I just finished reading a book I started long ago: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. It went the way of many projects I start and never finish until I found it, half read, on my shelf. I know there is truth to Tolle’s message, but it’s difficult to put into practice, to realize that all we have is this moment, and to keep bringing our attention back to the present. Rather than being bogged down by the past, or fearing the future, or living only in the past or for some goal in the future, we should focus our attention on this moment. I know that when you immerse yourself in something engaging, or you are simply silent and walk through nature, fully present in your body, you can achieve this moment of NOW.
I decided that I won’t take on anything new this year, but I want to try to immerse myself in the things I started last year and still enjoy: trip planning, working on my road trip novel, revising my finished novel one more time, taking pictures, writing poetry, blogging, drawing, art and bullet journaling, painting in watercolor, and being present in the moment. I have created a bullet journal (for the first time ever) with all my goals, including various trackers, to keep with me through the year. There is something satisfying about having something solid as opposed to digital, a book that I can play with, carry around, and add to throughout the year.
I want to finish the first draft of my road trip novel, and to have fun with it, without any regard to whether it’s good enough, or whether I’m creative or imaginative enough, or whether it will ever be published. I want to look at each day of writing as an adventure, and to enjoy the fun of failure! This was my goal for last year, and I abandoned it rather quickly after the new year, convincing myself that I wasn’t creative enough, that I didn’t have any ideas, that I can never be as good as my favorite writers. This coming year, I’m setting a more realistic goal of writing 500 words each weekday (not holidays or weekends). If I can get into the groove of this, eventually I’ll have my novel.
I also plan to continue to make intentions for my travels, to have fun making my travels more artful, and experimenting with different ways to create art from those travels.
My travels this year I hope will include:
- A trip to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. This is a bit of a far-fetched dream as I have other trips I want to do that have higher priority. But even if I can’t actually travel there, I plan to learn about the islands and culture, and read some books set there. If I can’t go there in person, I can certainly travel by armchair.
- A trip to Chicago, Illinois. I have never delved into this city and look forward to an adventure with my husband.
- A month living like a local in Ecuador. I have no interest in the Galapagos Islands, but I want to spend time in Quito and Cuenca and in the Andes, learning about the culture and studying Spanish. I’ve already signed up for an Adult Education Spanish class beginning in January.
- A month-long road trip to west Texas and New Mexico.
- A shorter road trip to Chattanooga and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
I want to read books that I already have on my bookshelves (60 is my goal); many of these books I’ve had for 10 years or more! I want to keep plugging away at the Kon Mari decluttering we started a couple of years ago. I also want to get my youngest son launched, fly my older son back home for a visit, and visit my daughter on a more regular basis.
In the fitness category, I have already started a Pilates practice, which I hope to continue all year. I would also like to get my bicycle fixed and take one bike ride per week once the weather gets nice. I’ll continue to walk 3 miles on days I don’t do Pilates or bike. I’ve already signed up to walk the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k at the end of March.
Most of all, I want to enjoy the journey, to follow my curiosity, to look at all my attempts as adventures.
“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
I don’t want to think about the end goals because end goals seem to suggest that the journey itself is drudgery. I hope to enjoy the journey for its own sake, as I did the when I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2018. I’ve created various habit trackers just to keep track of habits that I want to form.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha