Ah, January, when everybody makes a pile of resolutions. Resolutions are fun, shiny, they live comfortably in the future so you aren’t responsible for them today. But does nobody think of the past? In lieu of resolutions, here are 10 things I’m glad I did.

  1. I’m glad I’ve visited most of the lighthouses up and down the Oregon and Washington coast. Lighthouses are fascinating pieces of history, and if The Big One hits Cascadia tomorrow, I will not weep for my missed chance to see the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast or the lighthouse on Dungeness Spit.
  2. In the same vein, I’m glad I got to explore Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands. We might return to visit again, but if we don’t, I have crossed that off my bucket list with a vengeance; after a decade my boots have been pretty much everywhere over there.
  3. I’m glad we lived on Bainbridge Island. Ultimately we moved to buy a house elsewhere, but it was a fabulous place to live and I’m not sure I would ever have been a regular visitor to the Bloedel Reserve if we hadn’t. So I wouldn’t know about the holiday dollhouse display. If you live anywhere near Bloedel, you should visit.
  4. I’m glad we renovated a vintage camper. We learned a lot that will be valuable if we ever want to do that again, or will just come in handy when buying/maintaining our next camper. Vintage campers are an experience and buying ours opened up a whole new world.
  5. I’m glad I learned how to garden, starting by helping my parents with theirs growing up and accelerating when my mom gave me my own plot and freedom to plant WHATEVER I WANTED. I have been going crazy with seed catalogs ever since. If you have never grown a tomato you might not even know how many varieties exist or how different they look and taste. Thanks Mom!
  6. I’m glad I learned how to cook. Not only are restaurants expensive, if you have children in tow everything takes too long, and also there is always the risk of allergy problems. But aside from saving time, money and being good for health, cooking is art and science and excellent hands-on creative fun for everybody. I’m glad my kids are now big enough to cook with me.
  7. I’m glad I learned to swim, skate, ski, bike, hike, row, run, kickbox, dance, and have always kept moving. Exercise is easier to keep part of your life when it’s something you enjoy and enjoying lots of things makes it easier to keep doing at least some of them over time. Downhill skiing is now too much for my knees, but there is cross country. And when that’s too much, there will still be swimming. And so on.
  8. I’m glad I took art lessons. I’d always wanted to do it and one day I realized I had time and money and why not? So I did it. Not just once. I took lessons from 3 different teachers, including one workshop that turned out to be full of painters who’d had juried shows and it was interesting to be the lone writer in the room. But art is expansive and so is learning something new.
  9. I’m glad I have been to Hawaii. It’s like no place else.
  10. I’m glad I wrote and published a crapton of books. If I die tomorrow, my regret will be that I didn’t manage to write and publish 100 of them like Isaac Asimov, but I won’t have to regret that I didn’t write or publish any.

For 2016, I resolve to do more of what I’m glad to have done in the past, which pretty much boils down to continually learning and trying new things and continuing to do the things I enjoy, and writing and publishing more books. I know 2015 was the Year of Mindfulness for a lot of people. It turns out I am not very enlightened. Mindfulness makes my eyes glaze over. But artfulness I can get behind. Taking a creative approach to living and committing art whenever possible, whether that art is movement or music or a garden or dinner or a book, I would like to live more artfully in 2016.