new_year_cards_happy_new_year_2015Dear 2015,

You come at me all clean and shiny, a blank page for me to write on. You should know this – I am left-handed and I smudge everything. Everything.

And yet, here we are. I turned 50 last week, you know.  Fifty. That means I’ve faced 50 clean and shiny blank pages and made it through every one of them. Every single one. That’s why I’m not afraid, and I’m quite excited.

I realize the hipsters aren’t writing resolutions anymore. I don’t know if what I do is resolution-writing or just reflecting on some themes of the year. Occasionally, I’ll set an actual goal. I remember in 2009, I decided I wold make my bed all year, and I did. Just last year, in 2014, I chose to make it a year of finding ways to give back to the community and I joined the board of a local non-profit with a mission in which I believe.

So, what of 2015? Well, I don’t want to give away all of my secrets, but there are a couple of big things I have in my mind as goals.  And then there are some themes more about how I will “be” in 2015. How I might want to calibrate the essence of me and the way that I exist in this world, interact with people.  That’s what this post is about. I might smudge it. In fact, I probably will. But here is what I aim to do.

I will apologize less.

I do care, of course. I never want to offend or hurt anyone. But I think in the past I’ve worried about bothering people too much. I will worry less and apologize less for bothering people.  I won’t apologize for my political beliefs or my weight issues or my lack-of-religion. I won’t apologize for making different choices than you or someone else. I won’t apologize because you don’t like what I did or didn’t do.

I will apologize when I am sorry about something or when I’ve done something hurtful to someone I care about. In that case, I may apologize for causing the hurt even though I won’t change my decision about what I have done or am doing.  Because sometimes what is the right decision for me may cause some hurt to someone else, even someone I love. I can promise you I will think long and hard before causing that hurt, but there are times where I will still move forward and make a choice that may cause hurt, and I will feel sorry about the hurt but not about the choice.

In 2015, I will not care so much about my job.  The stress of the job is taking a huge toll on me, and I have to draw my line and guard my boundaries.  It’s a job.  Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s a good job and I’m grateful to have it. I’m grateful for the living it provides to my family. I am grateful for the opportunities it has given me to learn and grow professionally.

But… I will not sell out my health to it, nor my sanity. I will guard those boundaries like a well-trained pit bull.

This is hard for me, y’all. I take great pride in the quality of my work. By taking care of my work-life balance, it will, by necessity, require that I let more things slip at work. Companies today are all “Do more with less!” and so we have had our people numbers diminished year over year with the expectations and responsibilities rising and I cannot let it encroach any further.

While letting things slip poses a risk of my performance measurement also slipping, that’s not even the main thing that bothers me. It’s the loss of reputation. I have built my work reputation over many years of solid performance. I am a get-things-done person and I take pride in that.  For the past couple years, I’ve continued to try to uphold that even with higher expectations and reduced resources. That isn’t sustainable. So standing this wall, guarding this boundary, means I am choosing to let my performance and reputation slip.  Hold me, I’m scared.

Perhaps those two things seem arrogant to some.  I won’t apologize. (See?? I’m starting already!)

I’ve turned off comments on my blog, so I can’t ask you what your goals or resolutions are for 2015. Not here, anyway.  I turned off comments months ago. Too much spam coming in. Too much worry in my head about not getting comments. It’s part of simplifying. It’s part of writing mostly for me regardless of what others think or don’t think.

So, 2015.  Bring it. I’m ready.