IN 1999 I BEGAN a practice of spending the month of January working through Laura Tremaine’s 10 Questions for the End of the Year. At the time I bought a new Leuchtturm1917 Journal just for that purpose, and just as I’d hope, it gives me joy and insight to look back over those pages year to year, to consider what’s changed and what hasn’t, to give a good review of my hopes and dreams and joys as they’ve unfolded across time.
I pick and choose among Laura’s questions based simply on what calls to me at the time. But with these three I have become consistent, and each always bears beautiful fruit. I’m offering a few of my answers (my lists were far longer, of course) in hopes they spark thoughts of your own, and that you’re inspired to consider such a practice, and that you find joy in the listing and reviewing, just as I have.
Here we go!
- What will you remember most?
- 2019-seeing Conner walk; Hamilton; Lee Smith reading The Daily Grace
- 2020-the great fear; crying through online church; picking up Stella at Pawmetto Lifeline
- 2021-Eliza & Preston’s love-soaked wedding; there was a COVID vaccine; time with Aunt Nancy and Meg
- What are you proud of?
- 2019—I said yes (a lot); I survived the move; I had hard conversations
- 2020-I was intentional during lockdown; I did the hard work of re-writing The Story of Elizabeth Young; I launched cathyriggwriter.com
- 2021-I supported Eliza well; I was brave enough to go gray; I kept not giving up
- What worked well?
- 2019: writing first, and early; stepping forward from Enneagram 9-ness; short but daily yoga
- 2020: drinking tea; making things; Spotify playlists
- 2021: Ted Lasso and happy television; taking care of my skin; walking two miles most days
(May I also just say this? I love all of these questions, but the one I want to encourage the most is #2. I’m not anti-resolution—I love those, too—but they do tend to center our focus on what we perceive to be personal shortcomings. It’s so much more empowering to look over the year just passed and to note all you accomplished, the ways you showed up, the things you did or said that made a positive difference, either in your own quality of life or in the world around you, big or small. We are growing and evolving every day, no matter our age. How lovely it is to see the many shapes this takes, to make note of them, to honor and celebrate them. Some of these battles are hard-won, my friend!)
Oh! I also note in my journal my Top 10 Books and my Top 10 TV-Binges of the year, and that’s also a really fun record to keep.
Laura’s questions are all good ones, and you’ll find links to those by year, here:
In the next day or two I’ll share with you my complete list of What Worked in 2022, which is always a fun one! Until then—
30 Days of Joy