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Well, it's a new year but it really doesn't feel much different from last year. Even though there's a vaccine, the coronavirus is still a gray cloud hanging over us. Combine that with resolutions that typically don't last more than a month or so, and it's not a good start to the new year.


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The new year is a date on the calendar. It would be like saying Wednesday really does not feel any different from Tuesday. It is a mindset and an attitude. And, obviously, yours is focused on the negative – not the positive.


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I know I should treat the new year as a new beginning. You know, the concept that's the basis of countless articles and news features. But it just seems like an almost impossible task.



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Speaking of difficult tasks ... how is the new computer? I know that you were dreading having to deal with it. In fact, you fought it until you finally had no choice.


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I know. But now I love it! It's so fast and much of what I thought was going to be difficult to learn was actually pretty intuitive, even for me. And I know this might sound crazy, but the best part was that since all of my old emails (all 25,000+ of them!) are now archived, opening Outlook every morning's no longer stressful.


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Makes sense. I am almost afraid to ask, but I know you were freaking out that the discontinued version of Franklin Planner software you use for all your "to do" tasks might not transfer. Any luck?


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Initially, I was freaking out because I had a ton of stuff on it. But then I started preparing for the worst – that everything would be lost – and that's when I realized that I didn't use or need most of it. Although all the old data did end up being lost, the software transferred. Now, I'm only using Franklin Planner for important things or where I need reminders. And I love seeing only a few tasks vs. long lists of things that would make me feel like a failure for not getting through them!


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So, let me understand. The new computer is like a clean slate. Where you can focus on important things versus agonizing over things that are merely carried over. Is that correct?


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Exactly! You call it a "clean slate" but I see it as a new start. It's just a coincidence that it happened at the end of the year. Anyway, it's great!


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OK, so how about taking that same approach to the new year?


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That's why you changed the subject to my new computer! You tricked me. But I'll forgive you because that's a really interesting way of looking at 2021. But life's not that easy. You can't ignore the past. With my computer I really had no other choice.


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You are not ignoring the past; you are merely putting it in perspective and hitting "reset" before moving forward.


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A reset … I like that! I know it may just be words, but that just seems so much better than a resolution.


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That may be because a reset allows you to truly start fresh, to focus on what things you want to do or do better. Since you are not overwhelmed with lists and "good intentions" from the past, it is easier to identify what is truly important. Including things that may have gotten "lost" along the way. And, that is before taking into consideration that the pandemic has changed everything.


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There's an understatement. When I was looking at my old lists it became obvious they were filled with many unimportant tasks. But what was really a wake-up call was realizing how many things that I took for granted – that I just didn't appreciate enough at the time and now miss.


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I think many of us do. It sounds like a cliché but a crisis forces us to think about what is truly important as well as what we take for granted. Often times it is a personal crisis, as you well know, but this happens to be a crisis that is impacting everyone.


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And almost everyone I've talked to, talks about how it's not only impacted their lives but made them relook at their priorities.


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That is to be expected. But, unfortunately, when a crisis passes, it is easy to fall back into our old ways. Except this crisis has been going on long enough that it is hard to remember what we used to consider "normal" …


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I know, and that makes me sad.


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I think that is where we started this conversation, with you choosing to look at the negative versus the positive.


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I'm sorry, but it's not easy to look at what we're all going through as something positive.


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Well, it is not something we would intentionally want to go through, but we are here now. And, 2021 is the start of a new normal.


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Well, in that case I think we should wish everyone a Happy – and Healthy – New Normal!


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You just did.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston

Let me set the scene (keep in mind I was a theater major). The Houston area, where fur coats appear on the "ladies who lunch" when the weather dips below 50, has been hit by an unprecedented winter storm that not only brings snow and prolonged sub-freezing temperatures, but also creates statewide power outages for millions. My extremely pragmatic sister lives in a high-rise that lost power early in the storm and, thinking quickly, secures a hotel room in Houston's only five-star hotel, which just happens to be down the street from her place. Less than 24 hours later, I too lose power, but living in a house that has a fireplace, well-stocked pantry, and a gas cooktop, just hunker down. My car's parked on the driveway so I can easily access it to charge my gizmos, which also gives me the opportunity (or really, excuse) to warm up.

And it's there, while texting with Black (who, for the record, rarely texts but at that point in time it was the only form of communication that worked), that the following conversation ensues …

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I know everyone's always trying to find balance in their life, but I've really been struggling with it as there always seems to be so much going on between Red & Black, Mom, the girls, the list is seemingly endless.


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And, as I am a die-hard workaholic that admits to not having a life, you think I have the answer?


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Excellent point. Never mind.


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However, I do have some suggestions … if you do not mind, "Do as I say, not as I do."
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Where did January go? Every day feels like Groundhog Day, but yet the months are flying by! Our January column was about "resets" instead of resolutions, so maybe we could expand on that and talk about self-improvement.


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Instead of love, hearts, and Valentine's Day? Works for me.


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Maybe we can tie the two concepts together – become a better person as a Valentine's Day gift to yourself?


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Instead of looking at what needs improvement, what about learning to love – and accept – yourself?


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That sounds rather arrogant, as I think it's safe to say that most of us could use some improvement.
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