Heeeeey.

I’ll bet you’re surprised to see me here, aren’t you?

It’s been over half a year since the last time I logged into WordPress. It wasn’t a conscious decision to go on an extended writing hiatus; summer was busy and there was so much that I wanted to do that I hardly even opened my computer. Then I got to a point where I felt like I had to have a reason to come back – like I had to either fill everyone in on all the stuff that had been distracting me or offer up a really good story or essay to make up for the absence. But the more pressure I put on myself to write any of these things, the less I wanted to write anything at all.

But I did miss writing and eventually I realized that, like anything else worth doing, if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never start. So here I am.

Something I missed during the break was my annual New Years resolution post. I was talking to Candice during the holidays and she told me about her boss challenging her to define her goals for 2016 in only three words. I thought it was at interesting concept. After writing a series of three-word poems that didn’t at all take the exercise seriously (Set things aflame. Eat more cheese. Pet every dog.) I decided to take a legitimate crack at it. What were the three words that I wanted to define the next year of my life?

I settled on the following:

Money – duh. Surprising absolutely no one, moving across the country is expensive. What started as me assuming a bit of debt to help fund our move to Alberta turned into a slippery slope of relying too much on credit. Just as I finished digging myself out of student loan hell and everything. Sigh. 2016 will be the year I finish getting my financial affairs in order. I’ve been cleaning up my accounts, building budgets and crunching numbers and, if I stick to the plan, I will be completely debt free within half a year while also being able to squirrel a bit of money away at the same time.

Learn – I came back from Maui this past December with a beautiful new ukulele. I’ve never been especially gifted when it comes to musical instruments but I’ve been diligently plucking away (pun totally intended) at it and I’ve become somewhat addicted to the feeling of learning to play. If you think about it, learning to do something new literally makes you a different person, and it feels so great to see your hard work manifest itself into a new skill set. There are so many things I’d like to learn how to do this year: knit, backcountry camp, rock climb (get better at playing ukulele). I don’t want to shy away from a single chance to learn something new!

Express – In the last few months I started to get back into art. As a child and teenager I was always drawing. Then, during the busy years of establishing my career post-university I just kind of… Stopped. I had forgotten how good it feels to have an outlet and a means of expressing myself. Art, music, writing – I want to get back to all of them as means of expressing the things I’m feeling or that interest me, whether it’s with others or just myself.

It might be a pretty vanilla list, but I’m feeling pretty good about my three words. These are more than just goals; they’re guidelines for making the most of the months ahead that should help establish some good habits for life. And even if they’re all things I would have absentmindedly pursued anyway, I want to be more purposeful in my pursuits from now on. I want to focus on the fact that I’m actively doing good things for myself.

I think this is probably a good place to wrap this post up. What I was thinking was going to be a challenging thing to get back into has evidently taken on a life of its own because this post is significantly longer than I was expecting it to be. If you’re still here, I salute you!

P.S. if you had to sum up what you want your year ahead to look like in three words, which ones would you choose? Leave them in the comments – I want to know!