2018 and Change

Krissie had us post our word for the year over at ReFab, and I picked “change.”  I have obvious reasons politically–vote in the 2018 midterms, people–but mostly for personal reasons.  I had a rough time several years ago and it’s taken me until now to get centered again.  Moving into the middle of nowhere was a HUGE help–you would not believe how peaceful and beautiful it is here–but now that I’m back on my feet, it’s time for change, big and little.  

First, I’m not going on a diet, but once it gets warm enough for me to go outside without an asthma attack, I’m going to start running again, not to lose weight but to get back that feeling of invincibility that I’m losing as I age.  I used to run five miles a day.  I don’t expect to get back to that, but a couple of miles wouldn’t hurt.   My eating isn’t too bad–diabetes gets rid of most of the crap in your diet and my distaste for any food not homemade or at least served in a restaurant takes care of the rest.  But “more vegetables” is definitely on the list.  I hate fruit, but I have frozen blueberries for muffins and pancakes and I use Simply Fruit jam which is as close as I can come to eating the actual thing.  That and apples.  An apple a day . . .   Why doesn’t fruit taste like chocolate doughnuts?  Oh, well.

Then there’s the house. Because it’s freaking cold here, I shut down the back porch (closed in to make my bedroom and workroom) and moved to Krissie’s guest room at the front of the house.  That means I have the living room, bedroom, and kitchen, which is great  The dogs are less pleased–twin bed instead of a queen–but they’re still getting treats and food and water and a warm place to sleep, so they’re coping.  I’m clearing out the kitchen–Krissie and I share a taste in kitchen stuff, so she’ll take the stuff I have duplicates of when she comes down–and I’m going to move my yarn to the workroom where it belongs,, which means the leftovers of that go to Krissie, too.   And I’m going to find a contractor and give him a list of things that I’ve been dealing with for five years.  Good change.

And then my attitude toward my writing is going to change.  I haven’t had a book out for seven freaking years, even though I’ve written thousands of words.  I’m going to stop doubting myself and stop worrying about writing at my age and just write.  If people think I’ve gone downhill, they can just stop buying the books.  I may just start setting all my books in the 90s.  Then it doesn’t matter that I’m out of the loop: they’re historicals.   The big change is, I’m just gonna write.  The hell with everybody else (except you guys, of course, and Jen).  [Actually, I have had this epiphany before.]

So “Change” is my byword for 2018.  Because sometimes you have to go through the bad times to understand that things need to change, and as for, 2017, Lord, it wasn’t good .  But nowit’s 2018, and it’s time for some change.  Nothing but good times ahead, Argh People.

So what’s your word for 2018?




86 thoughts on “2018 and Change

  1. First and foremost, did you ever watch any of the Sharknados? Sublime!

    Accept. I’m not going to “rage against the dying of the light.” I’m going more the serenity prayer route.

  2. I think my word for the year is yes. Saying yes to invitations, saying yes to talks and saying yes to what I want to open up my world.

    It creates bigger yeses of “yes, I’ll finish this and not procrastinate because I need that future time for something wonderful” and a “yes, I’ve got to be organised so that I can make time for cool things and good people.”

    I like the reframing about give up and gains. If I give up the hoard, I have peace of mind to gain. I LIKE THIS. (Hmm. What’s is say about me that I heard Loki’s voice saying that as in Marvel’s Avengers 1?)

    Btw, if you wrote Paradise Park and Monday Street, period wouldn’t matter. It’s your world. I’d love for you to write it so I can play there.

  3. Steady.

    Because 2017 was full of societal and familial challenges and 2018 is shaping up to be even more so.

    I’m inclined to be an anxious person, so I want to focus not on being calm, which feels impossible, but I’m trying to decrease the depth of my reactions to upsetting things.

    To be steady at the wheel of life, and steadier in my reactions. To try to interrupt the immediate adrenaline flight response and breathe myself to steady.

  4. Sweetie, you have always been a fabulous storyteller. Your talent and your standards are what make you such a skilled writer. I look forward to anything you put out there, no matter the setting/subject/etc., because I know I’ll enjoy the read. You are a badass. Go forth and dither no more!

