Is it too late for a new year’s post?


Each New Year’s Eve, I wonder what the coming year will bring that I cannot anticipate, which prompts me to look back at the previous year and note those things that surprised me. In 2022, for example, these are developments I could not have predicted on December 31, 2021:

I returned to the ice.

I began a new, fundamentally different relationship with my body after an episode of severe back pain.

We bought a project house in Louisiana.

These are all huge things for me, and my life is significantly different from a year ago because of each of them. I will also wonder, too, about what things will happen in the world. On January 5, 2020, I wrote these words, reflecting on the death of someone important to me:

“We are living through a frightening, unstable time. Robert and I viewed many things differently, but we agreed about this. His death–or, more importantly, his life and his beliefs and his many words to me–have me thinking hard about what work needs to be done in the face of all that is coming.”

Ha! “…in the face of all that is coming.” I had no idea what was going to be coming in the months that followed: pandemic, schools closing, protests, wildfires that gave my city–for a week or so–the worst air quality in the world, a presidential election in which the loser (we now know for sure) tried to overthrow the results and was largely responsible for ending our long streak of peaceful transfers of power.

What will the coming year bring? Who knows! After the past few, I have lost any illusions I once had about being in control of what happens. And honestly, I am glad I don’t know. I’d rather deal with the hard things as they come; knowing about last year’s ahead of time would not have allowed me to prevent or mitigate any of them. As for the events I’ve deemed “good,” this last year gave me such lovely, wonderful surprises, and a big part of my delight was the unexpectedness of them.

Perhaps because of the way so many things have felt out of my control in recent years (in ways both good and bad), I’ve abandoned anything that looks like a traditional resolution, and I don’t choose a word for the year, and I don’t really even set intentions. I like to think that new ways of being are something I can invite in at any time (which is why I’m publishing a new year’s post after everyone else has moved on from that topic), and I’m more interested in small shifts than grand undertakings. So, these are two small shifts I’m making this month:

1. PT and yoga: I began physical therapy in the fall, but I haven’t made good progress with it. Despite the fact that it should only take me minutes a day, I’ve had a terrible time making time for it. Yoga is also something I’ve been wanting to start. I’ve signed up for a 30 day yoga series through Yoga with Adriene (recommended by the pain management clinic I started working with in October). I am only a few days in, but I’ve been starting my days with PT and yoga. Maybe I needed more of a time commitment, so that it wouldn’t be so easy to tell myself I’d do it later in the day? I’m not sure how it will work when skating starts up again (classes weren’t in session over the holidays), but my goal is to do PT/yoga on any days I’m not skating. (I’m giving myself permission in advance not to be perfect in my practice. I think that’s got to be a key to sticking with new things.)

2. Reading: Last year my daughter introduced me to an app called StoryGraph. I signed up for it, recorded one book, and promptly forgot about it. I’ve never been a GoodReads person; StoryGraph appeals to me (maybe?) because it’s small. Or it’s small the way I plan to use it. I’ve signed up for the January Pages Challenge, using both the audiobook I’m currently listening to (The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois) and the print book I’m reading (The Winners). I want a way to track my reading, and I want some accountability for myself. I like the visuals of this platform. I don’t know why I’ve been having trouble sustaining my attention with print books, but I’d like to work on changing that. I know the best way is simply to read more. Right now, I’m just raising my awareness of how much I’m reading and why I sometimes don’t pick up a book. If this is something you use or are interested in using, let’s be reading buddies; my username is ritamarie.

That’s it. These are two things I hope I can turn into new routines in my life, regardless of what the year brings. Challenging my body and my mind, cultivating good mental and physical health. I’m still plugging away at food issues (planning, preparation, low-inflammation options, developing workable routines), household organization, figuring out skating goals, and thinking about writing goals, but I’m not starting anything new with any of those things. I can only cultivate so many new habits at once, and these two seem pretty compatible with winter, with its slower pace.

I would love to know what you’re anticipating in the coming year, how you establish new habits, or if you have any book recommendations. Or maybe just chime in on what you want to be in 2023:


Sending wishes that all your surprises in the coming year will be good ones.

This is me wearing my new skating halo, a gift from my daughter given with hopes of avoiding the bad surprise of a head injury.

