Don’t let Blahuary and Blechruary get you down!

Wow, February 8th already. Where does time go? I hope your plans for the new year are rolling along nicely—and if they’re not, it’s not too late to get back on track. It’s never too late, in fact!

A picture of a very snowy yard.I’ve spent much of the month snowed in, literally and figuratively (Check out the picture of my view from my front door—and we’ve had more snow since then!), which always gives me lots of extra thinking time.

In the middle of January last year, someone close to me shared that it was Blue Monday. The term was unfamiliar to me at first. Apparently it’s a name given to a day in January (often, but not always, the third Monday of the month) that’s widely considered the most depressing day of the year because of a combination of “weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.” (Thanks, Wikopedia. What would I do without you?)

The term resonated with me because the long dark months after Christmas can be tough for me too. It’s funny though, how knowing something is a “thing”—that others are affected similarly—can make it easier to bear. I’m not a wimp or an ungrateful jerk . . . it’s just a seasonal glitch.

Being kinder to myself makes low emotions easier to manage, but another good boost (and reminder) came from an unexpected place, a back issue (May/Jun/Jul 2016, to be exact) of my favorite magazine, Where Women Create

In her wonderful editorial column, From My Kitchen Table, Editor-in-Chief Jo Packham reflects on the passage of time, contemplates her life, and describes herself thus:

“I am 65 this year, and I am having an identity crisis—please do not try to talk me out of it or off the ledge that I seem to be looking over. It is my reality and I am not the only one facing it, who has faced it, or will someday face it. Being 65 is humbling, terrifying, something worth celebrating, nostalgic, lonely . . . a list of adjectives that goes on ad infinitum. But think about it: you can use those same adjectives regardless of what age you turn this year.”

Those adjectives really do apply to every age, and although I’m twenty years younger than Jo, the whole article resonated with me deeply. Her insight and descriptions of the ages and stages of life—“mid-20s, 30-somethings, 40-and-counting, 50-and-wishing, 60-and-panicked, 70-and-reflective, 80-and-byond”—struck me as so . . . accurate.

What I took with me from the read (now these are my thoughts, not hers exactly) is that we are all dying. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.

And conversely:

We are all living. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.

(See what I did there? No matter what our perspective on mortality is, how far it seems or close it looms, we should be living fully now.)

To heck with “blue” Monday. Each day is new. Each day. We will all (I’m so sorry to say) go through bitterly hard times, but hopefully we’ll find the strength to persevere when perseverance is needed and the bravery to start anew when quitting or ending something is needed or inevitable.

We will have regrets, even in the future, regardless of how much we decide here and now to live without them. The trick is to not let them hold us back or keep us down. Make amends and apologize when needed (and it will be needed), but remember: Each day is new. We are dying. We are alive!

I wish you so much joy and energy this year—and fun, too. May you embrace life at whatever stage you find yourself and regardless of our ages, may it be true for all us: the best years are still to come.

Find activities that bring you pleasure or contentment and do them. Cherish the people you love and who bring you happiness and spend your time with them.

Warmest regards always,

Ev

P.S. Just like years have seasons, I tend to have personal themes and ideas that I revisit in my thinking and my writing. A variation on my thoughts today was originally published in the Terrace Standard, January 25, 2017 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” Thanks for reading!

Photo of Wedding Bands novel by Ev Bishop, a mug of tea, and a cozy fire

Don’t let Blechruary get you down! Bundle up and stay cozy . . . ahhhhhhh. 🙂

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.

To goal set or not to goal set . . . It’s not even a question!

I used to always stay up extra late on New Year’s Eve, past the time all the celebrations ended, to light some candles, have a cup of tea, and journal about anything I was happy, sad, angry about in the past year, write out my hopes for the new year, and generate a huge list of resolutions.

In recent years, the timing changed, becoming a few stolen hours on the first or second of the month. The journaling remained, but the huge list of resolutions morphed into a sheet of more specific goals, with tangible steps on how to attain those goals.

This year, I spent the first week of January reflecting and planning for 2018—and I’m not done yet. I’ve created an official goal document (LOL—but totally not joking!) with five separate goal categories, but my year-at-a-glance calendar needs filled out and I plan to start utilizing a handy dandy little app (or so it appears on first glace) called Perfect Day (but spelled as Perfct Day).

I realize how much attention I put into goal setting might make me sound a little OCD, but I find time spent looking back, considering the present, and contemplating the future very helpful. Sometimes it’s a little bittersweet, but mostly I find a lot of joy and rekindled ambition and motivation. I tend to be someone who beats myself up for never doing enough. Taking stock of accomplishments and met goals helps me shut the mean voices up.

So what about you? Do you create a map to help you make it to your goals, or are you more of a seat-of-your pants life traveler?

Whatever your approach, I hope 2018 is full of new (fun!) challenges, met goals and happy surprises. (No matter how much of a planner you are, we all need nice surprises once in a while.) And, of course, I wish you tons of cozy reads and life-affirming, thought-provoking, page-turning stories!

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.