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  • Rachel Saunders

Plans for the New Year; Reflections on the Old Year

There is something magical about staying up late and celebrating that a new year has sprung upon us. The hubs and I do so by heading to a friend's house and watching movies and hanging out until midnight with friends and family. This year's selections were Les Misérables (1998) and RRR, a wonderfully action packed, beautifully produced bro-mance that you had to suspend so much disbelief and still it was wonderfully done commentary. It was WILD y’all!


Driving home I found myself warmly considering all of the plans I’d been seriously considering and feeling so ready to tackle ALL of it. In the back of my head I knew the next morning would be less enthused. And not simply because we had stayed out far past our bedtime. The first of the year is when thoughtful and excited (and also slightly terrified) planning meets reality. That feeling of Now I really should do something with all those pretty plans I’ve made


I woke up stressed. The warm feelings turned to acid in my stomach and I didn’t really manage to sleep in. Thankfully years of looking at myself and my feelings with curiosity came to the rescue. I still didn’t feel better, perse, but I did understand where the stress was coming from. And the day was far from ruined, for which I am eternally grateful because… there was a time…


Now, I don’t make resolutions. I’ve found that they often feel insincere and surface level for me. And while I do use the turn of the year to assess and make plans for how to change and improve I don’t really consider that to be resolutions, the assessment of goals and plans feel like they can be modified any time of the year.


Is the new year a time when you make resolutions, plans, and/or goals. Is it a checkpoint on your journey at all? What does the New Year mean to you?


For me, since I’ve found that I am an external processor (so much gratitude to the friend who gave me this term!) I’d like to share my goals and plans for 2023. They are both simple and complex.

  • Plan and continue writing my novel

  • Create and share more art

  • Sell my art (prints/commissions/??)

  • Write on my blog again (Hello, it has been a while!)

  • Still read books, but maybe not so many (and more edifying books, specifically)

2022 was a year of moving onward towards goals that have shifted and grown alongside me. I learned better how to make plans and actionable steps for myself without creating so much fear of being trapped or getting locked too far into my left brain. I did a lot of work on my novel, even if I ended up not writing anything for the last half of the year. It seems, looking back, that it was for the art creation to return to me, which I am grateful, so grateful. Somehow the magical moment was working on a character drawing for the Star Trek RPG that we are doing Tuesday’s. Suddenly I was in creation mode like I’d never felt before. This is everything I created in 2022, starting from September when the magic happened:


Plus this world map I made for the hub's book series, Future's Birth (https://www.sjsaunders.com/futures-birth)

World Map of Deyrnas | Many thanks to Josh @ Map Effects for the brushes and stamps (mapeffects.co)

All this inspired me to look honestly at my life and actually see how I could make gentle plans to move into acting upon things I’ve always longed to do. Things I am still terrified to do…and I am going to do anyway.


In the past planning has felt too scary and confining because I’ve not let myself be a free-spirited, artistic, scatterbrained, messy person enough. 2022 was when I started to let down some walls and feel out how I can be the best version of myself if I allow myself to stay true to who I am, not who I’ve been taught and, sometimes, forced into being.


While 2023 will be a lot about me and my goals, a friend who has endeavored to reach out more and be more present with loved ones has inspired me to do the same. It has taken much hermiting and resettling my life into a better balance, and I am ready to be more in touch with my people both digitally and in person.

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