Monday, January 01, 2018

Setting goals for the New Year ~ my column from Sunday's paper

The last week of the year is my time for reflection. It gives me a chance to review the past year and plan for the new one. It’s easy to get wrapped up by the little hassles that fill my plate each day and forget about the big things that make me happy. That’s why it’s essential to calibrate my life map each New Year.

The sunsets this past week have been remarkable. Yesterday, as I sat at the table reading over my journal notes from 2017, I glanced out the garden doors at the sky on the western horizon. The sight took my breath away. That’s just what I needed to help give me perspective.

I stood and stretched. Jilda called from the kitchen and asked if I had time to take the scraps to the compost bin. A break sounded like just the ticket, so I stepped to the counter for the scraps. In the pan was some leftover cornbread that was close to the consistency of slate rock. I stepped down to give Speckles an evening treat. She’s the only chicken that survived a summer of slaughter by hawks and raccoons.

When I opened her dwelling and crumbled the bread by her feeder, she was delighted. She clucked her thanks as she scratched and pecked the floor of her pen.

I stood and watched her peck for a while before stepping over to the back gate to get a better view of the evening sky. Each passing moment was like watching a watercolor painting in progress. And the colors deepened as the sun drifted further beyond the horizon.

The shades of pinks reminded me of cotton candy that I had at the county fair when I was too young to drive.  I closed my eyes as I stood there, but I couldn’t smell them no matter how hard I tried.

Clouds never bore me. I look for shapes and faces. Sometimes the images jump out at me like a photograph, and sometimes they don’t. But I never tire of looking.

As I stood there watching the kaleidoscope of clouds, my mind wandered through the significant events this past year. I gave some thought to the coming year. What does it hold in store? How can I contribute? Where should I focus my time and attention?

This past year was full of distraction for me. I made a little progress on my goals, but many of them were left undone. The coming year will be one of change for me. The job I’ve had at the college for the last three years will end in January. I’m not a fan of “retiring and kicking back” so I’m considering my options.

These thoughts wound their way through the wires of my brain as I stood looking at the sky. There were no answers in the clouds, but I would never say it was a waste of time looking. There’s always a chance that I might find the next page in the book of my life written there.


  1. I am really looking forward to reading the next chapters from the book of your life.

  2. Consider retirement ONLY when you have something to fill the work time you had. Most folk are not geared to stop work and kick back. They think they are, but after two three weeks, they are itching to find something 'productive to do.' You are facing a BIG decision and NO ONE knows himself better than you. "To your own self be True." (I don't think that is original, LOL but still very true@!)

  3. Anonymous2:05 AM

    With your wonderful family & friends, I'm sure the new year will be glorious!!

  4. I fell into your words of that magnificent description of the sunset you experienced and can’t wait to see a picture of it. I hope your chicken gets a friend or 2 despite the hawks and raccoons. I think one should always be busy with something even when they retire otherwise the mind can suffer. My dad would not have liked retirement because he did not know what to do outside the sawmill he ran. My father in law loved retirement and puttered around his yard, travelled with his wife in their trailer, later, motorhome and enjoyed every moment. I guess you make life what you ma’e it.

  5. Not a waste of time for sure ! Who knows what will happen?

  6. I hear your more busy after you retire. Things will be different for you this year but I think it will be rewarding. Happy New Year!

  7. You will have a busy year no matter what. I understand from Jilda there may be a vacation to the west coast in your future.

  8. Strong reflections. Could see that sky in my mind.

    Retire, but don't let the mind and body find easy chair and tv remote.

  9. I wish I had the chance to retire to just sleep in once in a while. I hope that you can find just the right job to take away the edge of not feeling productive to society.

    You might try look at the stars to see what they have in store for you in 2018.

    Hugs, Julia

  10. I don't set goals I just take life one day at a time and hope for the best

  11. I'm sure you'll find something interesting and productive to do. Best wishes for a wonderful 2018.


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