Friday, January 13, 2023

What I’m Taking Into 2023

It’s probably a little late to be posting “new year” thoughts, but I was late to church almost every Sunday morning for most of my childhood (NOT MY FAULT) (although something I've had to work on since), and my father liked to sit up front, where everyone could watch us shamefacedly slink in and take seats, so let’s call it tradition.


Here are a few things I’m taking into 2023, some of which I learned in 2022, and some of which I re-learned.


Words, part 1. Naming things is important. Having a name for something can make it real in a way it wasn’t before, which can be scary if you’re as into denial as I am. But it’s also a relief. To have a name for something is to put a limit on it, to say “I know you,” even though you can’t predict the future exactly. 


And I know all that’s vague, and that’s how it is for now. Just, words are good.


Words, part 2. I’ve put 80-thousand-plus words into a novel that will be published in 2023 by Latitude 46, a publisher in Sudbury. Making Up the Gods will show up in October or so, and I will definitely post more about it as the year progresses.


I’m excited for the people I know in the book to meet the people I know in what is known as “real life.”


Miscellaneous other stuff. A reacquaintance with Barbara Pym’s novels. The glory of excellent modern editions of classic novels (Jane Austen). Thoughtful voices I heard in several important memoirs. Permission to carefully curate my reading list when I need to.


A new interest in and appreciation for the Great British Baking Show. Yes, I am late to this party, but in the words of Sam Seaborn, let’s embrace the fact I showed up at all.


Less stuff (a lot), from books I’ll never reread to sweaters I didn’t wear, and many pens I have actually emptied of ink. Fewer projects I consider to be “ongoing,” and many more that have served their purpose in my life. A general sense that I’m finishing things and growing into another version of myself, the one that is living through a pandemic.


Nice notebooks, and the knowledge that I will use them joyfully. Speaking of joy, the experience of seeing family, especially my sister, in person. Celebrating family weddings, in person and in absentia, and remembering beloved aunts who died.


Evidence that every day for all of 2022, I looked at something happening outdoors and tried to represent that on a phenology wheel. 


Better-fitting underwear. A new furnace. More TV channels, which is sometimes helpful and sometimes simply confirms my suspicion that we weren’t missing that much before, which is also helpful. A clean water storage tank. A much-repaired oven.


A little more humility. A renewed willingness to say, "I don't know." I'm gearing up to improve my ability to ask for help and recognize when I need it. 


I hope your 2023 is starting well--perhaps quietly and joyfully, as mine is.