Sometimes, to me, it feels like the liminal space between Christmas and New Year’s can feel like an eternity. Like we’ll be forever in the rut between the excitement and chaos of holiday celebration and the anticipation of the new year and the real return to normalcy. I’m in that gray area now, hovering suspended between diving back into work and the new year brimming with good intentions and the deactivated brain state I turned on with the first real party of Christmas weekend. I’ve slowly been dragging myself back into answering emails and thinking about what responsibilities I have come spring…but I can’t quite make myself believe that I have to do it yet. That’s for after New Year’s.

And yet here I am anyway, trying to make myself scheme away for 2019. It’s going to be a big hard year, I know it. Change is coming: I have writing to do, research to present, an MFA program to graduate, a job to get, a move to make. Like I said, it’s going to be a big, hard year. I can do it, I know. I feel surer than ever that I’m heading towards my own true north, taking steps confidently in the direction of my dreams. But it isn’t easy, always, and it requires effort I don’t always feel like giving. Especially now, especially in the liminal state.

So instead I’ll think about 2018, and all that it held for me, before I set my sights on the year ahead. In numbers, this is what 2018 looked like: 150 pages of essays and thoughts, 38 blog posts, 10 newsletters, 70 books read (roughly 24,052 pages), 3,400 photos, 2 bad hangovers, 7 parties, 4 first dates, 2 new friends, 1 new state, 3 big hunting trips, and 1 buck.

But you know me. I’ve never been a numbers person. So instead let me say it this way: I spent way more time laughing than crying, usually with my sisters. I held my friends and family close, made memories with them I’ll treasure forever. I wrote a lot, all the time, all kinds of stuff. I wrote essays, I wrote the draft of my first book, I dabbled in science fiction and fantasy, I wrote poems, I wrote letters, I wrote in my journal. I made writing my practice, and I learned to love it like I never have before. I went on trips, I discovered new places in my own sweet home state. I learned to be gentle with myself, with how hard I’m trying. I treasured my dog, my sweet boy. I worked the soil in my garden. I let myself dream and dream and dream. I opened up my heart and said why not? I got closer to becoming who I want to be, who I know I will be.

So it was a good year. And 2019—it will be a good year too. I’m choosing ACT as the word that will guide me, that will gently nudge me into making hard choices. No drifting for this small boat, no reliance on the tide. I’ve got a destination in mind and I’m fighting for it. So here’s to breaking out of the in-between and starting 2019 with big ideas for our clean slates. I’m looking forward to it.