Preparing for 2023
by Susie Slanina
January 3, 2023
“I always listen to what I can leave out.” Miles Davis
It’s nearly Winter Solstice and, for me, a good time to put this Miles Davis quote into practice.
There’s so much going on this time of year. I see it as a time to step back from the noise and chaos, a sort of little retreat. A time to be reflective and look back on the past year which is coming to a close, all the while anticipating and wondering about the new year ahead.
Living in an area that has all four seasons, I try to appreciate each individual one. In the winter season, it’s meaningful for me to embrace the darkness, the low angle of sunlight, and be still–like nature. Having lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles for many years, I’m grateful for the contrasts of color and mood each season brings.
I recently received a date book for 2023 full of enticing blank pages. It’s pretty–blue with gold stars. Instead of using a computer, I like the tactile feel of the pages. Unlike a digital calendar, I look forward to writing in it, logging the day, and any stray thoughts.
Last year, when I wrote a year end blog, I was looking forward to seeing the images from the James Webb telescope. Wow, those images came out in 2022 and they have been magnificent and inspiring. Way beyond what I expected they would be! (Check out the header image, Pillars of Creation, and more with descriptions and videos at the James Webb Space Telescope site.)
And, even better! Towards the end of this year, we got the thrilling news of Nuclear Fusion. A dream come true–clean energy at last! It probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but I feel a deep sense of peace about it. I now daydream about future generations of people and animals experiencing the benefits of having pristine air to breathe. It’s heartening to imagine our planet being restored to its former beauty.
I’ve spent countless hours feeling apprehension about the effects of climate change. In the last few years, I’ve learned from reading Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle that this kind of thinking is ineffective and futile. Thankfully, I’m relieved to say, I don’t do it much anymore. The trick is to try to catch yourself before you start dwelling. And now, since this new discovery, I’ve (mostly) been able to banish away doomsday thoughts, and instead focus on a brighter future for all sentient beings.
(I do wish some billionaires would throw money at this venture instead of flying themselves up to space.)
In the meantime, there’s a quote from Eckart Tolle that has helped me: “Worry pretends to be necessary, but serves no useful purpose.”
This time of year, it’s almost universal to wish for Peace On Earth. This year, even more so with the horrific war in Ukraine. There’s been many unspeakable acts, but there was an image I can’t shake. It’s not graphic or anything, it was simply a man attempting to evacuate during heavy shelling. He tried to coax his dog to follow, but the dog would take a few steps and then wouldn’t/couldn’t budge–he was so terrified of the sound.
(On a much smaller scale, I witnessed the same kind of canine reaction when a firecracker goes off near the local dog park around the Fourth of July. My sensitive dog, Fuzzy, would be so happy to be there–joyfully bounding through the gate–then BAM. Fuzzy would cower in fright and we’d have to leave the park.)
The week before the war started, my partner, Alan–who is an excellent cook–made a dish called Plov as a sign of respect and hope that there wouldn’t be a war, although the lineup of tanks told a different tale. Alan’s friend, who is from Ukraine, told him that his family traditionally cooked Plov in their backyards in huge ovens over open flames. I hope this way of life comes back to Ukrainians soon. Plov is delicious–it has the surprise flavor of garbanzo beans and you can squeeze the garlic over the rice pilaf. There’s plenty of recipes and variations of Plov on the Internet.
Goals for 2023:
Two things I hope to accomplish in the next year:
- Write a new Metro book. Windtree Press published a wonderful mystery/thriller anthology this year. I participated in two of their previous anthologies, but this time, I couldn’t–it wasn’t my genre and I have a theory: people who write mysteries must be good at math to master mystery plotlines. I wonder if this is true. As I’ve said before, math is not my thing!
- Spend even more time with my pups, Sugar and Curry. I want to take them on doggy adventures, and try my best to emulate the way they enjoy life: No worries!
Thanks for the advice, good doggies.
Susie Slanina lives in Vancouver, Washington. After graduating from California State University, Los Angeles, she went to school in Ireland to study the Montessori approach to educating children. She worked 24 years at CSLA and retired at age 50 to spend more time with her dogs in a cabin in Big Bear. She had been retired for eight years when a poem she wrote about a spider became the catalyst for the Metro book series. She used to enjoy traveling, but discovered that hanging out with her dogs is better than seeing the wonders of the world.