    My word for 2018 is Prosperity. Prosperity in all things – health, friendship, writing, money, laughter, love, and when the time is right, dog fur (not like Angus doesn’t do his part to ensure scudding drifts, but one Lab does not endless scudding drifts of dog fur make).

    After the past year – all the damage and pain and loss – my motto for 2018 is that I’m not locked in here with it, it’s locked in here with me. My inner Klingon has woken back up, and hoo-boy is she pissed off.

  5. I’m going with contentment, because I’m tired of the struggle. I’ll find something to appreciate in everything that comes along and be content with what I have. Maybe my word should be delusional. Ha ha.

  6. Ocean.

    Last year it was rivers and how they run, and about stepping in them more than once, and change – this year I am headed to sea. I want to be on a big boat, I want to sail on salt water, I want to row the boat I built last year up and down my river and on out to sea. Wider horizons. brisker breezes. Taller waves.

  7. Me.

    This year was hard, generally, and also personally. I realized this fall that I’d been waiting for my person (the guy I’d dated for years) to make decisions and changes…I was in a holding pattern, thinking my real life could start when we finally took the next step.

    When he dumped me….I looked around and saw that… everything is just “ok” and passable and not really what I want in my life. My house. My job. My hobbies. I’ve done a terrible job at living my best life.

    So I’m going to try to do better at Me this year.

    1. Just be glad you didn’t marry him. Trust me, marrying the wrong guy just gets worse and worse. This is a gift.

        1. He did you a favor.

          Because you deserve so much more than he could ever give you. And if he wasn’t bright enough to realize he was lucky to have you?

          You deserve the man who knows he’s damn lucky to get a shot at you.

          Besides, I’m thinking evil thoughts and his hair is going to fall out any day now.

          All of it.

          ; )

  8. This made me realize what my word is, although it was sort of chosen for me: life-changing.

    Which is different from Jenny’s “change,” because hers is all about taking control and making the change. Mine is more about stuff that’s in the works and that’s happening TO me, not BY me. I won’t exactly be a bystander, but most of what happens this year is going to be out of my control.

    The biggest thing is that, if approved in April, a new treatment for my rare medical condition will be life-changing for everyone in this disorder’s community. I’m already on the new treatment (via clinical trial), but it will still be life-changing for me, switching to getting it on the commercial market instead of via the clinical trial. And I’ll be helping those who aren’t on it (and may not even know about it yet) learn about it and figure out if it can change their lives too.

    Plus, I’ve got some other irons in the fire that have gone cold in the past, so I’m afraid to even think that they may heat up and come to fruition this year, but it’s more likely than it’s been in years, and if even one of them does come to fruition, it will be life-changing for me.

  9. I’m going to stop doubting myself and stop worrying about writing at my age and just write.

    About damned time!!!!!!!!!

  10. Joy.

    I was listening to “Proud Corazón” off the Coco (Pixar) soundtrack, and that song just… it made me happy, but more than happy. It’s like a switch inside me flips and instead of just being a lump of carbon-based life form, I’m the protagonist of my own story again. It’s energy and agency and appreciation for everything that is really good, and it’s not like it makes the stuff that’s bad go away, but like I can make things better, too.

    Which is a lot to get out of a song, I guess, but it’s the feeling I get from the ocean and the stars, and that heart-breakingly beautiful blue the sky gets sometimes in September, which shouldn’t bring me joy because it always reminds me of 9/11 and that makes me sad, too, but it does anyway because even the sadness feels like part of being a whole person.

    Maybe I should meditate LOL.

    Anyway, this year I’m going to find that joy wherever I can, and prioritize it.

  11. I’m not sure what my word is yet. It has been “balance” for the last few years and I’m not even getting close, although I still need it.

    Maybe, “acceptance.” Not meaning accepting things without fighting back when they’re bad, but mostly accepting that reality is what it is and putting my energy into dealing with it or changing it in a productive manner, instead of being angry and afraid and frustrated and sad all the time, which doesn’t move you forward at all.

