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At last it is January! This is one of my favorite times of the year. The expectations of the holidays are over making it a time to focus on my own goals, the plans I am making that I am personally excited about. Because I actively try to shape myself the new year holds great promise.

This year I hope to give to others more regularly. And I say this selfishly because I know from experience that it feels good to get my hands dirty helping others. I am anxious to spend the day next week assisting folks whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Sandy, down in Atlantic City, with a group of like-minded people. It’s a chance to surround myself with others who feel strongly about putting in effort towards the improvement of us all. Being around those kinds of folks, and working together as a team, I know will send me home tired and satisfied, temporarily, that I have contributed. It is easier to accept help from others when I know I have offered my abilities already. When my sister and mother and father were dying, and my home had flooded at the same time, I had to accept the help of so many people. I owe back to the world at large many times over for this, and tearing out moldy drywall and flooring for someone else is a way to do it. This is one of the things I am looking forward to, genuinely, this year.

This year I hope to figure out how to share the story I have written about my childhood, You’ll Get Over It, Jane Ellen, and how I learned to create a new life to live today instead of continuing with the one I started out with. Recognizing that you can change who you are and how you live your life has been a profound revelation for me, and I am committing time daily to finding ways to share that idea.

This year I hope to build new friendships in the writing community locally and to participate in those more, being committed to following my strong inclination to write and be heard. I hope to be strong and fearless in that even though it is tricky taking steps down a lonely path, following my intuition just because I trust it.

So January is full of excitement for me because these are things I care about. There is enough new here to fill my time along with my husband and children, teaching introductory piano students, teaching high school students to write papers, running a beach property and speaking out about ideas I care about. January is just the start of all these days I can’t wait to live.