’ve made the promise to myself, that this year, this 2019, I would do things differently, think new thoughts, try scary things and break through some of these fears and self-doubts that I’ve been wearing all these 72 years, I’m finding that it ain’t as easy as writing the words. I didn’t think it would be a breeze, but I had convinced myself that I was ready and even eager to take this challenge on. I thought I was ready to propel myself into this adventure but forgot that all of those fears were still sitting inside of me waiting to rear their ugly heads and put the brakes on my otherwise rosy plans.

All this self-recrimination started when my good friend, M, sent me the seat sale for Westjet. She didn’t write anything, just sent me the advertisement. We had talked about it earlier in the week and she had told me that their sales were fantastic. So her intentions were all good and I had told her — and myself — that this year I was going to travel. Go Someplace Where I’ve Never Been Before, I boasted. Get myself back to an ocean somewhere in this world. I was going to pack my bag and head off to one of my great unknowns. But I couldn’t do it that day. I couldn’t be spontaneous and just pick a date out of the blue, pluck my credit card down, and plan the trip afterwards.

I was greatly disappointed in myself. I felt like I had, in the first month of this new year, negated all my promises. I sent M an email and asked her if she thought my reluctance to just go-with-it and get a reservation was a sign of my “old demons” rearing their ugly heads. She wrote back that only I could answer that question.

That made me feel worse.

I had to do something to pull my spirit out of the toilet. So I decided to put the whip back in the closet and stop the shaming voice inside my head — which, as you probably know, is utterly worthless. Instead, I took a smaller, but a very important, step towards my 2019 goals. I started reading one of the books on my Ann’s 2019 Reading List.

Earlier this year — can you even say that when you’re still in January? — I decided, as part of this New-Ann-In-2019, it was time to wean myself off of the steady diet of period mysteries I have been reading for the past ten years or so and challenge my mind with something a little more substantive. I knew I couldn’t be trusted to pick out a new reading list on my own. I’ve had too many disappointments in the past. After reading glowing reviews of books in the New Yorker or in the paper, I would eagerly put them on hold at the library. By the time they came in, I couldn’t figure out why the hell I ordered it as I struggled to get beyond the first fifteen pages. (My friend, L, told me never to trust book reviews, “They’re written only to sell the books, Ann.”)

So, this time, I didn’t put my reading future into the hands of strangers. No, instead, I sent an email to a bunch of my wonderful, eclectic friends, and asked them for the titles of their two, or three favourite books. The results have been amazing. I have a list of 24 books so far that are as varied and interesting as the people who gave them to me. There are classics I’ve never read, a trilogy on witches and vampires, another trilogy described by the friend who recommended it, as an “Indian soap opera,” tell-all memoirs, a heavy Canadian content that I have avoided reading these past 23 years, and lots more. I probably won’t like them all but I’ll read them all. It’s another one of those promises I made myself.

And, there are added bonuses to this method: 1) I have my friends right here to talk with about the books afterwards and, 2) when the time comes when I do make that reservation to go someplace I’ve never been before, I’ll not have to even think about what I’m going to take to read on the trip.

Now I’m off to start Book II on the list.

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Let My Games Begin!

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The lords have done their last leaping, the maidens have overfilled their buckets with milk and those drummers have — finally — drummed their last beat. The holidays of 2018 are over and I can finally, on this 7th day of January 2019, declare my new year beginning.

I’ve been so ready for this new year to come. 2018 dumped some pretty severe shit on my head and on the heads of a lot of folks I know. But that’s over and it’s a new year and a new beginning and I have decided to embrace it head on in all its and my glory. And Nina Simone gave me my road map.

One day, at the end of that old year, I was doing my exercises with my iPod plugged into my ears and the same old songs were playing so I was not giving much attention to them. Then she came on. Nina Simone doesn’t usually make it in the random sorting of my music, probably because I only have two of her songs on there, but she did that morning. She was singing, Tomorrow is My Turn. Those words were exactly what I needed to hear as I thought about this new year and how I wanted to approach it.

Tomorrow is my turn
No more doubts no more fears
Tomorrow is my turn
When my luck is returning
All these years I’ve been learning to save fingers from burning
Tomorrow is my turn
No more doubts no more fears

Those words were like a fist in the air to 2018 and all the times I didn’t do something because I was afraid. I don’t have time left in my life to let fear keep me quiet and safe and not doing things that might just be a lot of fun. It’s my year to learn and to love and to embrace what and who’s around me. I might go hiding sometimes and I might fall into old traps and routines, but I’m going to try. Yes, that’s my new year’s resolution that’s not really a resolution but a promise to myself.

So that’s why Sarah, my social media guru, and I created the new banner at the top of this blog. If I was going into a new year and, in a way, a new beginning, I had to have the start of that road map right in front of me. I don’t know what will come or happen but I’m ready for some new adventures.I’m going to be writing about things and places and people I meet right here. I hope you’ll continue to travel around with me via my words on this blog. Oh, not to worry, sweet Rose — The Cat — will definitely be a part of this whole journey.

Happy New 2019