I feel more than a bit pretentious as I draft this end-of-the-year post. I mean, seriously! I blogged so sparingly these past 12 months that I’m not sure such a post is warranted.

Truth be told, though, my life has been a bit like the proverbial duck this past year. At least as it pertains to decision-making and blogging. On the surface, there have been periods (a la the duck) where it appeared to the outside world that I was stagnant. Just sitting. But there have also been periods when I’ve been frantically busy, barely keeping my head above the ocean of new-job-acclimation tasks, lesson planning, and paper grading that kept me from making life changes, writing, and blogging.

To an outsider, it would appear that my focus on simplifying my life, charting a new path, etc., was lost this past year.

That isn’t the case, though. In the quiet time, I contemplated and dreamed and researched and prayed and contemplated some more. In the busy period, while my conscious brain was focused on taks like responding to a stack of student essays, my subconscious brain was slowly, without fanfare, processing things that, if I slowed down to focus on them directly, seemed overwhelming.

And now, as 2017 draws to a close, I’m ready to put into practice — as much as I can, at least — what this past year has taught me.

I can only do that because my vision for what I would like my life to look like is finally very clear. The two concepts of “home” that I was torn between, and upon which everything else would be based, have come together so seamlessly that I am embarrassed to admit that I ever thought it was a one-or-the-other situation.

While finances are a huge issue (aren’t they always?), my dream would be to find a 2-car garage here in my hometown that either already has a living area above it or that has an area above it that I could affordably convert to a one-room (with bath and kitchenette) loft. That would be my home base. No yard or garden or anything to maintain; just a nice, comfy & cozy nest to come home to.

Coupled with that, I want (and have been searching for) an affordable, used but low-mileage class B RV in which I can comfortably travel around the United States. I dream of Alaska and Michigan and Idaho . . . well, those cold, Northern states . . . in late Spring through early Fall and of warmer states in Fall and Winter. Short trips and longer ones interspersed with visits back home to visit my children, catch a St. Louis Cardinals game, and enjoy my beautiful hometown.

My vision includes exploring this great country of ours, of course, but also of writing and of learning how to scrapbook digitally and then creating wonderful bound books for my son and daughter. Evenings spent with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, reflecting on the day, knitting socks (acquiring that skill is also part of the vision), reading a book, sitting in a local coffee shop and journalling and people-watching. Blogging more regularly.

That’s it. That’s my vision in a nutshell.

Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. In fact, a very simple lifestyle.

But it’s going to take a leap of faith, which I am ready to take.

And it’s going to take doors opening. Big doors. Doors that I can’t even see. The garage. In a price I can afford. The class B RV. Again, in a price I can afford. Those are huge, huge doors.

But I am looking for them, laying the groundwork to open them when they appear.

It’s taken me quite awhile to get to this place. To a place where my vision is clear, I can see the path, and I’m ready to act.

I hope you’ll travel along with me as I move forward this year. Even more so, I hope that you’ll stop for a few minutes while you’re here and share your own thoughts and ideas and dreams and visions.

As I close this last post before Christmas, I want to wish you a very blessed and wonderfully-magical Christmas.