    I’ll have to see, but for today, that’s probably the closest I can come. I lost my beloved cat Magic this morning. But it was the right time. She told me so, and I knew that my choices were to fight the inevitable (and make her suffer) or to try and accept it with as much grace as possible. So she got a good and peaceful end without fear, which is the least she deserved after almost 16 years of being my best friend, companion, familiar, co-author, and all-around supervisor. And the damned tumor never did burst and take her out before she was ready, so we f-ing won.

    Acceptance. That’s the best I can do for today.

    (And hurray for your writing decision. YES. I’ll accept more Jenny Crusie books, too.)

    1. So sorry for your loss. One of my dogs is in congestive heart failure, has been for the past year, and I’m hoping that I’ll know the right time when it arrives. But even the thought hurts. Sending you wishes for acceptance and peace.

      1. Hugs. I really worried about knowing when the time was right (or having the tumor burst and beat me to it). I even made one appointment and then cancelled it when she rebounded, which gave us another couple of pretty good weeks. But my vet said the cat would tell me when she was done, and she did. I suppose all my other cats told me too, I just didn’t want to listen. This time I did. Magic the Cat always was impossible to ignore. I hope things go smoothly for you when the time comes. xxx

        1. A sorrowful path you handled with grace all the way. You did the best for Magic, always. Condolences on her loss.

    2. Sending love and support. From all you have said about her, she sounds like an amazing kitty.

    3. I feel for your loss of your furry companion. A piece of our heart goes away each time one of four-footed family members crosses over the bridge.

    4. I’m so sorry, Deborah. It’s always hard to lose a loved one, even a furry one. I lost 2 last year only months apart. It never gets easier and I wouldn’t want it to. Love and hugs.

      1. I lost three in one year (the batch before these current ones)–one at the beginning of the year, then two within six weeks. Then I got up to five again for a while, but I’ve lost three of those in the last three years, and Magic’s brother Mystic is also dying of cancer. It’s tough. Worth it, but tough. I want to go into the local shelter and say, “GIVE ME ALL TEH KITTIES.”

    5. Oh, honey, I’m sorry. It’s been a terrible year end for you. But Magic had an incredible life, and that means a lot.

    6. I am so sorry. She walked in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies. And all that’s best of dark and light met in her aspect and her eyes.

    7. Deb, hugs to you and warm thoughts for Magic. It sounds like you truly listened – what a gift to both of you.

      1. And I have a wonderful vet and support staff–also a gift. I sent them flowers from Magic, with a thank you for watching over her from the time she was a kitten to her last day.

    8. There is never an easy way to say goodbye to someone you love and cherish, but taking responsibility for making her passing one of peace is truly the last true measure of devotion.

      Wishing you peace and tranquility. We are with you in spirit. (Please give your fur babies some extra love from all of us.)

  12. 2017 was a massive year of change for us, but it was all externalities. (Moving house.)

    2018 needs to be about getting back to doing things I want to do, that I haven’t done for a while, because all my time & money & mental bandwidth was consumed with other things.

    I hesitate to choose a word for 2018! But I am leaning toward “stretch.”

  13. Apparently, it’s “procrastination,” because I’m here, reading everyone’s words instead of processing membership payments for my RWA Chapter.

    Of course, it could also be “priorities” or “fun.”

  14. On being out of the loop, a large percentage of your readers probably are, too. They won’t care. In fact, they might even complain if you weren’t. I’ve definitely got reviews on one of my books that make me think my readers haven’t dated in the 21st century. Maybe just plan on writing for those readers?

    On vegetables, I’ve got one word — soup! Well, and maybe a second phrase to go along with it — immersion blender. I make cream of vegetable soups all the time, usually with coconut milk instead of dairy and sometimes just relying on the blended vegetables to create the thickness, and then I add spices to mix it up. So my carrot soup gets topped with sour cream on day one, sprinkled with cinnamon and cumin on day two, mixed with curry powder and hot sauce on day three. I think the hard part about getting enough vegetables as a single person is that they go bad too fast — I am not going to sit and eat a whole head of broccoli, for example. But roasting it, eating a serving, and then turning the rest into soup by blending it into some chicken broth works. And then mixing up the soup, too, because the bad part about soup is definitely the idea of eating multiple servings of the same thing over and over again.

    As for my own word for the year… it’s definitely not change. I’m in a BTDT space when it comes to change. (2017: 20K miles, 38 states, 4 coasts — Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, and Caribbean. I think the 2016 word might have been change, the 2017 word might have been movement.) So for 2018… laughter. I’ve got a long story to go with that, but I’ll save it for my own blog. It’s the right word, though!

    1. The soup thing is brilliant and now I want to try it. I have an immersion blender, and making transformable soup is such a great idea. After three days of the same thing I just can’t even look at it anymore.

  15. Over on Refab, the word that came to me was OPEN – as in open to any and all good things available in the moment. Open to being open apparently.

    And yes, Jenny, I am happy to read anything you want to write. And happy to buy anything you write. I have already gotten so much pleasure from the work in progress posts that you should be charging me interest.

  16. Hi Jennifer,

    I am a long time fan of your work and currently re-reading all of your books. I just finished Welcome to Temptation and my God… I forgot how amazing Phin was. I was curious, do you have any books coming our or have recently came out that I missed? I read once that you were writing a book for Nadine from Faking It, which I would love to read. I hope that there are many more Jennifer Crusie books to come, it never fails to be simply amazing.

    Thank you!

    1. Last year (was it last year?) I put up all my WiPs and the Argh people read through them dutifully, so they can tell you that while Nadine’s book hasn’t started yet, Alice’s book has and Nadine’s in it. So that’s something. The book I’m working on now is too long, so I’ll probably be putting up the first act of that for people here to point out the parts that they skip so I can cut it back. Welcome to Argh, we need new eyes here. Most of the people here have read that first act so many times they can recite it in their sleep.

  17. Perspective is my word.

    When I was in college almost two decades ago, I went to a church service on campus and heard what without a doubt was one of the most important messages of my life. The priest’s sermon was about how busy we all were and the various stresses and things that could become a distraction and make us feel frazzled and unhappy. And he performed a visual experiment for us – he had two equal sized beakers and two sets of equal amounts of water, sand and large pebbles. He showed us that when you start by putting the little things in the beaker – the sand and the water, you can’t make everything fit. But if you start with the big things, the pebbles – well, then the sand and the water will fit around the pebbles and somehow the beaker can hold it all. And the message was to decide what your big things are, and focus on those and trust that the little stuff will work its way in between all that, and that everything will work out if you keep your focus on the bigger picture.

    I’ve got two kids under two to keep alive, a small business to run with my husband, baby weight I’d like to lose before my siblings weddings and we’re finalizing plans for a desperately needed home renovation with addition to hopefully begin constructing this spring.

    I never feel like I get enough done, and there’s going to be an awful lot to do in the coming year – not only in pretty much every facet of my own life as mentioned – but I also feel a greater responsibility to keep an eye on the broader world given the current climate and given that I want to these munchkins to have a better, more fair world to grow up in.

    So I am going to try to be better about not beating myself up over what I can’t do – to accept that any day I don’t end up crying in the fetal position is a win, and that my best is pretty damn incredible even if far from perfect, and that not everything will happen in an ideal way. But I’m thinking of that sermon, and resolving to keep my perspective on what is a big important pebble, and what is just filler sand. And I think if I just resolve to keep my eyes on the most important thing in my life – my family, and what needs to happen in the best interest of those I love – all the little stuff and stress will fill in around that, and at this time next year I’ll look back in wonder and triumph at how I was able to make it all fit.

    1. I survived two under two, moving across the country with a newborn and 15 month old to a city where I knew no one. You can do it. Remember…the days are long, but the years are short. Really.

  18. I can’t believe an awesome writer like you could doubt yourself! If there’s no one who’d buy your book, you have a buyer in me. Please write.


  19. I have a phrase instead of one word. Take more care.

    I am hoping that this will leak into multiple areas of my life. I need to exercise more, but didn’t want to make a set-in-stone schedule.

    And I want to spend more time on my appearance when I am getting ready for work.

    And I want to spend more time planning and crafting what I make during my studio time.

    And I want to clean EVERYTHIING…

    And so on.
    On the topic of books, even a less than best (by whoever’s standards) Jennifer Crusie is going to be better than an awful lot of books (my standards. And I work in a library. I KNOW THINGS. )

    Best wishes for the New Year, and thanks for sharing.

  20. FINISH.

    That’s my word for 2018. Remember that book I started five (six?!?) years ago in the McDaniel program? Yeah, still working on it (while NOT having written anything new). I need to finish it and move on.

    Fellow Eight Lady Elizabeth and I also discussed the projects we have around the house that are about 95% done. Need to finish those, as well, before starting something new.

    So…yeah. Finish.

  21. 90s are historicals. God (this is not the word I actually used, but the one I’m typing).

    My word, I think, should be joy. I was at the beach with the kids yesterday and there were some teenagers there laughing, being carefree and joyful. I remember things used to be like that, and now they’re not, and I wish they were. So I’m going to try and find anew what gives me joy and make it happen.

  22. Mine is Grow.

    I’ve been in a holding pattern for quite a while, job, home, activities, dating, etc and it’s well past time to make some changes.

    Change job, learn new things to support me in the new job, getting out and meeting more people, get fitter, take on new activities to stretch my abilities, face what I’m afraid of and don’t let it stop me so much…


  23. I like books that take place in the 90s. That the events of Maybe This Time occurred before cell phones made the story work especially well. I’m not sure when other Jenny Crusie stories are supposed to take place, but I don’t care. I’m aware that I usually recognize the music but not the movies; overall, it’s fun to watch the characters realize how much others do or don’t share their points of reference.

    My son’s first grade teacher gave me a gift at the end of the school year (yeah, I know that’s the reverse of what’s supposed to happen). She’d embroidered these words and framed the sewn piece: Life is not the wick nor the candle — it’s the burning.

    That gift dates from 1990. I still keep thinking about living the burning.

  24. Acceptance. Acceptance that I just am not good at my job, and maybe that’s ok. Acceptance that I can throw in the towel and maybe that’s for the better. Acceptance that there are new and better things waiting for me, and I just need to accept that I need to carpe sharknado and go seize them. Accept that sales suck, and it’s not a bad thing to suck at.

    I like this, more than resolutions. Might have to journal this word of the year. 🙂

    And Carpe Sharknado is wonderful. I enjoyed that post immensely!

  25. I’m pretty sure that my word is go.

    Every year I make resolutions – well, I make them all the time, but the 1st is a convenient marker for review – and for the last few years my first resolution has been to go somewhere I’ve never been before. It’s the only one I always keep, every year, but this year it just didn’t feel right. I found myself writing down “Go and see someplace new” instead, which is exactly the same but also isn’t.

    It made me think of “Run and find out”, and also “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. There are a lot of things I feel like I need to move toward this year, so go seems to work.

    Also, the first thing that I thought on re-reading Carpe Sharknado was “There were air fish with teeth in Monday Street.”

  26. My words for 2018 and for the rest of my life are sunscreen and hats. I suppose that’s also health. I’m a fair-skinned, redhead and I’ve spent my life in the sun. Well, it’s catching up with me. Three basal-cell carcinomas were taken off my face yesterday. I have stitches galore and look like a beach-ball, but the doctors caught them in time, and they have protocols to help prevent more from popping up.
    I’m so much luckier than many others.
    Wait, let me change my word to appreciation.

  27. I think this year for me is “focus” (or “mindful?”). I tackled change last year and I like the results. So I want to keep improving on them, but I lose focus, and then I look around and get annoyed with myself for getting distracted and letting myself get derailed. I just need to keep my goals at the forefront of my mind.

      1. Agreed on both counts. It’s like the Tolkien quote about wanderers who are not lost. I love the quote, but it is used so much on so many things that I am torn…

        I like mindful. I just wish fewer hipsters used it as a battle cry.

        1. It’s like Cash’s “Hurt” which got so overused. The only place it still works for me is “The Devil’s Share” on Person of Interest because it’s just perfect there.

          I got a leather journal with the Tolkien quote on it. It is everywhere, but it’s very appropriate for me, as anybody who’s watched me try to write a book can attest (Hello, Argh People).

