Looking For Peace In This Crazy World

my mindPublished in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of January 2, 2016©Julie Seedorf

It’s the beginning of a New Year. I’m not quite sure what to do with it. If I pin my hopes too high on a new year I will most certainly be disappointed. If I stay stuck in my ways and try to hold on to the old year I might stay glued to a sticky life.

Last year I vowed, not a resolution, but an  idea to take the time to work on my health, write lots of books and work on finding peace within myself. I followed that idea for the first month and then I got caught up in the whirlwind of life and expectations.

Some of my friends worked on their bucket list. I don’t have one. My friend who lives out east, at the age of 70-something, experienced her first sky dive. She was exhilarated. I know sky diving out of an airplane will not be on my list anytime soon. I am very happy for my friend, but I have this thing about heights and falling, especially free falling without a net, and I don’t trust someone else to pull the cord. Left up to me, I fear I would be too frightened to think about pulling the cord to open the chute. I have no trust in me when I am wrapped up in fear.

Another friend was called for the reality show “Worst Cooks In America.” I will tell you a secret — although I claim I can’t cook — I would fail at winning worst cook because I wouldn’t make half the mistakes the worst cooks make because I find myself yelling at the television and cackling at their ineptness because they don’t know how to boil an egg. I actually can cook, I just don’t let people know, then they have low expectations and they don’t ask me to bring anything to a potluck. I won’t make a resolution for that.

Another one of my good friends made the New York Times best seller list and more. That’s not on my resolution list ether. I’m very happy for my friend, but I am realistic about my writing and don’t think Granny or Jezabelle could handle the notoriety. Maybe I don’t enter awards because I am insecure about my writing, and you have to enter to win. I’ll have to ponder that thought.

I asked some of my readers their expectations of themselves for 2017. Most replied they wanted to be a better person and to laugh more and enjoy life. I happen to think those that answered already are pretty good people, yet, they are going to try harder in 2017 to be honorable people. They actually hit the nail on the head for what I was hoping to do for 2017. I didn’t like the way I handled some challenges this year and hope to be a kinder, more patient person.

Looking back on 2016, I have a hard time believing things are going to change for the better in the New Year. I don’t remember a time in my life when I have felt the attitude of our nation to be one of rudeness and hate and disregard for others as I have seen this past year. The elections seem to have brought out an America I have never known, pitting friends against friends, leaving us to ask ourselves “Who are those guys? Did we really know some of our friends?”

As much as I have heard people lament and be happy the old year is gone because of the rhetoric, I fear we are only on the tip of the tide. 2017 may be no different.

I really do want to be a better person this year. I don’t want to get caught up in the sniping because I don’t like myself very much afterward. I could be silent and stay out of harms way and let it all happen around me, ignoring wrongs that may need righting. That might leave me unsettled too. There is a fine line between being silent for peace sake and being silent for fear of retribution.

I could try the “Eat, Pray, Love” thing. I like to eat, I love to pray and who doesn’t like love? I could call it eat, pray, exercise. After taking all that time off searching her life, the writer of “Eat, Pray, Love” did end up with a best-selling book and a new love, but as the years passed the love didn’t quite work out. I’d rather take my chance on exercise as the only emotions it involves are mine, and there is a good chance my romance with exercise won’t work out.

The new year is here. Perhaps I’ll become a poet, and in 100 years or so my poetry will become a trivia question. Maybe a goal for me would be to be one of the writers in residence on Amtrak. I can dream of a thousand goals and not care if I can accomplish one because they aren’t as important as having peace inside of myself. Will I find it this year? Will you?

What’s In An Old Year?

breatheI wonder how many people view New Year’s Eve Day as a day of reflection. As I look out onto my yard and the beautiful glistening snow I am reminded of the seasons that have passed this year.

For me it has been a year of successes, failures, fun times with family and sad mourning times with family and friends. It has been a year of life because as much as we would like to dream the New Year is going to be free of any anguish it isn’t going to happen, because life is filled with hills and valleys every single year. Some years may be better than others but those years, and hills and valleys make us who we are.

There are always moments in life we know we can do better. There are moments in life we hold on to so tight it keeps us from moving forward in our lives. The trick is to recognize the moments we need to leave behind and the moments we need to carry with us into the future.

Looking back on my life there are many times I have failed as a mother, as a wife, as a financial planner of my finances, in my writing and as a friend. When I feel the despair of depression, those are the moments I cling to and they keep me in the past. They keep me from moving forward. They keep me from accepting who God has created me to be and I stagnate.

I don’t believe we were meant to live our lives feeling like a failure, but the outside voices beat us down and we hear the negative rather than the positive. We don’t see our successes or the positive moments and people who help shape our lives.

This may seem like a strange New Year’s column but I write from the heart. Today is a day of reflection for me, looking back, seeing what I want to change, what I want to hold on to, and what I need to do to go forward to be the best me I can be. And  that is what I wish for you, my readers.

This isn’t a resolution but a way to began the new year. I love to write. I love dreaming of weird impractical characters and I will keep doing it. I must admit this year I have felt the respect slip from being a computer technician to beciming a writer and especially a writer of silly tales. I feel the respect of my readers and those that love Cozy Mysteries and the impractical, but I felt the ridicule of those that do not understand spinning a tale of silliness in the real world. This coming year I choose to spin more silly tales and let the voices of those who believe I am nothing but a fluff bucket, and my opinions do not matter because of it, go and not stop me from doing what I love.

I choose to speak out against disrespect in all areas, on the Internet, on my Social Media and in real life but I also choose to answer the disrespect with respect.

Having a creative soul leads me to explore many creative avenues and this year I choose to explore them and not let those that think I should stick to one thing stop me. My soul has to soar. I can’t be burdened with structure and lines and people that box me in.

And I vow to get out of debt. Yes, writers can have debt. I don’t know how, but I will have faith in myself to believe I can do it.

I am grateful for my life this year. I am grateful for my family and friends and for my readers. I am grateful for life, and light and hope. I am grateful for my failures, my successes, my moments of holding on and my moments of letting go. God created each of us different and I will listen to the voice inside of me telling me how to use my creative talents. I hope all of you will do the same. Our lives are complicated. They are a mixture of feelings that make us, us. My hope for me and you is to accept yourself as you are, celebrate your uniqueness, let go of those moments you need to so you can go into 2016, growing, caring, loving and yes failing, for it is in failure we find out who we are and what strengths we have to carry us into our future.

Happy New Year. Celebrate you.