2017 is winding to a close and I am, once again, reflecting upon what I’ve done and what there is yet to do before the year’s end. I’m not planning though. It’s not for fear that I’ve no future, but more that, at 42, I know the fluidity life requires. 

I am taking stock. What did the experience of the last 365 days do to my soul? How am I different now in comparison to who I was then? The conclusion I come to on most days? I am just older. The only things I have gained from months of struggle are more wrinkles, more grey hairs, and more body aches. Most days? I’m a bitter, old bitch; I am the crazy, old cat-lady who yells at the kids to get off her lawn

Other days, the days when I can slow-down, take inventory, and appreciate how truly blessed I am? I am the artist, The Hermit, and the wisest woman you’ll ever meet. I am blessed. I can say that now, at this moment. There is nothing more that I truly want or need. I woke-up this morning, and that is truly enough. That is a beautiful thing. Still, my personal goal for 2018 is continuing to find a little more balance between the artist and the bitter, old bitch

There was some slight progress in 2017. I am going into 2018 (as I have every single year since the dawn of my existence) a little wiser. I am not perfect; Life is not perfect. But that was never the goal. 

In 2017 I settled into being me just a little bit more and today I can say that my spirit is a bit more comfortable in its fleshy shell. My mind? Free. I’ve been able to let go of so very many thoughts that had kept me chained to my past. (Maybe around September?) I quit beating myself up. About everything. I acknowledged that, at every single turn in my life, I did my best. (All we can do.) I did that, and now? I’m all right. My guy’s all right. The kids? They’re okay too. 

Last-year I got re-acquainted with a girl I knew long ago; A girl that, as I recall, was fantastically curious, brilliantly sassy, joyfully wicked, and terribly gifted. She liked punk, getting dirty, and salty foods.( All the salty foods.) She was (mostly) good; A social drinker, but still a wild one. She smoked too much of a lot of things. (Not really. There were only two.) She did not apologize. (Often.) Your opinion? It mattered only if it is right. There was most definitely a wrong

Sometime, in September of last-year, I found a girl from before she’d experienced the trials of living; A child that could look at the world with absolute wonder, and hope, and joy, and endless expectations. Fearless.  Seeing her was like being reacquainted with the very best, childhood friend. We started talking and neither of us has shut our mouths since. It’s been going on for months now. 

I tell you, this girl? She’s the best. And I am terribly excited about what we might pull-off in the future. I mean, with my wisdom and her sheer excitement? Unstoppable.  I’m not entirely certain where this team is headed. Neither of us are brilliant at planning, but things are evolving. We’re enjoying the ride. She and I. Us. Me. We (I) think 2018 is going to be a blast. Why? (You probably haven’t asked.) Only because we (I) don’t give a f*ck in the most brilliant way. Don’t misunderstand us, we (I) care deeply about a number of things. Truly. We (I) do. We do not move through our life intent on failure and thriving on the disappointment of others. That is not our disorder! (Ha!) No. It is only, as mentioned before, we (I) are ancient enough to know that this existence in far too liquid to even attempt to mold it. 

Old enough to know that planning today is truly the only existence that lends itself to happiness. I have hope for tomorrow always, but I long, long ago understood that it was never a promise. If you don’t take your joy from the moment you are living in you absolutely risk losing that opportunity forever. When you know that? When you understand that your only real power lies in how you act in any given second? If you’re driven, and sassy, and brilliant, (like this girl from before and I) you seize that second! You grab hold of that thing as if it was the teat of a god and you suckle the shit out of it. 

That’s what I want for everyone in the coming year. I want you to have the freedom to suckle the shit out of life! First though, you’ll need to get back to living it. So, maybe, you should turn-off that 24-hour news cycle, change the notification settings on your phone, grab a partner, get-out that board-game from 1980-something. Re-connect. Be present

Take the time to find your own before. Who the hell were you before life tossed all of its shit at you?  Once you’ve found that person, focus on today and, once you’re steadily there, set a goal. 

Pick your thing to try in 2018. Then? Do that thing. And, if you’re going to do a thing? Do that thing! Learn that thing; Study that thing; Play with that thing; Roll in that thing; Absolutely fuck that thing until there is nothing left of it. And when you fail? (And you will fail some of the time, it is part of the ride.) Fuck that too! Revel in that! It’s okay. Truly. You fell. So what? Get the fuck back up and try again. Fall again? Okay. Maybe that thing wasn’t your thing. Now you know. Now you can move on. Try something else.  

It is that simple. Seriously. The secret of life is that we’ve been really overthinking life. We all just want joy. We want to love and be loved; We want security and safety; We want to be partners, parents, and friends. The only responsibility we have, the only purpose beyond seeking joy for ourselves, is that we not impede on the joy of others. This is literally all you need to know; All you need to do.  

In 2018? Live. Nothing else.