Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

What a year 2017 was! There have been more changes this year than in years past, and I still do not know how I feel about them. On the one hand, I discovered my voice, as so many of us did. I will no longer stay silent about injustice and I will fight to make this country and this world a better place for my children. On the other hand, the news, political and otherwise, has been brutal. I imagine this is what victims of siege felt like all those years ago with the constant assault on one’s emotions this year has wrought. It is no wonder the minimalism movement gained traction and self-care became a big buzzword. When everything you see and hear in the media is one large dumpster fire, self-care become necessary and minimalism is a way to offset the barrage.

On top of all that we faced Connor’s last days of high school and his graduation, and had our family shrink by one as he experienced his first days as a college freshman living five hours away from home. We lost a friend at the dance studio and watched our dance family break apart under the strain. We made the wise decision to switch studios, but that was not without its own tension. We saw two dear friends get married. We had a wonderful vacation in Florida. We saw Jim lose his job and fight his feelings of despair at ever finding a new one. There have been many ups and downs this year, and while these things always make us stronger they are never easy. As the year comes to a close though, we have each other. We have a house and live a comfortable life. We have good friends and family. We are so very lucky, and we never want to take that for granted.

My word for 2017 was Persevere, and while I didn’t live by this word every minute of every day, I believe I did succeed in persevering. It would be easy to scoff and say that just by surviving until the end of the year we all persevered, but I do believe it is so much more than that. It was taking the time to make all those doctor’s appointment, get on the recommended medications and vitamins. It was calling/texting/emailing reps and senators, donating to important-to-me causes, speaking out and speaking up when silence is so much easier and less exhausting. It was maintaining my indignation and anger at the buffoons in DC, not becoming complacent and accepting what has occurred as normal in any way. It was recognizing the need to find outlets for my anger, picking up cross-stitching again, journaling, meditating, reading. It was finding what makes me happy and sticking with things. It was about striving every day to make one small improvement. I might not have succeeded in any of my long-term goals, but I did manage to carve a path for myself that worked for me. I may end 2017 weighing more than I did at the beginning of the year, but I am smarter, more confident, and more content that I was this time last year. That’s persevering.

Now on to the stuff people really care about:

Bookish stuff:

  • Total number of books read: 137; not the least amount I’ve read in a year but not the most either
  • Total number of pages: 44,179; I like that this means I am reading longer books versus going for quantity
  • Total number of hours listening to audiobooks: 6.4 days; by far the least amount of time I have ever listened to audiobooks which makes me sad
  • Most-read genre: Historical Fiction; this really surprises me as I could have sworn it would have been fantasy or science fiction
  • Oldest book: It’s Up to the Women by Eleanor Roosevelt – published in 1933
  • Longest book: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne at 592 pages
  • Shortest book: Final Girls by Mira Grant at 112 pages
  • % of Books by Female Authors: 74.26 percent; I can’t say I have a problem reading women authors
  • % of YA: 17.65 percent; again the fewest number of YA books I have read since I started keeping track of my reading and another surprise
  • % of New-to-me Authors: 66.41 percent
  • % of Review Copies: 89.05 percent; I seriously need to change this in 2018
  • Where in the world did my books take me (every earthly location where my books happened to be set): Traveling Through Books in 2017
  • First Lines (every first line of every book read this year and a fun trip down memory lane): First Lines of 2017
  • Favorite books of the year (in alphabetical order):


As for what 2018 will bring, I have only vague ideas. Jim will have a new job, obviously. We hopefully will not have to move. Holly enters high school next fall. Connor will be a sophomore and looking for his first internship. I am the only one who seems to be aimless these days with no long-term plans other than a wish to stop working. Right now, I am just trying to keep everyone else focused on their goals and dreams, which is as much a full-time job as my own.

I am not planning on selecting one word for 2018 because I find the exercise stressful and the pressure to succeed too high. However, if someone were to ask me what I would select I would have to say Kindness. I want to be kind to myself, selecting shorter month-long goals to help drive changes in habits. I want to be kind to myself by the liberal use of self-care. I want to be kind by learning to be less judgmental and more forgiving of not just others but of myself. We are always our own harshest critics, and I would like to undo that tendency. I made some headway in this area in 2017, so I see this as a natural continuation of that process. I don’t know exactly what 2018 will bring to me or to my family, but I hope that I am more prepared to face whatever happens by being gentle to myself and becoming more aware of what works for me and what doesn’t.

2017 was not an easy year for anyone. Let’s make 2018 one to remember for the right reasons!

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