The moon loomed bright and full last night, at home in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania.  When I woke for a water break, both in and out…yes, I’m at that age…it was like standing in the sunshine.  The beams from the moon illuminated the room. “It’s the NEW YEAR,” I remembered, and there seemed to be a sense of calm and peace in the air.  All things seemed possible and hopeful. I wanted to hang on to that feeling as I shuffled back to the warm covers. This morning, the sun reinforced the narrative that everything seems a little brighter; the air seems a little fresher.  And I’m still feeling optimistic and hopeful. Then I turned on the TV news rehashing the past year’s events, emphasizing the darkness, fear, and separateness from one another.

So I switched to a lighter channel.  There, they were telling me all the ways to be dissatisfied with myself:  my current wardrobe, my hairstyle, my make-up.  I need a new diet, a new fitness regime, a new set of rules and restrictions that will inevitably make me feel that I’m not good enough as I am.

So here’s my plan for 2018:  I’m going to go easier on myself.  I DO work hard, try hard, and accomplish a lot each and everyday.  I don’t need to be bombarded with more things I HAVE to do or FEEL.  Frankly, I have a heck of a lot of those things already built in to my days–things that are singular to my life, that these glamorous talking heads with huge teams of assistants have no idea about!  Then I got to thiinking about all of you.  I know so many of you personally.  I know what hard-working mothers, daughters, sisters, wives you are, and I’m here to tell you something:  you ARE doing enough.

So as every media outlet blasts at you to do more, I suggest that you be very selective about who you listen to.  Be very sure any changes you make empower you, and don’t just add one more thing to make you feel guilty about.  Explore, experience, enjoy.  Grow, touch, learn.  Love, laugh, cry.  Be hopeful.  It’s YOUR year.

Can we all make improvements to our lives?  Absolutely.  But change doesn’t happen with a ball being dropped or on someone else’s time clock.  Make it right for you.  Make it achievable.  And be sure it will make YOU feel GOOD.

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