12 thoughts on “Is it too late for a new year’s post?

  1. Kari says:

    First and foremost, I love that picture of you. In 2023, I hope there will be more pictures of you. That is something I intend to do for myself. Take more pictures of myself. I photograph my dog, my books, quotes, and memes, but never myself.

    I’d like to do yoga with Adrienne, but I have difficulty seeing the moves because I wear glasses. I believe I would benefit from an in-person class, but I am anxious to attend. So far, yoga has eluded me.

    I’ve never heard of Story Graph, but I’ll look it up after I leave my comment.

    That halo is a great idea. Head injuries are no joke. ❤️

    • Rita says:

      I took that picture to send to my daughter, to show her that I was wearing the halo. 🙂 I’ve resisted it because I don’t really like how it feels or looks, and I’ve only fallen twice in almost a year of skating, but you’re right: Head injuries are no joke. And weird falls can happen any time. I’ve got a scar on my chin from one that happened 45 years ago, when my foot just slipped out from under me and I landed on my face. I hope you do take more pictures of yourself and then share how to take them. I almost never like my selfies, and I think it’s because I haven’t learned how to take good ones.

      I am struggling a bit with being able to both see the video and do the yoga at the same time. I have some experience with yoga from classes in the past, and that helps because I know some of the vocabulary. I really want the videos to work because the inflexibility of gym class schedules killed it for me. I was just reading an article in the NYT about ways to get exercise that are part of fun activities, and it made me think of you and all the walking you do. I’d like to do more of that this year.

      Wishing you a good one. Onward and upward for both of us!

  2. Marian says:

    Happy new year, Rita. I love that photo of you too, and I second Kari’s (and your daughter’s) concern over head injuries. I’m thinking a visor-less hockey helmet must have been completely out of the question (our generation didn’t wear helmets for anything, did we?), but this has now got me wondering if young figure skaters do actually now wear head protection of some kind when they’re training, just as young hockey players do. As an aside, my husband is coming up on one year since he had a skating injury. He was skating on a pond with our youngest (both helmeted) when he hit a rough patch on the edge, twisted his leg, and broke his ankle. (Yikes.)

    On the yoga, I went through several months of doing daily Yoga with Adriene before I fizzled out for some reason I can’t remember. I did really enjoy most of her videos, and even if I couldn’t at times see the screen because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, I told myself it was ok not to do things exactly as she was doing. Lately (since September) I’ve been walking on our treadmill more mornings than not. Being in our basement on the treadmill isn’t something I love, but I do feel better once it’s done, and then I also record the minutes in my planner, which also gives me a small sense of accomplishment. This may be odd, but I find if I do something only one time, it quickly becomes a habit. (Maybe that’s because I’ve likely spent so much energy procrastinating and thinking about why I can’t/won’t do something, it’s actually easier to just keep doing it than it is to make up reasons for why I can’t?)

    On the reading: Last January I started (once again) recording the books I read in a notebook. I had done that for a long while when my kids were little, but for some reason fell out of the habit several years ago. I think that writing them down gives me a sense of accomplishment (like my recording my minutes on the treadmill), which is perhaps in a small way helping to keep me reading. I have noticed, though, that my reading time has been greatly reduced ever since my youngest got his driver’s license (this past summer). I used to always take a book with me when I’d pick him up from his after-school activities, but he now either takes the car those days or gets a ride from a friend. My daughter is on StoryGraph and suggested I join her on there, but so far I haven’t. If I do ever manage to do that, I’ll look you up. 🙂

    I’m not much for resolutions, but I do still always feel hope in January—even if it gets harder and harder each year. If I had to choose just one thing to be in 2023 from that positivelypresent graphic, it would be “thriving.”

    • Rita says:

      Hi Marian,
      I hope you thrive in the coming year, no matter what it throws at you.

      When I skated as a child, no one wore protective gear. Now, there are helmets and halos, and I see skaters with wrist and knee padding, as well as padded shorts (to protect your hips/bum). I am not trying anything too challenging, so I haven’t invested in any of that yet. I might, though. My goal is to skate for a long time, and at this age an injury could end the whole thing. I hope your husband’s ankle is recovered now.

