Happy New Year, 2020

I’m still out of the country, and still returning January 15.

This repost is from January 1, 2014. It was fun to reread it. I still have no pea hens, not even a plan for them. Most of the others I have successfully crossed off (it’s been five years, after all). AND, I’ve changed my profile picture twice.

How about you? Have you set out your 2020 intentions?  Do tell.


It’s the start of a new year, a time to

dig deep and discover what I want to have happen in my life this year.

Some call these “New Year’s Resolutions.”  I’ve never quite liked that term. It conjures up images of me back on a treadmill (literally as well as figuratively).

I prefer to call them my New Year’s Determinations. These are statements that

  • remind me of my ability to make conscious choices
  • show me I’m interested in living my life to its fullest in this next year.
  • reflect how I see my life evolving over the next 12 months.

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, they serve also, let’s face it, as a kind of generic “to do” list.

I’ve comprised such a list each New Year’s Day since 1992. Twenty-two times I made a list, and twenty-two times I “put it out into the universe” by writing it in my journal.

And then I let it go. 


Over the last twenty-two years my “determinations” have run the gamut from “get out of debt” and “lose 20 pounds” to the more dramatic, “be free of perfectionism (in myself and others).” That one I’m still working on, by the way.

This is the first year my list is going out into cyberspace. And you are my witnesses.

Here are my goals (blogging and otherwise) for the coming year, in no particular order:

1. I will continue weekly blogs, on Wednesday.

I see blogging as a form of community. And to support that community, I will show up, regularly.  At least once a week.

2. I will introduce guest bloggers.

My focus continues to be “cultural differences,” and all the various (and fascinating) forms they take.

This year, I’m expanding to include the stories others have about their experiences with “cultural differences.”  Look for one each month, beginning January 15 with Blush author Shirley Hershey Showalter.

I’m excited to see just how my various guests will treat the topic of cultural differences. I hope you will be too.

 3. I will update my profile picture.
In August my current photo will be 10 years old.
Advice columnist Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer) whom I read daily for at least three decades, claimed she changed her photo every ten years (Whether she needed to or not!).
I say, what was good for Ann Landers can surely be good enough for me. Ten years it is.
Advice columnist Ann Landers, circa 1961
Not be be confused with her twin sister, Abigail Van Buren ( Dear Abby).

Look for my new profile picture by August.

4. I will send out a new survey  in February. 

This one will focus on the specifics of the past year, what has worked, what hasn’t.  My categories currently are:

  • Blogging
  • Cultural Differences
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Kazakhstan
  • Life (as a series of sometimes difficult transitions)
  • Midlife Change
  • Peace
  • Peace Corps
  • Recipes
  • Travel

We’ll see which of these will continue into the new year, which will fade into oblivion, and what new ones will join us.

5. I will continue activities that bring me joy, including but not limited to:

  • read and review exciting new memoirs (and some classics too), one each month
  • write four hours each day, whether I want to or not!
  • visit my grandchildren quarterly (and their parents too, of course)
  • sing tenor with my local hospice choir — we rehearse weekly
  • plant and cultivate my gardens, daily from May to September


Last year's project
Last year’s project: our new raised beds 
Always, the pond calls.
Always, the pond calls.
Our newest garden area
Our newest garden area, ready for planting in the spring.


6. I will add a few new projects that I’ve had on the back burner for too long. Among them are:

  • paint my dining room and kitchen some bright new color
  • clean the cluttered piles from my office
  • raise pea hens (and a few pea cocks too)
Thanks to beautifulcoolphotos.in    Isn’t he spectacular?

7. I will sell the ever-so-quaint, Chincoteague Island, Virginia, waterfront, log house-that-got-caught-in-the-bubble. Inquiries welcome.

In winter, one of the heavier snow falls.
In winter, one of the heavier snow falls. It lasted only a few days.

8. I will publish my memoir, At Home On the Kazakh Steppe.

What more can I say about that? Stay tuned.

That’s it.   Eight New Year’s Determinations that point me in a particular direction for 2014.  

How about you?   Have you determined your 2014 goals yet? Have you let anyone else know (a little social pressure can’t hurt)? Here’s your chance.


[box] LEAPFROG, my tiny handbook for handling those tricky conversations we all face, is now available in digital and paperback format.

I’m participating in Amazon Affiliates, so your purchase through my website will enable me to make a wee bit more and not increase your cost at all.  The above link takes you to the LEAPFROG page on my website (not yet accessible directly) where you can learn more about the book. To skip that page and go directly to the book’s page on Amazon, click here. Thank you.


10 Responses

  1. Clive Pilcher
    | Reply

    With my lack of willpower I never make resolutions or determinations, as I know I wouldn’t keep them! I prefer just to go with the flow and do whatever takes my fancy: one of the luxuries of being retired. Happy New Year (2020, I mean, not 2015!).
    Clive Pilcher recently posted…#NewYearSongOfTheDay 2020My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Clive
      I write you from sunny climes, definitely not part of my long range plan. Willpower is so ephemeral: sometimes so present and other times so very far away. My lists tend to be more an in the moment exercise— what’s important to me today. And then I let it go. But I haven’t written my list yet for 2020. Something to put on that list! I wish you very Feliz año Nuevo
      Janet Givens recently posted…Happy New Year, 2020My Profile

  2. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    You have accomplished SO many goals – brava!

    Last year my watchword was Publish, which I did. My word for 2020 to be revealed next Wednesday.

    Eager to hear your present locale and experiences, hmmmmm!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…A New Face in My Memoir PhotosMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Feliz Año Nuevo, Marian

      My new word has not yet appeared. I keep looking. I’ll be traveling again all day next Wednesday so I won’t learn of your word until Thursday probably, but I look forward to reading how you came to it.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Happy New Year, 2020My Profile

  3. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    Just writing down my goals for the year and sharing them, seems to help me attain them. I wrote about last year’s goals and which ones were met in my last post. I need to come up with a word for 2020 as well. Have a fabulous 2020!! Feliz año Nuevo!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Feliz año Nuevo, to you as well, Darlene. I think I now have my word. Will write more when I return.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Happy New Year, 2020My Profile

  4. Bette Stevens
    | Reply

    Happy New Year, Janet!

  5. Pamela
    | Reply

    I don’t do resolutions but if I did, I’d want them to be as good as yours! I do enjoy listing at the beginning of each year the books I’ve read the year before. Reading is a passion of mine and probably why writing is also. Enjoy your warm get away! Happy 2020.
    Pamela recently posted…Lapping Up BooksMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      What a great idea, Pam. I have dramatically cut back on my reading for enjoyment this past year. A Harry Potter in March and a Jodi Picoult yesterday. I’ll rectify that this year; thanks.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Happy New Year, 2020My Profile

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