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January is when we realize that the bills, the deadlines, and other unpleasantness we put aside for the holidays are still waiting. They didn’t disappear when we turned the last page of our 2012 calendars and entered the new year.

The color palette outside makes me realize that as much as I admire those clean-looking, all white interiors in design books, I could never, ever live in one. Even a pink-ish sky at sunset looks cold and lonely.

Cold Pink

There’s nothing like January, with its anemic sky, dirty snow, and “clean slate” reputation to make you take stock and focus. In fact, focus is one of my key words for 2013. I’ve never been one to write down New Year’s resolutions, so this is a first.

It’s time to rein in my dilettante tendencies, stop dabbling, stay off the internet, avoid the TV, and write more, read more, listen to more music, and do all of it with the intensity I had as a girl. Back then, my mom amused herself by saying nonsensical things to me while I was reading, just to see how long it would take to pull me back from wherever the book had sent me. In fact, it took several minutes before her voice would penetrate my fictional world and I’d look up, blinking as though awakening from a deep sleep.

These days, my eyes are on the book, but my brain is elsewhere — worrying about friends, thinking about the laundry, or anxiously tallying the balance in our bank account.

Gone too are the days when I would lie on my bed for hours listening to music, so fully caught up in its emotion that the world outside my bedroom walls ceased to exist.

Sometimes, often, writing pulls me into the “zone” where I am so engaged with the words that I forget about time, that loaf of bread I’d meant to start, or my loved one’s need for civilized conversation.

I want to transfer that intensity into other domains: to do more, feel more, know more. But I can’t do any of that without fully committing to the task at hand.


There are other words on my 2013 list as well, but first I’m going to concentrate on focus. The white days of January seem like a good time to start.

What about you? What are your words for 2013?