Back to the Future, 2011 Style

“Today, you have 100 percent of your life left.” ~Tom Landry

Let's begin 2011 with a real bang!

New Year’s Day is a funny holiday. It’s not as materialistic as Christmas as become, as outright fun as Halloween, as obscure as Labor Day. Most people think of it as a time for new beginnings and really cheap champagne. Since I wanted to get one more entry in before 2010 is over, I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than by reviewing my 2010 and setting some resolutions for the new year. (They say one is more likely to keep a resolution if it is made public, thereby increasing accountability, so for the first time, I’m giving it a try.)

2010 was a turbulent year for me. Perhaps inspired by the biblical story of Noah, it featured a big flood, 40 days and 40 nights (plus a few) of despair, lots of animals, God trying to give me an important message, and a rainbow at the end. Thankfully I didn’t have to build an ark. I learned to depend on my friends, and on God, when times were hard. I also learned that I can’t get a rainbow without experiencing rain…lots and lots of rain.

The defining event for me this year, along with thousands of others in the greater Nashville area, was, of course, the great May flood. Though I didn’t lose my home or property, I did lose the job I’d held for over five years. With it went my dignity, stability, primary source of income, and hope. Right after my birthday in June, I was cut loose and told I was on my own. Several months of frustration followed when I tried to find a new job (I still had a part-time job and was able to collect some unemployment.)

Lots and lots of wet books

In this Great Recession, jobs were (and are) few and far between. I just got by…borrowing from family, selling things at the local flea market or on Ebay, using credit cards. I look back and see that I learned how to be even thriftier during that time. What didn’t kill me made me stronger. Then, after I’d all but given up hope, I found a new full-time position. The rainbow had come after many, many days of rain.

I couldn’t have made it without the support of my friends (the same ones I’ve mentioned again but can’t mention enough.)

The other important milestone of 2010? I finally, after many months and years, and a little bit of luck, managed to get out of debt. If I could offer one bit of advice to others, it would be to try and do the same. Debt is a form of slavery, and it creates unnecessary stress. When I really sat down and looked at my credit statements, I found that most of the items were either conveniences or things I could live without. It will never happen again. I’ve learned to live within my means and it’s staying that way. So what if I don’t have the newest, flashiest phone or sleekest car? The ones I have work fine. If I want another one, or my old ones break, I’ll just have to save.

2010 was also a year I still found myself single. While I’ve learned to live with this part of myself, and am usually quite comfortable with it, I want to leave open the possibility of finding someone with whom to share my life. Not that I’m going to start bar-hopping. I’ll merely go to the places I know I might find him. Which means lectures, coffeehouses, Belcourt nights. And the right bait (my Faceman side coming out again.)

So, as I look to the new year (as I write this, four hours away), I hope to accomplish the following, and I want my readers to keep me accountable:

I will submit at least two pieces a month for consideration to magazines, journals, or blogs.

I’ve been told I’m a good writer throughout my life. While I leave that open for debate, I know I can make at least residual income from my writing. There are literally thousands of outlets to whom I can submit material. While I write my novel, I can write a 500 word piece here, a thousand word article there. Even if it’s only $20 at a time, I’ll be getting published and getting my name out there.

For every hour I spend writing fanfiction, I will write two hours of “real” fiction.

There’s a verse in the Bible about giving up childlike things. I don’t take it to mean I should give up all my favorite things, but this one has become important. It’s like the way my parents would always tell me I had to eat my veggies before I could have dessert. Fanfic is fun for me, but there’s a greater future for me in nonfiction writing. I can still have a little on the side, but it’s no longer going to be my main focus. I wrote over 60,000 words of fanfic this past year…easily a short novel.

Health is going to be a main focus.

Again, 2010 was a year in which I became more health-conscious, but there’s always room for improvement. As much as possible I’m going to stop eating processed foods and the dreaded whites (sugar and flour). I have a slow cooker and I can use it. I want to be able to plan my meals ahead instead of always grabbing something on the go, which is a drain on my wallet and my conscience. Not sure if I can go all Dirk Benedict yet, but I can eat more conscientiously. Eat to live, not live to eat, is a great motto. I’m not on a diet but rather a re-examination of my eating habits. And I’m not going to starve myself. I’m never gonna be a size 6, and that’s OK…as long as I remain healthy. My Y membership will get its use as it did in 2010.

I’m going to become a volunteer…early and often.

One thing I did as 2010 drew to a close was become a dog rescuer, driving dogs in need to new rescue homes. It has been amazingly rewarding, and I don’t need or expect a penny in compensation. It has been said that volunteering is the greatest gift one can give. Because I have been so fortunate, I want to give back. I’m not sure exactly how yet, but it’s going to happen.

I will begin the first steps to get my pilot’s license.

Now that I can save money each month instead of throwing it at credit cards, I’d like to act on a dream instead of just talking about it. Even if it’s just that first introductory flight, it’ll be worth it, because it will be an action, and actions speak much louder than words.

I will have my manuscript done by my birthday in June.

This is the biggie, the Big Cheese, El Grande Enchilada. For those who may not know, I’m working on a nonfiction book about how The A-Team has helped me in my life and how it can possibly help others. I have written an outline and several chapters already. It may not be a long book, or a huge bestseller, but it’s MY book, and I know someone who thinks she can help me publish it. This is going to be my focus for those six months, so if I seem a little preoccupied, that’s why. Any suggestions for the book would be helpful, so send them my way, especially all you A-Team fans!

So, with 2011 less than three hours away where I am, I wish everyone I know a happy and blessed New Year, and I’ll catch you on the flip side!

Murdock and his gyrocopter...

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on January 1, 2011.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

her name was cassandra

and she was a shining star

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