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In Hopes of a Gentle Year to Come

I spent the past two days trying and failing to write a 2021 retrospective blog, and frankly at this point, I think I’m going to let it go and try instead to write one for what I’m hoping for next year. I won’t lie: it feels a little bit like tempting fate to even list things I hope for, but I refuse to let the past year’s grief kill what little optimism I have left.

The ones I loved and lost would want me to keep hold of optimism, I think, so I’m going to cling to it as best I can.

After the year of grief we’ve lived through, I’ve realized what I really want to focus on this year is being “Gentle.” Gentle with myself, gentle with my goals, gentle with others around me as damned if I know what they’re going through, but I know what I’ve been through and if I deserve gentleness then so does everyone else. I got out of the habit of thinking of a word for the year, but I think making “Gentle” mine in 2022 sounds… good in a way I can’t quite articulate yet.

So, what “Gentle” goals are I trying for this year? Some will be the same as in years past, while others may be a little easier, but everything is something I can achieve, but shouldn’t have to beat myself up to manage. We’ll see how it goes.

1. Write 150,000 words for the Get Your Words Out Challenge. I uh… haven’t managed this number of words in a year since 2017 which makes this a little intimidating. But on the other hand, just keeping an eye on how many words I’m writing at a time makes it easier for me to estimate when/how I need to write in order to reach a deadline, something that is becoming more of an issue as my writing career actually seems to be progressing finally. As always, the words will be spread across everything from book reviews to short stories to fanfiction to novels to blogs to… Well, you get the idea. It’s an average of 411 words a day only. That’s a doable, “gentle” pace. I can do that.

2. Edit my trailer park paranormal novel on deadline and to the best of my ability. My first round of edits is due February 7th, and while I’ve already gotten started on them, I will need to get myself in gear to get them finished on time. I will need to be a bit more firm than gentle with this deadline, if only because I’ve had to ask for an extension already due to medication brain fog last November and December. But it’s still not anything I am incapable of managing. I can do it if I do a little editing every day starting tomorrow.

3. Read 52 books, preferably from my physical TBR list for #BeattheBacklist. Last year I tried for double that and didn’t get anywhere close, so I’m backing way off to something that seems more likely to be possible. A lot of my books are still packed away which may mean it takes a bit longer to get to them, but a book a week is a very slow reading pace for me and is totally manageable.

4. Make a habit to be more physically active. I know my joints feel better when I am more active, so I need to try to either take a walk or hit the gym at least every other day, I think. Since I’m working from home full time again, I want to use my commute time to make this happen. Sleeping in during that time is a little hard to resist, but that extra bit of sleep doesn’t give me the boost that half an hour or an hour of gentle exercise does. And bonus, the locally owned gym near me has classes, as well as exercise machines, so I’ll be able to do a variety of types of exercise which hopefully will keep me from getting bored like I often do when it’s just the same routine over and over.

5. Spend more time treating myself like I deserve pampering. I’ve recently had a pedicure date with a friend and was reminded of how rarely I treat myself that way. So, bring on the self-care: more long soaky baths if I’m sore, more pedicures, return to acupuncture for my migraines, and maybe even dye my hair red occasionally like I used to. I’m also going to work on making my office in our new house as “me” and comfortable as possible little by little. We’re not working fast, by any means, but every wall we paint and piece of furniture we get in place makes me that much happier, so I definitely think it counts for self-care. Really, the big issue is that I have a hard time feeling like I deserve to treat myself well which is something I’m working on with my therapist, but it’s another goal I think fits really well with my “Gentle” theme for the year.

6. Spend less time on social media including Twitter and Facebook. I did a test run the past few weeks only being on Twitter occasionally from my phone, and then only checking it once every other day or so, and it’s been a huge relief to my stress levels. I’m planning to manually log out from FB the same way starting tomorrow. I’ll check in every so often, honestly mostly for my writing friends, but other than that, I’m letting myself unplug for the most part.

Granted I didn’t break out some of my writing goals the way I normally do so it’s a little bit deceptive, but it’s honestly nice to see a fairly small list of goals for 2022. 2021 was hard, and letting myself rest a little and not heap as many expectations on my shoulders as in the past seems just the perfect amount of gentle for the mood I want to take into 2022.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m closing out the year with a long bath and a reread of some of my fave fanfics while leaving Star Trek Voyager playing in the background to hopefully drown out the fireworks for our old pupper. Maybe it’s not the most “exciting” of evenings, but it sounds about my speed, I’m not gonna lie.

I hope you had a restful New Year’s and that 2022 does it’s best to be as gentle with all of us as possible.


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