Another Year, A New Year

 mug front

mug front

About eighteen months ago, I was in one of my favorite places ever, a small town in Michigan where I take my kids to visit with their uncle and his family every other summer. It was the year my health had finally started going haywire enough that I was able to find a couple of solutions (and even more questions). It was a time when I was heading into self-publishing and taking control of my career, and also the time when my ability to write was beginning to break down. It was a scary and happy and not-always-clear time for me. When I saw this mug, it was a reminder that I just had to be strong, to believe in myself. The irony is that, here I am, eighteen months later, sitting beside my Christmas tree sipping wassail from the same mug and remembering how much courage the intervening time has taken. I'm recovering from a surgery I never imagined I'd need. I have seven books under my belt. I'm still figuring out the whole self-publishing thing and how to balance my life and career. And frankly, parts of the past year have scared the hell outta me. But I'm still here.

And now I'm finding the courage for another year ahead. More challenges, personally and professionally, more accomplishments, definitely more ups and downs -- it's life, so that's a given! And yet, it's not all about courage, really. Getting up every day and facing the day ahead is sometimes just managing to put one foot in front of the other. And sometimes it's about trust, even when you can't see what the future holds.

 mug back

mug back

I'll be honest: the past eighteen months have not been the journey I expected. It's hard to trust the process, whether it's writing a book or getting through life, when previous experience tells you it might not be good. Many of us hold back on trust for that reason, don't we?

But in order to have the life we want, we have to look forward, not back, not all the time. We have to face the journey and trust that it will teach us what we need to learn.

I have a friend who recently moved across the country. No plan, not even a place to live. My friend was alone, without any responsibilities to others, and decided that a clean slate, a fresh start was exactly what this phase of their life called for. And despite it being scary, they have decided to trust the journey to take them where they need to go. I wish I had that kind of courage. I think I do, somewhere inside me; I think we all do if we decide it's there.

This New Year, it's time to shed everything but the lessons the past has taught us and step forward into a new year's journey. I plan to trust the process, good or bad, but I'm pushing for good. :)

What about you? Where is your journey taking you this year?

~ Ella