I choose the word “perseverance” as my guiding light for 2022 because I’m so bad at it. I start so many projects and leave them orphaned on the living room floor, on my desk, in a closet or knitting basket. Yes, even I am surprised to recall that I used to knit.

         At the beginning of January, I took time to outline my focal points for 2022. I came up with seven. Seven is too many. In my former life, I was challenged to write 3-5 annual goals and it was likely I’d only be able to accomplish three. Let’s see if I can condense things down.

         First – God, Family and Friends. This is where I orbit closest to the sun, or the Son if I want to be Christian-cute, but I don’t. Recently, I’ve been investing time in understanding Judaism and God is God is God without the complication of a Trinity. That trio is still a big part of my belief system but I’m stretching. Seeking to understand helps me to accept others and my own far-fetched forays into mystery. Trust that some days I fail in the most fantastic ways. I forget to pray. I hurt someone with an unkind word. I text instead of call or visit. But this year, I want to remind myself to persevere, reach out again, and list two things I am grateful for at the end of each day, mentally or in writing, and say thank you.

         Second – Be Healthy. On my list, the subtext is “get and stay in shape.” As I write, it’s 3:41 a.m. I just poured my first cup of coffee, drank a glass of water, ate one-half of a banana and one Nabisco Fig Newton. Now, I need to track these food items on my WW App. The program name has been shortened, but just like AA, we all know what it means.

         I’ve been recovering from a head cold or Covid. My home PCR test was negative but my brother says I did it wrong. I did swab the correct orifice counter to what he and others have suggested. So, I won’t go swimming but I need to walk at least one mile. And maybe, I can build this aging body up one more time to complete a sprint triathlon in September. Not sure about this goal, but if I don’t write it down and register for the event, I have no accountability. At the end of the year, the only performance review is my own. I am not a gentle supervisor.

         Third – Write. Enough said.

         Fourth – Have Fun. For me this equates to a basket full of wants and desires. I want to learn and spend time fly fishing. I want to throw pots. I want to explore and participate in programs at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. I want to travel by air, car and RV. I want to read, nap and hike — probably not in that order. I want to see the sun rise over the ocean and set over a mountain lake. Do I need to narrow this list down? Hope not. Trust that I realize I am damned lucky to be retired.

         Finally, Fifth – Persevere in Love. If I can successfully bundle my goals into some kind of best version of myself and achieve them, this will have been a satisfying year. The definition of perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Perseverance takes resolve, tenacity and determination. Eating healthy, staying fit, pursuing worthy interests and passions is all moot without Goal Number One. My faith, family, and friends are the most important things in my life and keeping them as my first priority is not a matter of success, it’s an act of love. If I can persevere in love, all else follows.

         Keep it simple. Develop a few goals and try to accomplish one or two. If you decide to persevere in acts of love, I’d lay odds love will pay off, in spite of a virus, global warming and division. I hope my word choice inspires you to follow along or choose your personal mantra. We all need a guiding light for the days ahead.