  28. I think mine is “work” and “more”. Not in a bad way, but I’ve definitely been in a rest/ hang in there pattern for the last few months. And that was important, but I’m ready to get back in there, and set paralyzing perfect aside, and work on creating the habits that let me get more out of ordinary, daily life. I live by myself, and on nights when I don’t have plans, I end up with 6 hours when I get home after work all to myself. And while some of those hours are for pure relaxation, some of them can be writing, or volunteer research stuff, or cooking, or cleaning up after cooking, or maybe even the occasional sit-up. Not every night, but I’m thinking spending two hours every weekday I don’t have plans on some combination of things that will make my world closer to what I want it to be is a manageable goal that makes sense for me.

  29. I hadn’t intended to pick a word, but then “clear” popped into my head. Possibly because two months post-concussion, I finally feel like my brain is clear again. Also because I need to clear out stuff, be clear about what I want, and take clear steps to get there.

    Then, today, I noticed that if I drop the “c” and rearrange the letters and add “y” (really, this is my brain working normally), I get “early,” which would for me be a life-altering concept.

  30. Mine is Courage. . I was going to use health as I was so bummed out by Trump and his Trumpeteers that I let things slide last year and am paying the price now. I facing some scary health issues but will survive (I hope). I just have to be tough. I want to read Fire and Fury bu am afraid i’d Implode. Just finished “Lucky Us” by Amy Bloom. Usually I have to like the people in he book. I didn’t like anyone but had to keep on reading. Still don’t know how I feel about it.

  31. My word is “agency.” I get caught up in reactive mode, and it’s easy for me to let things slide: eat crap because it’s too late to cook, honk around on the computer until I run out of time to exercise, that kind of thing. I have two special needs kids who are volatile, to say the least, so fluidity is a keyword, too. But I need to be active in my self care as well.

  32. “I may just start setting all my books in the 90s. Then it doesn’t matter that I’m out of the loop: they’re historicals.”

    There are loads of authors that I love that wrote for decades about one particular time period, whether they acknowledged that or not (Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie…) so I’m all in favour. And then you get into historicals like Georgette Heyer written so far in the past that I don’t know which era I’m reading about really. I’m currently enjoying children’s travel guides from the 1950s. Some things never don’t change. http://www.miroslavsasek.com/books/thisis/london.html

  33. I am 26, a librarian, and have read every book you’ve written (personal fave Dogs and Goddesses or Agnes and the Hitman). Try not to worry too much! You’re fabulous and we’ll be here when that next book hits the shelves. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Samantha, for the kind words and for your library. Librarians are my favorite kind of people; you all saved my life when I was a kid.

  34. Determination. I’m gonna stick with my plan for work, my responsibilities in my local Indivisible group, weight loss, and finishing organizing the books and the pictures in the house we moved into 4 years ago.

  35. My motto for the new year is Remember Who You Are. I am done letting people relate to me only as someone’s daughter, sister, caretaker, etc.

    I sent a Christmas card to my former foster brother and he wrote back a lovely note recalling some of the experiences that we shared. They were over 40 years ago, but after reading them I thought, “Yeah, that’s still me.” And if that is still me on the inside, it is time to let that me show on the outside again.

  36. I like ‘change’ – adapting it for me gives ‘move’. I WILL move house this year. I’ve wanted to move for the last 29 years (since we got here, basically) because I’m country bred and this house is in town, but we haven’t had the money plus it was convenient for my boys and school. But now my parents’ house has been sold so I no longer have a toehold in the countryside, and the traffic noise and back fence neighbours are driving me insane, so IT’S TIME!

    Just need to get mine in a saleable state. Need a new notebook so I can make plans.

    1. This is my problem in reverse. I’m more than an hour from my daughter, who lives in an urban neighborhood, so I have to deal with New Jersey highway and city traffic to get to her. To get to where I live, she has to navigate twisty roads through woods, and that makes her sick to her stomach (it’s a family thing, we all get carsick). So we meet halfway just before the roads start to twist and the traffic gets insane. I want to be closer, but I cannot abide that kind of big-house-on-small-lot congested city living. She has the perfect situation and the center of a curved drive, so nobody on either side of her, and a huge park behind her, but even then, it’s too many people. It’s a problem.


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