Every year, I look forward to Christmas. Once it’s over, I’m excited by the “clean slate” of the New Year. What will I accomplish with my resolutions this year?
During almost 27 years together, my husband and I have developed our tradition of spending New Year’s Day preparing the customary foods to ensure Health, Wealth, and Happiness, which include:
Collard greens for dollar bills.
Hoppin’ John, black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon for luck, health, and good fortune.
Cornbread symbolizing gold. We like the spicy version.
You get the picture. We also continue with the last of the soft Christmas music as we take down the tree, pack away the ornaments, and drink a bit of champagne to toast the New Year as we write our resolutions and open a new calendar.
This year we did something a bit different. We spent 15 hours driving home from an unplugged 10 days in Florida, leaving behind 79 degree weather and balmy days as we hurtled back toward 22 degrees of brisk reality.
The plan was to nail down our resolutions on the drive. My husband drove so I wrote down his goals and aspirations as soon as he uttered them. When it was my turn, I stalled. Then I balked. Even with tweaks, it all sounded so familiar, so stale. Blah, blah, blah.
Last year, after we made our resolutions, I added a representational word for how I wanted my year to go. I chose Fearless.
As the miles sped by and we calculated how much longer it would take to get home – balanced of course by my ability NOT to make bathroom or eating stops, I continued to resist. Of course I want to be healthier. Of course I want to realize my dreams, get more organized, be happier.
Instead, I reflected on how being fearless last year helped me achieve my goals. I completed my screenwriting masters certificate by stepping out of my comfort zone and connecting with producers. I was offered a number of screenwriting assignments based upon my chosen specialty, female-driven thrillers.
Being fearless helped me when I turned sixty this past summer and realized I prefer to write stories that bring smiles, tears, and appreciation of love, instead of twisted revenge and sensationalism.
So, I did a 360 and turned my world upside down when I announced I wanted to write Family Adventures – specializing in the magic of Christmas. That’s as about as happy and rewarding as it gets.
As part of learning as much as I could about that genre, I watched and re-watched old and new movies; favorites, promising favorites, and those which turned out to be not-so-favorites.
Through the eyes of a regular moviegoer, and as a screenwriter, I logged detailed charts of pros and cons of many (many) Christmas movies I analyzed so I could share 25 honest reviews during my countdown to Christmas.
When I first told my husband I wanted to write happier scenarios, he smiled, and asked what took me so long? Because those are the kind of movies I watch over and over again. (To be honest, I confess that I can’t imagine not watching Tom Cruise in MI, or Daniel Craig as Bond; perhaps in the future one of them will choose to do a Christmas movie of mine.)
As the miles passed by and my husband pushed me to commit to my resolutions for 2016, I was consumed by one word:
It will cover all that I need this year. To finish my script(s), I have to focus. Which means making choices. To be healthy, I have to finish my workouts, commit to eating right. To get more organized, I have to finish putting things away in the right places – not get distracted or overwhelmed with too much paper. Simply finish. Take the steps to do what it takes to get it done. Capeesh?
I also realized that some f-words are not taboo, but quite fresh.
Here’s a few:
Faith. Forge. Fearless. Fun. Focus. Freedom. Forward. Finish.
I choose to focus on finishing and have faith that I will. Now, I’m free to look forward to the magic of what next Christmas will bring, and keep you updated along the way.
Happy New Year!