I should have done this post last week and saved the NaNo update for the final day of the competition, but since when do I do things in the proper order?
Over the past week I’ve thought a lot about the things for which I’m thankful. Pretty much every aspect of my life has changed in the past year, almost all for the better, and I think I’ve finally closed the door on the chapter of my life that had dominated me for far too long.
In no particular order:
I adore my apartment. I’ve been in my place for almost six months and I absolutely love it. There’s a dog park for Owen, lots of trees, and soothing wall colors.
My new job is better than I could have hoped for. I’ve just started the actual work, but I love the atmosphere, the people, the perks… and the fact that it’s in Grand Rapids is icing on the paycheck.
I’ve gone public with my design business. Ink Slinger Designs is alive and kicking after YEARS of half-hearted freelance work. I’ve always known I wanted to specialize in something but couldn’t pinpoint my niche. Book covers feel like the perfect fit AND they’re fun to design.
The Book of Good is still going strong. I haven’t talked about here like I’d originally intended, but I’ve written in it just about every day this year. It’s a journal where I have to write at least three good things that happened each day. When things were especially difficult last winter, I decided that forcing myself to find even the tiniest good things would help me see past all the bad, and it’s really helped. I don’t allow myself to write anything negative (although I admit I’ve written “I didn’t kill so-and-so today” and “I survived today”), no matter how strong the urge. That’s what my regular journal is for.
My friends got agents, have been published, or are about to be! Including:
Stacey Graham – Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide
June Kramin (as Ann T. Bugg) – Before Happily Ever After
Trish Stewart – Taking Lessons from Ernest
Jamie Mason – The Liar’s Margin
My mom gets to retire next summer. Her excitement is contagious.
I finally feel like I’m home and part of a community. When I first returned to the US, I didn’t have any intention of staying here. When I got divorced and signed a lease of my very own, I thought maybe I’d stick around for another year. Well I’m happy to report I’m slowly making real life friends (gasp!), I’ve joined activities away from the computer, and I’m looking forward to staying in west Michigan.
Writing. Unfortunately writing has fallen behind everything else going on, but I still consider myself a writer and have high hopes for my writing career in the next year.
This past year was just a warm-up.
Last week I asked when is enough enough? Many of you gave thoughtful advice and shared your own stories, and your comments inspired an idea. It’s not grandiose or far-reaching; it’s merely a way for me to keep from getting bogged down in the negative. And it’s already having an effect. My solution?
The Book of Good.
I received a journal for Christmas and before going to bed last Monday night I named it The Book of Good. (Yes, I’m already considering calling it T-BOG.) On the first page I challenged myself to write down at least three good things that happened each day. Every day. It could be as monumental as winning the lottery (I still need to buy a ticket…) or as small as the joy my dog brings me when we play after work. No matter how low my mood may sink, odds are something made me smile, even if for only a second, and even if it was only on the inside.
My hope is by keeping track of the good, I’ll keep a perspective on all the negativity that seems to surround us. I’ve debated posting about my shock over the Arizona shooting, but decided the blogosphere doesn’t need another opinion on that. Instead I choose to look for the good. The people who’ve rallied together. The hope that rhetoric will change. The possibility that mental illness will lose one more layer of stigma.
Another side effect of T-BOG that I didn’t expect: I find myself looking for good throughout the day. I’ve yet to stop and smell any roses (it is winter in Michigan) but I’ve already noticed a change in myself.