How Do You Ring in a New Year?

pastel-new-year-1435613-2-mPastel New Year 2 via Billy Alexander

My mother always says the way you ring out the old year is how you’ll spend the new. When I was younger, there was no sense of relevance to her words.  New Year’s Eve success meant you were out with at least one other person, paying cover charges to enter night clubs and enjoying price gouging restaurant meal packages.  Sometimes it would be a night of socializing and fun.  Other times it would spiral down to end-of-the-year drama, arguments or tears.  Back then, New Year’s Eve failure was being at home.  That’s right—all or nothing with no middle ground.

Now I’m more mindful of the energy around me as I ring out each year.  Celebrating is more than noise in a room and random revelry on a dance floor.  My take on her wisdom is to count the spirit of anything you do on December 31 and the immediate days following.  It is doing something totally different for you…it can be large or small.  Making that move alerts the universe that you are ready to dance to a different beat in the upcoming year.

My Simple Starts:

Keeping in Touch – Do you have friends that you think about often, but haven’t caught up with in a while?  No time like the turn of a new year to send them a note or put in a call.  I sent out a few e-mails yesterday as a means of checking in.  I have a few more cards to send, notes to write, calls to make and lunches/coffee chats to set up.  I’m making a goal to have consistent touch bases at least once a month this year so the dust bunnies aren’t able to settle in.

Positive Energy for Others – I had lunch with a dear family friend.  This friend moves into the New Year with a surgery looming.  In the battle of cancer, she’s fighting a third visit and an air of raw fear hovers over our hearts.  There were things she said.  Things she didn’t say.  If you have a spare moment, send up thoughts of comfort, peace and health for her.

Mindful Spending – Following lunch, my mother and I rambled our way over to Target to make an exchange, pick up some cordless phones that she needs and price check some items we’d purchased before Christmas.  Leaving Target, we agreed to roll to a new super Walmart down the street to check pricing as well (including for the phones we just picked up) and buy some grocery items (Target had a few, but they were pricey).

I’ll admit to having an instant agitation I feel when walking through the Walmart doors.  Maybe it is the garish lighting.  Maybe it is the layout.  Maybe it is the temperament of some of the staff and other shoppers I’ve encountered.  Yet, I make myself go in because I can’t deny the significant savings on certain items and these are savings of dollars not just cents off on individual items from what grocery and drug store chains provide.  And that’s cash to go in my gas tank.

Active WritingJeff Goin’s has launched a 31 day challenge for writing.  The rules are simple: write 500 words each day in January.  They can be blog posts or a specific writing project you are working on (book, short story, essay), but e-mails, tweets and the like don’t count.  If you are a writer, you write.  The words build upon each other until each project is done.  Then you write some more.

I’m doing this challenge for discipline.  Oh, I’m a goal-oriented gal and can make plans and get stuff done.  I’m also a realist and get that out of sight or kicked off schedule for me can equal staying off schedule, having plans pile up and then goals forgotten.  I just dug out my 2013 goals list and the properties say it was created on January 1 and last modified on January 27.  The good news is from writing down the goals and plans to achieve them, I organically did hit some.  The bad news is I let life get in the way and I didn’t check back in with the list in any consistent manner to catch what had fallen.

There’s Always Time for Dancing – Once home last night, I surfed the cable guide to see what the best network shows would be to see the Times Square ball drop.  My eyes locked onto the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Special being shown on VH1 and I sang along and boogied for an hour.  That’s a concert that never gets old.  I settled on watching Carson Daly chat about all things music and pop culture and then caught replays of Beyonce and Mariah’s Vegas concerts and danced into the early morning.

What are you doing to ring in 2014?  Are you a resolutions maker?  What would you like to approach differently this year?

Posted in Thoughts on Life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Artistic Lessons for Us Courtesy of the MTV VMAs

mtv_vma_awards_2013_650To some, the annual Video Music Awards are of a past era–one where the thrill of seeing cutting edge artists like Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna is long over.  I’ve watched the awards each year and wished for many of those hours spent back.  However, each year, there are a few standout performances and some definite lessons to pull away.

Find the Platform that Works for You

Danity Kane is reuniting.  How do I know this?  They show up at the VMAs and get a plug in for themselves on the red carpet.  For the people who remember them from Season Three of Diddy’s Making the Band (a hit MTV show) and their songs, perfect product placement.  They are where their fans could find them and, from this, they may also grab a few new followers.

Inspired by the RWA kick, I’ve made some design changes to my blog and am (finally) creating an author Facebook page.  The blog has given me a great way to interact, meet others, do some cool guest posts and share a peek into who I am.  That’s a platform that works for me.  I haven’t gotten my arms around Google + so I’m not spending a lot of time there yet.

Know What Your Fans Like and Deliver It

Lady Gaga has been off the radar since having to cut her Born This Way tour short and heal a broken hip.  Her fans like different.  Her fans like artistic creation.  Her fans like authentic vision.  Gaga gives them that and more leading off the show with Applause.  She brings several costume changes while still singing and quirky dance moves.

Some Things Aren’t a Good Blend

Miley Cyrus attempting to twerk (dance), surrounded by teddy bears, then sing didn’t work.  She puts her face into the butt of a background dancer (yes, you read that right) and does desperate moves in a bear-themed leotard.  Next Robin Thicke enters and she strips to her underwear, dons a stadium hand sign, then butchers his hit, Blurred Lines, while fingering herself.  Millions of us can’t get that vision out of our heads.

If You Have Talent, Show It

Award shows have become notorious for being lip sync central, in part because we now have many pseudo-singers, driven by their looks, roaming the industry.  Out of that crop, there are some true vocalists.  We hear Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars (and a few others) sing live.  Ariana, as a newbie, is most impressive because she bails on the heavy dance moves and stands still more to be able to sing the song’s runs and high notes.

For me, showing my talent that means creating a page highlighting other places where my writing has appeared.  It means editing some short stories that I’ll be submitting to contests and an anthology in a few weeks.  It means writing the novel I need to write.

Celebrate Your Past Successes

The Jimmy Fallon named “President of Pop,” Justin Timberlake, reunites onstage with ‘N Sync.  While he might not be looking to go on tour or cut an album with the guys, he’s not hiding from his boy band background.  He’s a child star success story and has mastered bringing along old fans and making new ones.  I bob my head along to Girlfriend as well as some of his remixed solo hits.  And I laugh as they all remind me of the extra talent–dancing–that they still have over the boy bands of today.

What are you doing to highlight your talents? 

How about your past success? 

Any bad blends (like bloody zombies in a cozy) that you wish to share?

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments