Becoming Janus

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s the time of year to sit down, reflect on what’s gone by, to look forward to the future, and to attempt to mold that future through a resolution or two. It sounds daunting because we’re talking about, yanno, a year, and it sounds daunting because we usually have BIG IDEAS and BIG PLANS for that year, and often, it’s easy to fall off the saddle before January has even wrapped up.

I have some friends who don’t do resolutions. Not just the ones who don’t do resolutions at all, but those who simply have a different approach. My friend Nu Yang names her years: she gives herself a theme and focuses each year to make sure everything she does is supporting that theme. I love that idea. It’s not one I can embrace for myself, because I need more direction, but I love it. However one approaches a new year, if it works, hats off to you!

As for me, it’s time to reflect: what happened, where I am now, and what I hope to maybe accomplish in 2015. If you’re interested, just click the cut. If you’re not, Happy New Year! May your 2015 be better than 2014.

I sure as hell hope mine is.

It should be no secret to anyone who knows me, nor to anyone who follows this blog, that 2014 has been, in short, a very bad year. It was a year that saw the death of friends and family. A year where mistakes were made that were so huge in nature that I couldn’t ignore their impact on my life, even if I wanted to. It was the year that made me realize I needed therapy, because I’d be drowning now otherwise.

But it’s also been the year where I’ve learned to step up and really start embracing myself, my needs, my desires. This, of course, is an ongoing process, but one of the things I’ve been so keenly aware of this year is that it’s truly been a transitional year for me. I’ve made some decisions, taken some trips, and met up with some people that have really crystallized the fact that it’s time to stop saying, “When I grow up,” and say instead, “I’m a grown-up. What am I going to do about it?” It’s been the year of reconciling old and new hurts, and it’s been the year of putting the past behind me, the year of putting the past into perspective. What I thought were scabbed over wounds are now barely-there scars, though to be honest, there are new wounds, courtesy of 2014, that while healed, are still tender to the touch.

But still:

2014 is the year I paid off my under-graduate student loans. And that is no small feat.

2014 is the year I got to see my favorite band live in concert.

2014 is the year I took one step forward and two steps back in writing, but I came up with a novel/novella idea that could be my breakout.

It’s true that writing did not turn out the way I’d hoped this year. By this time, I was hoping to be finished and/or putting the final touches on the revised draft of Codename: Magic Elves. While I’ve got the revised first act outlined and ready to start working, writing, as a whole, just did not happen this year, due to the aforementioned emotional and mental stress. I’m trying to forgive myself for that. I’m trying to forgive myself for a lot of things, because if I had to describe my mental state this year, it would be the Year of the Derp. It’s the year my brain just did not work as properly as it should, which led to more mistakes at work and more trouble focusing in general. It was the year that my temper was more likely to get the better of me, and all I can say is that I’m thankful for each and every person in my life who had my back, who supported me, and if anything, kept their patience and offered sympathy when I needed it.

It’s the year where my year-long dedication to the morning elliptical routine faltered, and I’ve been dead in the water ever since late October. The scale shows that, which is also disappointing.

But I don’t want to wallow in last year. In fact, I’m thrilled that the new year is just hours away. While I know it’s an arbitrary thing, the turn of the calendar from one year to the next, it can be a cleansing, focusing thing. This, in and of itself, has power. It’s a state of mind, no doubt, and I’m under no illusions as to the fact that not everything I resolve to do, here and now, is going to carry over. So at this point, consider this is a list of possibilities. I’m still mulling them over, and some obviously, some possibilities are more likely than others.

1) Pay off my graduate school loans. I’m so close to being debt-free I can taste it.

2) Celebrate by putting myself back in debt: it’s time for a new car, and it’s time to start house-shopping. By this time next year, we may have moved.

3) Get back on the elliptical. It’s time, bitches!

4) Find a way to incorporate my physical therapy exercises into a daily routine. Not all of them, not all at once, but damn it, I gotta try. Shut up, Yoda.

5) A blog a day keeps the doctor away, right? I miss blogging, and I’d love to post on a daily basis. This is probably a pipe dream, but one thing I need to start doing is just putting myself out there, without fear of censure. It’s stupid how, since closing my book blog, that I’ve decided my opinion doesn’t matter. The only way to get over that is to force myself to write daily.

6) Take a break from Facebook. Like, for real. Like, maybe even for a full year. Delete my bookmarks so I can’t just click it. Delete the app from my iPhone so I can’t check it when I’m bored. I wonder what I could accomplish if I did this?

7) Piss or get off the pot: writing. It’s time, in some form or fashion, to make it or break it. It’s the 10 year anniversary of my attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop, and it’s time to make a legitimate effort to get published. More on that in a later post.

8) To read or not to read, that is the question: I had a niggle of a thought this past year for 2015, and that was to only acquire new books by authors I’ve already read. Favorite authors. My TBR is wildly out of control, thanks to the ease of Paperback Swapping and one-click purchases of cheap Kindle books. We’ll see. I’m still contemplating this beast.

9) Create a plan to get through the TBR pile: right now, I’m thinking a simple rotation so I don’t feel like any one thing is piling up or getting neglected:

1) Read a Kindle book.

2) Read a physical book.

3) Read a Paperback Swap book and put it back in the mail.

10) Rethink my work schedule. This is tempting, despite it putting a major kink in possible resolutions #3, #4, #5, and #7. More on this later. Maybe. We’ll see.

I think that’s enough babbling for right now. To say I’m looking forward to 2015 is an understatement. And of the above possible resolutions (god knows I’m not going to fulfill them all), one thing is most definite: to remember to take care of myself, to listen to myself, to trust myself, to love myself. That, above all, will make me happy.

Happy New Year.

14 thoughts on “Becoming Janus

    1. I can’t wait to see your post! I find your method so inspiring. I feel like I need more direction, otherwise I get all nebulous and shit about what I need to do. 🙂

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  1. I love/hate Facebook. As much as I understand why people loathe it, I hate it when people delete Facebook altogether because then it’s like they’re fallen off the face of the earth. I never hear from the people who quit it and of course, it’s always people I like and never the annoying ones. I miss the DiaryLand/Livejournal type of blogging. I felt genuine connection and support through those blogs, while Facebook makes me feel like I’m getting my nose shoved in other people’s perfect lives. I’d like to start another blog but I can’t be as vulnerable or real on a public blog as I could on those other sites. Do you do any weight-lifting? I’m not going to lie to you and say I enjoy it, but it makes a big difference in how I look and feel. I need you to read more so you can recommend more. 🙂

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    1. I don’t plan on deleting Facebook if I do this experiment. Rather, I’d delete my easy access to it, so I don’t go there mindlessly. I’m still chewing on the idea. I want to bring back the type of blogging you describe, which is why I’d love to do an entry a day, regardless of what’s going on. We’ll see.

      I think you could totally do a blog and be entirely honest, but for your sake, maybe give yourself a moniker, you know? Having an alias would give you some privacy. I think The Bloggess is a GREAT example, though I don’t know how anonymously she started.

      I tried weight-lifting earlier in the spring of 2014. It went okay. I didn’t love it either, and I find I have trouble carving out the time for it. Hell, if I can’t carve out the time for my physical therapy exercises, weight-lifting is going to be even more difficult. Not enough hours in the day, and there’s always other things I’d rather be doing, you know?

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  2. I’m sorry your year didn’t go as you planned.

    I’m finally starting to feel like I’m just getting out of the rut I’ve been in for the past…oh, about five years. I finally earned myself an associate’s degree. I finally finished the first draft of my book, which I’ve been working on for I don’t know how long.

    I have a semester off before I start working towards my bachelor’s, so I’m planning on putting myself on a writing schedule–basically, from 10 am to 4 pm is writing time, just as if it was a real job. I want to get this book ready to publish this year.

    I have a few other goals, but finishing my book is the main one for now.

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    1. I wish you the best of luck in finishing your book! That’ll be quite the accomplishment, and congrats on getting your associates!

      I had a rut after I finished grad school in 2008, and really didn’t write much at all until 2012, when a few of my friends challenged me to write a page-a-day and I came up with codename: Magic Elves. So I feel your pain. Pulling yourself out is a tough, tough thing. Right now, I feel like I’m pulling myself out of last year’s rut using sheer force.

      Is your novel fantasy? Science fiction? Urban fantasy? YA?

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      1. I want to say it’s urban fantasy, but I don’t think it really qualifies. It’s kind of like Harry Potter in that it takes place in the “real” world, but there are magical things going on that most people aren’t aware of. I guess most people would consider it YA, just because the main character is 16, but I’m not sure I’d put it in that category.

        There’s some pretty gruesome, creepy things going on in it. Is Gothic Fantasy a thing?

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        1. Maybe you could market it as “Adult Harry Potter”? Marking is a funny thing. The important thing to iron out is your pitch so when you’re ready to talk about it, you’ve at least got a hook ’em line, you know? Let the publisher decide how they want to market it. 🙂

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          1. It’s more like, “If Stephen King wrote Harry Potter.” Or maybe, “If Stephen King wrote Twilight,” although god knows, I don’t want my book associated with that one.

            It’s funny, you can kind of tell I was rebelling big time against the “vampire as romantic lead” thing while I was writing. The main baddies, or at least the ones who appear most “on-screen” so to speak, are vampires, and they’re hideous monsters with no redeeming traits at all. Much less “Twilight” and much more “Thirty Days of Night,” really.

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            1. Understandable. Vampire as the romantic lead has been popular for a while, but the trend seems to be ebbing, maybe? Hard to tell, because I don’t read as much paranormal YA anymore.

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              1. I kind of hate that if I mention I’m a vampire fan, people assume I must really love Twilight. Truth is, I’ve never read it. I’ve heard too much about it that warns me away from it. Romance really just isn’t my thing, especially when vampires are involved–that stuff just kind of makes me cringe. I don’t have anything against people who like it, it’s just not for me.

                I much prefer vampires as they were originally: undead monsters. I mean, I have written things with vampires as the hero, but even then it’s very clear the vampire is rebelling against his or her nature. One of the first short stories I ever finished was about a female vampire, but she was more of an anti-hero. She realizes perfectly well that her nature is to be a cold-blooded killer, and she ends up as kind of a female vampire version of Dexter, hunting down and destroying other vampires.

                “Dracula” is one of my all-time favorite books. I like it because it straddles the line with the vampire being handsome and charming, but at the same time clearly villainous and blood-thirsty.

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                  1. I haven’t. I just looked it up, and it sounds like something I’d enjoy reading. I love historical tie-ins in fiction, and history itself is very interesting to me. Vlad Dracula was a pretty interesting person even without taking into account the character he inspired.

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