I came across two ideas this week that feel related. First, in the Todoist (to-do-ist) newsletter, the topic was shutdown rituals. The eponymous app (which I have no idea how to use) is aimed at keeping remote work productive. For some people, living and working in the same place means clear boundaries between personal and professional identities take extra work, Having a shutdown ritual–good-bye, work day/hello, rest of my life–can help with that.
I have a shutdown ritual for the end of my day, but not for the end of my writing sessions, nor do I want one. I want my subconscious to know the writing tab is always open, and to be focusing on writing-related challenges (what keeps the couple in my work in progress apart?!), when I’m asleep, in the shower, or driving to the horse barn.
Then the second idea arrived, courtesy of author Charles Finch’s social media feed. Charles writes the utterly delightful Charles Lenox mystery series, which is set in Victorian England. He asked his readers: What are your-rest-of-the-year resolutions?
One of the casualties of the pandemic for me was my sense of time passing in discreet, orderly units. Days blended into weeks and months, some years went by, and now… I can mostly tell you what day of the week it is, and even get the date right too, but it’s still not automatic, and it should be. It used to be.
So I’m asking myself: What end of year resolutions will help me wish 2023 a friendly farewell? How can I use the next two months to fashion a shutdown ritual for 2023? I will get after my now dormant flower beds (yay for the first frost!), plant next year’s bulbs, probably do a wardrobe review, and take a break from writing this blog.
In the coming weeks, I’ll also be looking for ways to punctuate the farewells that happened in 2023. Farewell to riding horses (for now at least). Farewell to about 35 pounds (and may they please stay the heck gone and take another 35 with them). Farewell to hiding in the house to do my steps on the tread desk when I live in a gorgeous corner of the world.
I will think more on this business of shutdown rituals and rest of the year resolutions. Both topics help me focus on being present in the time I have, in the situation I’m in, and that’s generally a good thing.
Do you rely on any sort of bell-book-and-candle routines to switch gears? Are you hoping to get some projects completed before the New Year arrives?
PS: For the whole month of November, my Windham Brides holiday novella, Respect for Christmas, is priced at $.99 on all the major retailers. This is Henny Whitlow and Michael Brenner’s tale, and one of my faves.