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Michiana Chronicles writers bring portraits of our life and times to the 88.1 WVPE airwaves every Friday at 7:45 am during Morning Edition and over the noon hour at 12:30 pm during Here and Now. Michiana Chronicles was first broadcast in October 2001. Contact the writers through their individual e-mails and thanks for listening!

18 for 2018

Heather Curlee-Novak

So…we have this shiny new year.  We are only a little bit into this 2018 and we hold our breath against the anguishes we knew in 2017.  We pray and we hope and we cast spells or throw dishes or journal until there are no pages left.  Good people we know die.  Others experience pain so rocking and deep we cannot even.  We do not know what to say, or do or…we sit like Job’s friends around them in silence, just being there. Or we avoid them.  Sometimes we wish we could avoid ourselves.  We make mistakes and try to improve our lives and ourselves and here we are again in the daily struggle and challenge and bittersweet of life.

So we have this shiny new year and we are desperate for it to be better.  We want to be better.  Resolutions?  New Year’s Resolutions?  They can fall flat by mid March.  Some of us are old enough that we know ourselves well enough to skip that old saw.  At least this year.  This year matters!  For those of us who are the list makers, the do-ers, the ones who used to enjoy a good resolution or two—I have something interesting to share.

That Gretchen Rubin author I mentioned before, on her “Happier Podcast” she mentioned “18 for 2018” in several episodes.  It was a listener idea about making a bucket list for the year.  It has normal, personal resolution-y goals like lose weight, but more measurable like “loose 10 pounds and weigh ‘x’ amount”.   The “18 for 2018 List” contained long term goals of personal improvement  (like quest for and land a more satisfying job), but also things we just want to do that make us happier.  It was a combination of 18 items that would make you happier in the next twelve months, from small to huge. 

I started jotting things down for myself in my Passion Planner like “take a random road trip” and “use old time swear words instead of cussing so very much you work in a church for crying out loud.”.  I added to the list and felt so inspired I have my ‘18 for 2018’ AND a bunch of alternates.  I have already crossed a few off: 13) ‘Get a museum membership’ and 16) ‘purge old cosmetics’.  I’ve started on ‘lose 5, 10, 20 etc. pounds’ by joining Weight Watchers and going to the YMCA a few times each week.  I’ve seen 4 of  14)“Watch all 26 Marilyn Monroe  Movies”. 

My husband who is neither a resolution maker nor a journal-er joined me making a list of his own.  Our friends have put pen to paper and compiled their lists with lovely action items and thoughts.  We are becoming more intentional about our time.  We want to be present, mindful, satisfied in the smallest parts of our days.  We are sharing our lists and connecting more deeply with each other as we name and share what matters to us; 9) Plan a girl’s weekend and 12) read two poetry books and 1) Learn how to do a headstand. 

Other people’s items are inspiration for more of my own: Host a high tea.  Celebrate Galentine’s Day.  Help my child succeed in their hobby.  Attend live sporting events.  Volunteer monthly doing I.T. or greeting or filing or being a tutor.  Run a 5k.  If this list idea interests you, what would be on your list?  The act of naming a thing can be powerful for our minds.  Creating our lists and posting them visibly can steal back time from the little foxes nibbling away at our hours and days.

It is easy to believe that deeper joy and better lives lie in buying newer things, in being thinner or having that corner office.  The truth is whatever we already have becomes old and doesn’t satisfy us for long.  Being intentional with our days and weeks and years can help us be happier with more life in our life.  We are not guaranteed time here.  Even this simple moment together is a gift.  What will you do with this shiny new year?

Music: "1234" by Feist

Heather Novak's professional history includes sales and customer service training and troubleshooting for businesses, but she loves motivational speaking best. Heather leads church events for youth, singles and women, has spoken for Chicago Apartment Association and many organizations throughout Indiana. Nowadays Heather is just another stay at home wild mama trying to loose some weight, keep some sanity and enjoy her life. She is being raised by two little girls named Portia and Libby and is indulged by a guy named John who was gracious enough to marry her. Heather blogs about F Words: Feisty Faith, Fumbling Family, Fairly Healthy Food, Failed Fashion and Fabulous Friendships. You can find her at
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