First, let me start off by saying Happy New Year (even if I am a few days late doing so) to those of you who celebrate the occasion. Personally, I don't celebrate New Year's as a holiday, and I haven't for 13 years. Why? Because January 1, 2001 is the day I fount out I had miscarried my first baby. Thus, it is one of my two least-favorite days of the year; the other is September 1, because on that day in 2005, I found out I'd miscarried my second child.
Obviously, my reason for not celebrating January 1 as a holiday is deeply personal, but I'm not one to rain on others' parades, so if you see the start of a new year as a festive occasion, then I am happy for you, and I truly wish you the very best in the coming months.
Now, just because I don't consider New Year's Day a holiday doesn't mean I don't think about making changes for the year ahead. I prefer to call them goals instead of resolutions, but if calling them resolutions is what folds your laundry... Anyhoo, on January 1, I came up with three goals to accomplish this year, and I'd like to share them with you.
First thing I want to do is keep my work space clean. I am a bit of a clutterbug, I hate to admit, and I have a tendency to just let things pile up until it grates on my nerves enough to do something about it. The strangeness of that is that I prefer my things neat and tidy, with everything in it's place and easy to get to. You see, I have two disorders -- disposophobia (aka hoarding) and OCD, both quite mild all things considered -- that are polar opposites to each other, and as such can make my life fairly complicated if I don't use the latter to control the former. Often I will clean my space up all spic and span and it will stay that way for a few weeks...until just one thing gets set aside for later. Next thing I know, there's a pile of stuff blocking my second desk and my side table has become a catch-all. Again. On December 31 I did get one side of my bedroom suite (two bedrooms with the dividing wall knocked down; I tidied the side I sleep on) cleaned up, but the second side (where I write and watch TV) still needs to be done.
So, first goal is to finish getting my space cleaned up -- and to KEEP IT THAT WAY.
The second thing I want to do is focus more on my writing. In 2012, I published one book and one short story (Chasing Shadows, January 15; The Beauty in the Black Room [featured in Darkest Desires by Hot Ink Press] October 30). In 2013, I published three books (Fire Born, January 15; From the Shadows, April 11; Two Evils, October 20), two of which -- Fire Born and From the Shadows -- I'd begun the year before. I wrote a short story that you can read for free here on the Diary and I've a work in progress -- Fire Loved, second book in the Firehouse 343 series -- that I started for NaNoWriMo 2013 and which has a projected release date of February 14, if I can get my Muse off her butt to help me get it written! I think I'd like to top last year's pub count, meaning I want to do more this year. I want to do better.
So, my second goal is to write AND publish no less than four books in 2014 -- not including Fire Loved.
The third thing has to do with my health. What many don't know about me is that I am overweight. Given that I am a petite 5 ft. 3 in. tall, my present girth (last official weight was 265, though that was back in 2012 and is likely to have increased since then) falls into the range of morbidly obese. Considering the myriad other physical issues I have -- asthma, anxiety, arthritis, hypertension and tendonitis -- my weight is truly dangerous to my continued longevity. I'm at risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, COPD, and heart disease, all of which run on both sides of my family. I don't like being overweight, and I admit to being considerably self-conscious about my appearance. I wear baggy clothes most of the time to hide my rolls and I crack fat jokes aimed at myself in order to deflect the fact that I'm unhappy with my present condition.
I'm also quite well aware that physical appearance is crucial in developing long-lasting romantic relationships and that men more often than not prefer a woman who is physically fit. It is my firm belief that anyone who says "looks don't matter" is lying through their teeth, as what a person looks like is the very first thing we notice about them -- and what they look like at a passing glance is what determines if they get a second (and third, and so on) longer glance. You know, the one in which we determine whether or not the person is not just physically attractive, but sexually attractive, as in "Would I want to see this person naked?"
I'm not dating anyone right now. I haven't had a serious relationship in 13 years and haven't had what kids nowadays are calling a hook-up in probably 3 years (I'm pretty sure we're all adults here, so I feel no shame in getting a little personal -- besides, how could I have had two miscarriages if I'd never had sex?). I feel pretty confident in my belief that my appearance is one of the things that has deterred the fellas from wanting to get a little closer, and that's pretty sad. I mean, though I admit to appearance playing a role in sexual attraction, it shouldn't be the only factor in determining sexual attraction. After all, how do any of those guys who didn't look twice at me know that I'm not an amazing woman? I have a very spitfire personality (allegedly due to my Irish ancestry), so I'm told, not to mention people I work with think I'm funny and easy to talk to.
However, as much as I'd like to look better for the guys so I could maybe get married and try for a family before I'm out of my child-bearing years, a lack of romance and offspring isn't the only reason I brought up my weight. Truly, as much as I would very much love to have both in my life, neither would mean much of anything if I'm not around to enjoy them. And I know that if I don't get in better shape, there's a very real possibility that I might not be. For goodness' sake, a girl I work with who is six months younger than I am had a heart attack a few months ago, not long after her 34th birthday (which, if I'm not mistaken, was in October). That was something of a wake-up call, and a reminder that none of us are immune. But the obese are especially at risk, and I want to reduce my risk of heart attack, stroke, and all those other things I'm at risk for. I want to be around to fall in love with someone. To get married and try to have kids -- and if it turns out I can't have 'em, adopt a bunch of kids. I want to be around long enough to write books that earn me the title "Best-selling Author".
So, my third goal is to get healthier. For me.
There you have 'em -- my New Year's Semi-Resolutions. Feel free to share your own goals for 2014 in the comments section.