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2023 Word: Me

Around mid-December I start thinking about the word I want to shape the following year. Some years I have to spend time making lists, trying words on for size, and figuring out the right one. Other years, like 2022's "family," the right word pops into my head unbidden.

This is one of those unbidden--and, let's face it, unwanted--word years. As soon as I extended a toe into thinking about 2023, the word ME flashed like a neon sign in my head.

I didn't like it.

It's awkward. It feels selfish, I thought. It makes me uncomfortable to center my goals and my life around...myself? Ugh.

That's how I one hundred percent knew I had to go with it. If it makes me that uncomfortable, I should be focusing on it. So here's how I plan to use, err, ME, in 2023.

Health. I'm in a much better place now than I was a year ago when I hurt my back. This year it's all about getting strong and healthy. I'm committing to working with a personal trainer once a week until June to build up my strength and stamina, to prevent injury and hopefully get as close to whole as I possibly can. This is a big investment in myself (literally and figuratively), and it's long past time. I'm also going to use that breathe function on my watch and pay better attention to my sleep needs. This has the potential to be transformative as I get closer to age fifty.

Family. For a few years, I've kept "take the kids someplace new each month" on my goals list. I'm continuing this because we all love it so much. (Question for another year: At what point does it become a lifestyle choice and not a goal?) Also, I want us to play more board games as a family--this is something I love. New this year: Teaching the kids one new life skill per month. This helps them and me, as they can be more independent and I get a little bit of time back from doing all the mundane tasks.

Writing. As a lifelong sporadic journal-er, I am going to commit to writing in my journal more frequently this year. I'd even like to go back to blogging or post on Medium or Substack. Getting my thoughts on paper is how I process the world, and the practice has many therapeutic benefits. I'm also carrying over writing fifty days per quarter and joyfully drafting new projects each quarter, from last year. My writing is what keeps me happy, focused, and whole.

Author Business. This week I'm crafting a publishing plan for 2023, and I want to use it to guide my creative year. The Shiver by the Sea book series launches in August, and I'm going to lay a foundation to do as much as I can to make that series successful. I have plans for more Mina Allan titles, too, so I need to work those into my production calendar. Last year, I set some financial goals for my author income, which I'm pretty sure I exceeded--although I don't quite know if/by how much, because I am...not so good at keeping track of these things. This year, I'm going to set up--and stick to!--a system to more effectively monitor my author income and not make me a lunatic around tax season. If I want my career to grow, I have to be more intentional about how I spend my time and track my finances.

Financial. Last year, Husband and I set some family financial goals and got on the path to tackling them. I want to keep on the road of saving for the kids' college educations, and be more intentional about our budget. For me, financial freedom is the ultimate goal.

Overall, I want to settle more firmly into myself, prioritize my well-being, and assess outsiders' expectations of what my life should be against my own. Ultimately, I've decided that this word is not a selfish one at all; it's empowering. Let's do this, 2023: You & Me.


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