New Year, New Habits

The new year arrived with a bang in Colorado. New Year’s Eve brought the first snowstorm of the season, and frigid temperatures came along for the ride—the day after the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. We drove to Estes Park, up the canyon, in the storm. We followed the line of traffic and what should have been an hour’s drive turned into a two-and-a-half-hour mosey along the Big Thompson River. Thankfully, drivers were mindful of the awful conditions because no one seemed to be in that much of a hurry to get to their destinations. The drive back down the canyon on Sunday was pleasant by comparison.

First Reader and I spent the end of 2020 and 2021 recovering mentally and emotionally from losing our home. Even though we are still working on getting a new home built, we remain optimistic. Now that the initial shock of our loss has worn off, we’re planning our comeback on the mountain. Right now, we are waiting for our building plans, and as soon as those hit my mailbox, our recovery will inch forward one more time.

My mind has been restless lately. With the new year, I decided it was time for a change. Instead of posting one day of recovery updates and six days of quotes, I will showcase what’s keeping me busy at least once a week. Beginning today. I’ve been dabbling with artwork for several years and recently discovered oil pastels. As the year progresses, I’m sure I’ll find more topics to share.

(C) 2021, JJ Shaun
First drawing using oil pastels.

Not only that, one of my gaming friends has started a pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons game that has me writing my character’s story. A small group of us started playing at the end of June last year, and we are having a blast. We have a remote set up as three of the four of us are on the East Coast. It’s working well and has definitely helped the rest of the entourage that lives in my head peek out the door of my depression.

I have been poking around a writing site that I joined six or eight years ago. When I was active in the past, I was able to find a ton of site competitions and prompts to help improve different aspects of my writing. The site also offers reviews and critiques from writers in the various stages of their careers. I’ve spent this week poking around the site and reading through the weekly newsletters trying to glean as much information as possible to improve my craft.

This year’s task will be to focus on my writing and get back on track with my retirement goals. Welcome to the ride.

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