Wow, it's been a bit, hasn't it? We've made it through the holiday season and are out the other side. Maybe life is finally starting to slow down for you. I know it is for me.
I did NaNoWriMo in November and while I wasn't completely happy with the result, I did successfully 'win' the WriMo. I'll probably revisit the project sometime and hack away at it until I find something redeemable about it. But till then... I'll work on the way too many other projects I have.
After WriMo, the holidays were in full swing; well actually, they were in full swing even before NaNoWriMo ended.
The holidays are a strange time for me. The nature of them; the gathering of friends and those we're close with is always wonderful, especially now that we're finally starting to move toward something that resembles normalcy, after so long. The decorations are always fun for a while - though admittedly, if you put them up too early or leave them too late, I find it tiresome.
It's always so rough for me around the holidays, a series of hits that have led to an overall downturn in my wellbeing. This year was equally as tough. Coupled with the fact we had Christmas guests. Which isn't necessarily a problem. But when you're struggling to just get through a day, having to be 'on' the whole time takes a very real toll. But I've got an amazing therapist who helped keep me together, and I've got a great 'found family.' (If you're interested, check out my facebook page for my Christmas Message for my thoughts about found family and more.)
I've been thinking a lot these weeks since the holidays, about self care and how important it is. My dearest friend has a routine of self care that she follows religiously. During a weekend I spent with her, we talked about self care, about what we do to keep ourselves grounded and how we take care of ourselves and I found my own self care quite lacking. We spent time doing a self care evening. Coming out of that time with her, I decided that it was something that I wanted to try on my own, to see if it had the same calming and grounding effect on me as it had when I'd been with my friend. And it did. And that ended up being what she got me for Christmas, a fantastic little self care bundle. I took a look at some of the other things she does (like a Sunday bath with wine) and changed it up a bit. I'm not a big fan of baths personally. I can't help but think about sitting in a lukewarm, human stew of all the gunk and detritus from my body... I'm much more a fan of a scalding hot shower. So as I moved into 2023, I decided that I was going to make it a point of adopting a self care routine and I've been pretty faithful to it so far. Sunday evening, a face mask, a glass or two of wine, while listening to my favorite podcast (Help I Sexted My Boss - the UK's leading etiquette expert and his friend a BBC radio personality tackle some outrageous written in questions and the etiquette expert tries to give the 'appropriate' reply while the radio personality responds with ridiculous and fun advice of his own all while the two drink gin and dubonnets [G&Ds they've started calling them]) and then a hot shower with an aroma therapeutic shower steamer. And the thing about it is, none of it is particularly expensive. A Target run and I had eight masks for fifteen dollars, the steamers are from Bath and Body Works and they were sixteen dollars for eleven, my podcast costs nothing. So really the whole kit and caboodle cost under four bucks. And that's a hell of a good return on investment, if you ask me.
And now through the holiday season; we're settling into 2023 (I'm still writing 2022 on everything) and with a new routine to keep me grounded and energized, I'm refocusing on my writing. I've got several projects I'm working on right now, and I've got some announcements coming this year. As well as some big asks.
This year is going to be an amazing year, I think. Another book is coming, (look for it in the spring), Once Upon A Book in July. In August, Joey and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary since we got married.
If you know me well (or personally in any capacity really) you'll know that one of my greatest passions beyond the written word is the RMS Titanic. I've given lectures and done thousands of hours of research. I'm very proud of what I've contributed to keep the story and history going. And I admittedly have an emotional connection to the ship.
So for our tenth anniversary, we're taking an incredible vacation. We're starting off in Belfast, Northern Ireland, staying in the hotel that was once the offices of the company that built the Titanic. We'll spend some time there, and I'll get the chance to physically be there, where the ship was birthed. I'll weep. I have no doubt of that. After a few days in Belfast, we're flying down to Southampton and boarding a cruise ship for an incredible fifteen night transatlantic crossing. The ship is leaving from the same dock the Titanic left from.
Our trip is going to be amazing, not just because of what we're doing. But because we're also sharing it with a couple who've become some of our closest friends, who are also celebrating their tenth. They'll join us for the trip and I'll surely annoy all with my incessant factoids and random emotional outbursts.
2023 will have a lot of wild things coming, great things to be sure.
This year, I'm going to endeavor to treat others and myself more compassionately. I hope you'll all find ways to do the same, ways to treat each other with love and compassion.
I think we too often think of love as a feeling. We can't control our feelings. We can control how we react to them, but the feelings themselves happen. When we boil love down simply to a feeling, it takes responsibility away. Love isn't just a feeling, love is an action. Love is how we treat people. The action of love forces us to ask ourselves questions that we might not want to answer. Questions like "do I really try to help people?" and "do I do anything to strive for justice - real justice, not legal justice?".
So I challenge you, the same way I'm challenging myself, to act out love. Make it as much an action as it is a feeling. Love your neighbor. Love each other. Love yourself.
And as always, my friends, remember.
You are seen. You are loved. You matter.