Last year at this time, I had a plan for 2014. I even wrote about it. I heard back from many readers about my plan to CONNECT (my word for the year) and to continue the search for simplicity and legacy by creating goals centered on my mission: to prepare for the hour of my death by living one good day at a time.
The process of end-of-year reflection is one I look forward to each year.
First, here are my three 2014 goals:
- daily rituals that remind me of my mission: to prepare for the hour of my death by living one good day at a time, and to help others do the same.
- travel to at least eight places (plans so far include Laurelville and Lancaster, PA; Mexico; Kansas City and other Kansas towns; Elkhart County, IN; Holland, MI). I would love to do a West Coast trip, a Canada trip. I am planning my travel for the year now, so please let me know if you would like me to speak in a location near you or have a venue in mind for a book talk. Have book, will travel.
- a possible new e-book using the best of Magical Memoir Moments to help inspire other people to remember stories from their past and build a legacy. If you have signed up in the right-hand corner, you get these weekly photos and short prompts from me. Would you value having the best of them in one e-book at a low price (likely between .99 – and 2.99)?
Grading my goals: (Once a teacher, always a teacher).
I give myself a B- on being faithful in daily rituals. The days that felt the best were ones that included silence, inspirational reading, prayer or meditation, exercise, and good conversation. Travel often disrupted the plan. I had to learn to simplify and shorten the ritual.
I give myself an A+ on travel and book talks. 2014 was a great year to CONNECT about the subject of story and memoir. So many ordinary lives are really extraordinary. Instead of focusing only on my own childhood memoir, Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World my talks were about the sacred nature of story itself. After reading Blush, many readers poured their hearts out to me. I was touched to read and hear their sacred stories.
I am convinced there is no such thing as an unimportant life.
As for that third possible goal? It gets an F. I found myself uninspired to do the work of figuring out how to turn Magical Memoir Moments into a book. The biggest barrier is technical. I don’t know how to locate the photos, in the right size, organize them and transfer them into a book. I don’t fret about leaving behind a goal that didn’t capture my imagination.
My friend Sherrey describes the need to stay flexible while making goals. And Elaine, the grief of no longer having plans after the death of a spouse. They illustrate the futility of thinking we are in control, especially in control of our health and our penultimate foe, death.
My friend Laurie, has a solution to this problem in how she approaches the subject of planning this year. Her word for the year is FLOW.
I determine to plan and to not be a slave of planning.
If I should die before I wake, I pray for grace.
I want to focus, therefore, on waking. On being as alive as I can be.
I have a daily partner to help me with that goal. A book, Wide Awake. Every Day, by an online friend Starla. From the short passage I read today, here is some advice I could use myself and share with you.
Plan more. Plan less.
So, today I will plan more by naming three goals for 2015.
1. Continue seeking simplicity and legacy by sitting in the red chair, thanking God for a new day, reading, and praying.
2. Continue to travel when called, visiting family often, and responding to invitations to speak with both generosity and appropriate boundaries.
3. Try to find time for The Box in the Basement. (I am amazed at how little I have done so far.) Try to consolidate social media efforts to preserve more time for memorabilia research and possible next memoir vignettes.
My word for the year, as I seek to be awake, is NOTICE.
To prepare for 2015, I’ll listen to two of my favorite people, Krista Tippett and Seth Godin, in this wonderful On Being podcast: The Art of Noticing, and Then Creating.
Now, your turn. Do you have a word to help you focus this year? Have you evaluated last year’s goals? How can we help you in this year’s goals?