I’ve decided not to make resolutions this year. It’s not that I don’t have goals—I have more goals this year than I think I ever have. It’s more that in the last three years, I’ve learned some pretty massive lessons about how easily all the best laid plans can be derailed.
Sometimes you have to let go of your own plans and ride the waves of circumstance until you can touch the ground once again.
For instance, at the beginning of 2014, I planned to write at least three books, go to several conferences in Texas, some in Utah, and one in Kansas and work toward building my career. I planned to blog every week and spend more time at the beach and read more books.
But stuff happened.
1. In January, I made an emergency trip to Utah for a funeral—the loss of a dear friend’s husband, who died too young.
2. I spent February and March finishing edits on Birthright, and got it finished just barely on time for publication.
3. In April, I traveled to Utah for a conference, where I spent just under two weeks so I could also deal with some family issues.
4. In May, my oldest daughter graduated high school and my husband and his officers had a homicide case that blew wide open.
5. In June, that homicide case took over our lives until the suspect was apprehended, and that same weekend, my husband was offered a fantastic job back in Utah.
6. By July, we listed our house, packed up everything we own, and moved across the country. Again.
7. In August, we unloaded into our current house (a temporary rental), my husband started his new job, and I moved my oldest daughter to Orlando, Florida where she is attending school.
8. In September, I swore my life would calm down so I could finally do some writing, but then… we discovered a leak in our kitchen.
9. In October, our landlords finally got around to investigating the leak, which led to mold and a full-scale kitchen renovation that was not complete until the week of Thanksgiving, and was distracting enough that my writing concentration was completely shot.
10. This brings me to December. I put up my tree and hung the garland. I began my shopping. I bought my daughter a plane ticket to come home. I was prepared for full-scale holiday celebrating. And then my father-in-law died, and there was another funeral, estate details to work out, and grief to deal with.
The thing about death and grief, and also stress, is that it changes your priorities. In the cases of several of these events, writing fell way down the priority scale. My family is more important than my deadlines, and so in all of these cases, they have taken the front seat. I didn't read more books, and I sucked at blogging, and I didn't write nearly as much as I wanted. And you know what? That's okay. I could not have planned for last year.
What about you? What in your life is more important than your personal goals and deadlines?
*This blog turned out to be pretty long, so I’ve split it into two. To be continued next week.