“I pledge to use books as doors to other minds, old and young, girl and boy, man and animal. I pledge to use books to open windows to a thousand different worlds and to the thousand different faces of my own world. I pledge to use books to make my universe spread much wider than the world I live in every day. I pledge to treat my books like friends, visiting them all from time to time and keeping them close.” - Cornelia Funke
It’s that time again. The calendar is about to flip over and a new year is getting ready to start. Sure, it’s just an arbitrary attempt to organize that ephemeral thing called Time, but in our human experiences, it’s helpful to mark such things as a way of measuring ourselves. Sometimes we measure against our own expectations and sometimes against others. Myself, I try to look at such a time as an opportunity to understand where I’m at and where I want to go.
I sit down at the end of every year and review the year that is closing down. I then use that reflection to outline a few goals I have for the coming year. I find this far more useful than setting resolutions as my goals can be flexible. I try to make them SMART but I also include a few that are aspirational and not bound to expectation.
A key element to making them successful is I don’t put a burden on myself that not completing them means failure. These are meant to be goals that outline what I want my life to be more like, but I’m realistic that they’re idealized.
But before I look so far ahead, I first turn around and look back. This is the time to take stock and see where things went haywire. For example, this year an unexpected house move through things into total chaos. When I sit down to review what I accomplished, I am going to be taking that into account, but I’m also going to look at what the effects of that time were. What did I learn, what could I have done better, how exactly did it effect the other parts of my life and work?
Journaling helps with this, even if it’s just a daily diary of what happened and when with a few reflections on how I’m feeling. Short entries in a small notebook help me fill in gaps. And when there are entries missing? Well, that’s usually a sign that I’m not living as well as I could be.
To facilitate all this reflection, I go through my journals and my list of goals from the previous year, but I also use a few tools to help me through the process. I’m passing them along to you here, hopefully they’ll help you on your own journey for the coming year. One is more personal, one more career oriented (though still full of useful personal insights), but they’re both free!
And for the coming year I mostly use paper tools for my planning, along with Bear and Boostnote digital notebooks, as well as Trello and Habitica for breaking down those goals into digestible, doable chunks.
A big wall calendar for Luna Station Planning.
A beautiful weekly planner that I use to mark special occasions and also use as a gratitude journal.
SMART Goal Worksheet for the occasional times I need such a thing.
I do hope a few of these tools and reflections are helpful. Id’ love to hear about it if you use any of them.
Whether you plan for the coming year, reflect on the old, or do none of those things and simply live in the moment, I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, peaceful holiday season full of rest and love.
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” - unknown
The brain has two modes: 1. Playing and not giving a fuck. 2. Stressing out. One of these modes is not good for you. Can you guess which?
“Other people may be accusers if they want to; that may be their job. I really want to be an advocate for whatever I find is healthy or good. I think people don’t change very much when all they have is a finger pointed at them. I think the only way people change is in relation to somebody who loves them.” - Fred Rogers
Forgotten Female Fantasy: Reviews of vintage sci-fi and fantasy novels written by (mostly) women. Find your new favorite old book.
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” - Saint Francis de Sales
Be safe on the internet: An open source checklist of resources designed to improve your online privacy and security. Check things off to keep track as you go.
“Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia? The ones where she wears nylons and elegant blouses when she wants to, and short skirts and bright lipstick when she wants to, and hiking boots and tough jeans and big men’s plaid shirts when she feels like backpacking out into the mountains and remembering what it was to be lost in a world full of terrific beauty— I know her siblings say she stops talking about it, that Susan walks away from the memories of Narnia, but I don’t think she ever really forgot.”
“It’s time to finally call these companies what they really are – the largest publishers in history. And here’s an idea for them: abide by basic standards and practices just like newspapers, magazines and TV news do every day. We have standards and practices in television and the movies; there are certain things we cannot say or do. In England, I was told that Ali G could not curse when he appeared before 9pm. Here in the US, the Motion Picture Association of America regulates and rates what we see. I’ve had scenes in my movies cut or reduced to abide by those standards. If there are standards and practices for what cinemas and television channels can show, then surely companies that publish material to billions of people should have to abide by basic standards and practices too.”
Note: This piece is really old and from the release of 5th edition, but I still found it interesting.
“More strikingly, the new Player’s Handbook explicitly talks about the gender binary and gender fluidity. “Think about how your character does or does not conform to the broader culture’s expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behavior,” it reads. “You don’t need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender . . . You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female’s body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male.” So D&D players are being pushed to think critically about gender as a historical construct at the same time they’re deciding whether to be “Quarion the elvaan druid” or “Havilar the dragonborn sorcerer.” Dungeons & Dragons is a game that hinges on the collective process of imagination, and now we’re being asked to summon a world that doesn’t share in our dominant heteronormative paradigms. This, friends, is cool.”
Currently Reading: “To Be Taught, If Fortunate” by Becky Chambers
Currently Listening: Titus Andronicus, like a LOT of Titus Andronicus Also, I’m in the process of switching to a new Spotify account and am training the algorithm to give me stuff I actually want to listen to.
Currently Working On: New print editions of Luna Station Quarterly’s first couple of years. The were only ever in digital form before. Now, they will become real.