The Beginning

“The beginning is always today.”–Mary Wollstonecraft (feminist/writer)

My worry and laugh lines are embedded, but I’m still smiling.

A new year, a new you. Resolutions, beginnings, fresh starts. It all sounds marvelous, doesn’t it? And right now, at this moment, I have high hopes for 2023.

Like the past 5 years, 2022 had its challenges and health scares for myself, my family and some of my friends. A few friends suffered devastating losses of partners or parents, and others are waiting for those things to happen in 2023.

Although I expect some awful events to happen this year, I’m attempting to hope for the best and soak up many, many good moments that happen.

On New Year’s Eve, my husband, son and I talked about our goals and wishes for the upcoming year. The husband’s goal? Stay out of the hospital this year. (This is also a wish for him from my son and I!) My son has a few wonderful goals like getting his license, continuing to get fit and to be more of a leader within his LGBTQ+ community. My goal and wish were basically the same: to make and experience good changes this year. That’s a nice broad, vague goal, isn’t it? 😉

I made some significant changes to my life in 2022, including adding two major volunteer positions to my weekly schedule. Each is a 2-3 hour commitment each week, but I enjoy both of them and feel tremendously better about myself as a human being because of the work. I feel like I’m finally paying back the kindness shown to me over the years by paying it forward to those that need it right now. People often say how selfless volunteering is, but for me, it’s really selfish. There’s a high involved when you help others, and it can feel a bit like the running high. Typically, acts of kindness can increase your oxytocin and dopamine, which gives you a feeling of euphoria. This is actually called the “helper’s high.” Isn’t that awesome?!?

I’ll continue my volunteer work this year, but I’m also ready for some changes to be made within my career. I don’t know what this means yet, but I know my stress level at work in 2022 was higher than ever before. Some of that was due to staff shortages, but I also tend to spread myself too thin. That has to change this year. I’ve always told other library directors that your work is not your life, so sometimes you just need to leave this stuff behind, but I did NOT take my own advice. I just wanted my library to be better and better, and it is, but I don’t need to be involved 24/7. For my own wellbeing, a lot has to change there–more delegating, more boundaries, and maybe even a career change. I don’t know yet. I just feel like something big has to change in order for me to continue wanting to get out of bed each morning to go to work.

I plan to continue to run and train for a marathon again. Why the hell not, right? If my body goes kaput, it goes kaput. I can already feel something happening to my left ankle, so I doubt a marathon is in the books just yet. But I’ll still give it a shot. I hope to at least run 500 miles this year. Again, I’ll try but do my best to not be disappointed or discouraged if it doesn’t happen.

I’ll be traveling more as long as the universe allows it. Visiting my dear friend, Becky, in Mexico at the end of this month. A work trip to Wisconsin in April. Hopefully a drive out to the Christmas Story house in Cleveland this summer. Now I need a short trip for this fall. Or another summer trip to North Carolina to see my friend, Monica, and sea turtles hatching?

This year I hope to treat people a bit better or…differently. We just don’t know how long we have on this planet, right? I’m starting to treat some folks like it’s their last year. It may sound like a morbid way of treating others but losing people I love and working with hospice patients has made me look at my world in a different light. During my brother’s, father’s and mother’s last Christmases, I didn’t KNOW it was their last. Did I ever snap at them or lose patience with them that day? I hope not. Did I show them just that little extra dash of kindness? I don’t know. If I did, I wasn’t aware of it.

So, I’m digging deep to find a bit more patience and goodwill for my loved ones. Well, I don’t always have to dig deep, but sometimes it’s necessary. But within that good treatment of others, I’m defining boundaries for myself and for my relationships. I tend to love others with everything I have and I’m not sure I can continue to do that. Or maybe I can. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about the people I love fiercely, and I can’t imagine loving them any other way. It’s dishonest to do so. It doesn’t feel right not to love them with my whole being.

Huh.

Maybe some things won’t change after all. ❤

Happy New Year to all of you. May your resolutions, hopes, or dreams be fulfilled. If none of those things happen, I hope you feel loved and appreciated. Because seriously, just feeling those things certainly feels like a dream coming true.

Hugs to you all.

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One thought on “The Beginning

  1. So much of what you said makes perfect sense. I need to give back more, like I use to, no matter how tired and old I may feel. Kudos to your son, Phil would be so proud. You have done so many amazing things this past year. I don’t set goals or make resolutions, as usually anything voiced or written down, tends to get thwarted. But I intend to work on ssd’s something every day, to have a project going, and if they get finished, then I’ve achieved an invoiced goal. I’m going to work at projecting things to the universe more and expect them to be. In expectation we sometimes create our best outcomes without even realizing it. I do need to reconnect with old friends and socialize more, besides facebook and the stores. I guess self preservation is something I am admittedly always working on. Wishing you all only great things today and for always. Love you.

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