It’s hard to judge this past year. Overall, it was terrible. I’ll remember it as the year of nightly apocalyptic nightmares, stress dreams that played out like movies. Every once in a while I’ll have another one, and I wake up feeling uneasy, the dream following me around like a deranged puppy. I’d sit up in bed and my heart would be racing and it would take me a while to reorient myself to reality; the dream would stay with me all day. I dreamed of fires and floods and zombies; I dreamed of literally fighting to survive. So I spent some of the year feeling sorry for myself.

It’s helpful to keep perspective, and I delivered many lectures to myself. Knowing I have a lot to be grateful for brought me back down to earth many times. And I ended the year full of hope, which was a refreshing change and I had so much gratitude for that.

New Year's Eve by the sea.

Grateful: New Year’s Eve by the sea.

I’m not asking a lot of this year. I know people hate New Year’s resolutions. I know they set you up to fail and it’s an arbitrary date and so on. But I LIKE them. I like starting out the year feeling like anything could happen, and although I may not stick to every goal like glue I will say that I’ve accomplished the spirit of them for the past few years. Here’s the spirit of things for 2014.

This year I’ve found some hidden talents that I didn’t know I had. I was pushed so far out of my comfort zone at work & I ended up loving it. And I’m continuing to grow in that role, which is awesome — I’m watching my skills improve minute by minute, project by project. I hope I look back at this post next year and roll my eyes at what I thought was “good,” just the same way as I look back at what I was doing 2 years ago and want to hide my head. I didn’t have the luxury of being too afraid to do what was being asked of me, because I just had to get it done and get it done quickly. I want to keep refining those skills and to really put as much energy and dedication into what I’m creating as possible, so I can feel proud of myself at the end.

Baxter had the winter blues, too.

Grateful: Baxter (and his winter blues)

I’d like to be more vocal in approval of people and things. You know when someone takes the effort to compliment you at work? And how great that makes you feel? I want to put more of that energy into the world.

I’d like to continue to cut back on mindless online consumption. Instead of refreshing feedly/sf_d/ditl/news sites every few seconds when I’m bored, I want to read books. Or play games. I love the internet, I’ll never be one of those “year without the internet” people, but I get too distracted by it. And plus there’s the whole getting too emotionally invested in drama online. Not good for me! Twitter is my safest spot online, because I’ve kept a tight grip on who I follow (and I unfollow liberally). I deactivated my Facebook account and made a fake one so I can continue to administer my work’s page.

A morning that took my breath away.

Grateful: A morning that took my breath away.

When I do consume media, I want to do so more thoughtfully. I feel like I’m using all sorts of stupid buzz phrases here (at least I’m not talking about curating my online collection…), but it’s true. Less watching movies while I tweet, more watching movies. Less reading while I listen to an audiobook (I know…) and more just reading. Already, in a few weeks of being more strict with myself, I’m reading more in one sitting than I have since before college. And I really, really need to finish everything I own before buying more — games, movies/tv, books.

Then there’s that whole thing about not being afraid to fail. I think I’ll have a fun year as a result.

Dogs that comfort.

Grateful: Dogs that comfort.

It’s a Friday afternoon and I’m done with one on ones for the week. I have roughly ten more hours of work to do before the weekend, and nothing major planned. I’ve been slacking on chores lately — a touch of a stomach flu, bad weather and general bleak midwinter blues kept me from doing much of anything. I’ve been soft with myself, and I don’t regret it — I ended the year on a high note and then had a touch of the blues. They descended when I saw my sister off for California — she’s not that far, really, and I didn’t see her daily before, but knowing she’s on the other side of the country was harder than I expected. I drove home from the airport sniffling, and the blues stayed with me for weeks until they drifted back away.

I think it’s good to ease into a New Year. I know I said that I like resolutions, and I DO, but if you require strict and immediate cleaving to your own goals, you will fail. Habits are learned over time, and you’ll never stick to eight new habits a day for long enough to learn them. Or, maybe you would. I certainly can’t, I get fed up. I’ve been good on the not being afraid front, as things crop up. I’ve also been working on the refining skills thing with Lynda, which means I spend my off time at work more productive than I was before, which goes into the cutting back on mindless online consumption. So, progress all around there.