      I think you are right about the benefits of making a record. I think that’s why I want to try StoryGraph. Every night I record the day’s reading, and it is satisfying, if a little frustrating because I don’t yet have the site navigation down and it’s not intuitive (for me, anyway). I wish I had your habit-forming ways. I require many more times than once for something to stick.

      • Kate says:

        Just jumping on this thread to say that in terms of protective gear, I am SO grateful for how normalized it’s become. It feels absolutely shocking when I see adults (or especially kids) on the ski hill without helmets. I just see more of it across all sports and I hope it continues.

        Hope your husband is healed, Marian!! Ouch!! (And my wish for you is that you thrive!!)

        • Rita says:

          Me too! I used to ski back when no one wore helmets, and now I see (from photos) that pretty much everyone does. I hope skating goes that way, but given how important visual presentation is to figure skating, I doubt it will be any time soon.

      • Marian says:

        Like Kate, I’m very glad to hear the sport of skating has adopted safety equipment. My husband’s ankle is mostly recovered. He still has some twinges, and it’s still larger in circumference than his other ankle, which might be due to the pins and plates (surgery was required), but he doubts he will ever skate again. (It’s not a hardship for him as he was never that into skating, but I guess that proves your point about the effect an injury can have.)

        On my habit-forming ways, it unfortunately goes in both directions. If—after a long spate of procrastination—once is enough to form a good habit, once is also often enough to form a bad habit. And I do have a few of those, which I’d dearly love to be able to un-stick myself from!

        Shining, Kate! This made me smile. I hope you *do* shine in 2023! 🙂

        • Rita says:

          Ankles! I did a number on one of mine a few years ago, tripping over a curb in the Ikea parking lot, of all things. It has never been the same; like your husband, it is now larger than my other ankle, and definitely not as strong. And mine wasn’t a break.

          I didn’t consider the shadow side of your habit-forming ways. 🙂 There’s always a light and dark side to everything, isn’t there?

  3. Kate says:

    I love the halo!! What a great gift!! (You know this already but you’ve got a good kid there!)

    Your two tweaks for the beginning of 2023 sound comforting and welcoming – mental, physical, and nothing too intense or prescriptive. I’m pretty sure that’s wisdom from all the surprise good and bad in the last few years and I’m here for it.

    I do have a word this year (delight) and the word that called to me from your infographic is shining. (Lizzo’s “if I’m shining everybody gonna shine” is running through my head.) This year, I’ve resolved to get settled back into our upstairs (when it’s finished), celebrate my wins (however small they are) and embrace my mistakes/messes with enthusiasm (and clean them up). I have some knitting, reading, health, home organization goals too but I like making goals just for goals making sake. Who knows what will stick and come to fruition?!!

    Happy New Year, Rita!!

    • Rita says:

      Happy new year, Kate! I love your words, and I hope the coming year is full of shiny delight for you. And I hope you’ll share all your goals in your own space. I love getting ideas from others, and you’re full of good ones. I also hope your upstairs is finished soon, and that the renovated space gives you all kinds of delight. 🙂

  4. Ally Bean says:

    You’re the second person who has mentioned doing the 30 day yoga series with Adriene. I loved yoga at one point, but it was always in person and now my teachers have all retired so I fell away from it. I’ll look into the series.

    As for my goals for 2023, that’s a tricky question. I am loathe to say anything specific because if I’ve learned one thing since 2020 it is that plans change, often, and usually because of situations outside your control. It seems like folly to even voice one goal. Perhaps I’m being too cynical…
    Ally Bean recently posted…Forget Resolutions, These Are My 2023 New Year’s RejectionsMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I don’t think that’s cynical at all. It’s very understandable to me. If it’s any comfort, I am already behind on my 30-day yoga challenge. Wednesday I did PT exercises, yoga, and skating, which was too much. The next day I had a migraine. I’m modifying so that I only do yoga on the days I don’t skate. And I might switch to a different series, one that’s yoga for beginners. I think this is why I’m thinking of these new habits/routines I hope to establish as intentions rather than goals or resolutions; they have soft edges, so that they can conform to whatever comes at me. I think my biggest takeaway from 2020 and beyond is that things will always be coming, and the more I set myself up to be able to adapt, the better off I’ll be. I do this much better in some areas of life than others. 🙂

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