2014 was a huge year for me. I turned 50, jumped out of an airplane, got a tattoo (my first), published two novels, and went on two cruises. It was a World Cup year (a big deal in my world) and my favorite novel ever, Outlander, came to life in a fantastic series. In the midst of all this my husband was sent on a four-month business trip and we had all the typical drama of a family with two teenagers. It’s enough to make me exhausted just reading about it. Having lived it (and loved most of it) I am ready for 2015. Because 2015 will be a year of slower, quieter, less…and I’m really excited about that too.
I have a Greek key of life bracelet my mom gave me. She told me the design (see exhibit A) represents the pattern of life, some up, some forward, some down and even a step or two back. It’s based on the twisting, turning flow of a river. I love the design because it’s beautiful, simple, ancient and wise.
2014 was definitely a moving-up-and-forward year and now ancient wisdom tells me its time for slowing down and taking a step back to gain perspective. It’s not that I plan to sit and watch the year go by. It’s more a time to start planning and laying ground work for another banner year in 2016 and/or beyond. It’s a time to recover and regroup–a much-needed lull.
I’ve already started meandering into my lull year. Over the Christmas break I cleaned out closets. (A cheap thrill if there ever was one.) I saw the movie “Wild” and I was re-inspired to get back to hiking, something I’ve always loved, but rarely made time for. There is nothing like a walk through the woods alone to recharge my batteries. I love to cook, but 2014 was a year of hastily thrown together dinners that took minimal time away from all the other excitement. In this slower year I can make time for made-from-scratch.
I’m still writing, and have plans for at least two new novels in 2015, but I’ve vowed to get off the marketing merry-go-round long enough to develop a solid platform. Self-publishing is a rapidly changing industry where you can chase your dreams down all kinds of expensive, dead-end paths. I took a few of those detours last year and learned a some frustrating lessons. This is a good time for me to stop and put the horse before the cart before I start out again.
The other thing I love about the Greek key is that it is continuous. In America we tend to see trends as one way. We love the drama of the slippery-slope theory–“one step in the wrong direction and its all down hill from there.” But ancient wisdom (and my own life thus far) tells me otherwise. There will be set backs and slow years. There will be days and even years when you seem to be spinning your wheels. Times when the most exciting thing you could put on Facebook would be “Cleaned out a closet today!” Which can suck when your friends are all posting pics of the degree they just finished or their dream vacation in Europe. That’s when I remember that all those cleaned out spaces make room for new things in my life or make it easier to pick up and move on to something or someplace new in my next up year.