Happy New Year, World


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:

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.


5 Responses

  1. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I love your comment: Look for my new profile picture by August, which shows I read your blog half-way through. And also: I will publish my memoir, At Home On the Kazakh Steppe, which shows I read to the very end–ha!

    My goals: Decide on a theme for my memoir, write at least 3 hours every day (i’d say 4 like you, but 3 may be more realistic for me). This EXcludes social media.

    My star to steer by: the word “imagination.”

    • Janet
      | Reply

      Imagination! I love the idea, Marian. Naming your North Star. You’ve given me an idea for another blog post. And how important to separate our time for social media from our WIP time. Thanks for the reminder. A very Happy New Year to you.

  2. Shirley Hershey Showalter
    | Reply

    Looking forward to being your guest . . . and to the unveiling of that new photo!

    • Janet
      | Reply

      Thanks, Shirley. “Me too” never seemed so right. So glad the link to your recent 2014 Goals shows up here. I recommend it to all.

  3. […] checking back with the blog post I did on January 1, 2014, I feel satisfied. In that post I called my resolutions  “determinations.” Semantics is […]

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