My list goes to 12:
1. Quitting Facebook, or at least spending waaaaay less time on it
2. Finishing a trilogy!
3. Starting a new novel that is not going to be a trilogy and is way simpler and smaller in scope but still paranormal and romantic and quirky in my usual ways
4. Getting into the habit of daily meditation - I like the app Calm to help guide the practice, but there are lots and lots of others that do similar things and look good too
5. Stepping up my exercising. In addition to making sure I take walks on an almost-daily basis, I've started doing some high-intensity-ish exercises a few times a week. (Try this one if you dare. Calling it "beginner" may be a stretch! But it'll give you a workout for sure, and I'm getting better at it with practice.)
6. Also tai chi. I've been doing various YouTube sessions of that on occasion, and find it really does make my joints all feel happier.
7. Recognizing anxiety for what it is; i.e., my imagination working overtime; and redirecting that imagination into creativity, such as writing stories, or thinking up ways to improve my surroundings
8. Probiotics for all in the household. Or at least, definitely for me, in the form of things like kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and fermented pickles, and for my kids in the form of chewable probiotics when they won't eat those other things, which is usually. It has correlated to a notable decrease in number of viruses and other infections we've caught. I won't claim it has caused the decrease, but it has at least correlated, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a cause and effect here.
9. Earlier bedtimes for kids, better enforced. More sleep for me too. The meditation and similar breathing exercises help relax insomnia's grip on me. And more sleep surely helps our health too.
10. Being a lot gentler in how I think of myself, and getting a lot better at not giving a damn what other people think of me. Self-care feels real good, and ends up making me more patient with everyone else, so hey, win-win.
11. Leasing my soul, for a time anyway, to the Merlin (BBC) fandom, and in particular the Merthur ship. Yay, slash daydreams and fanfics! I've missed your siren song.
(It's pretty much canon, anyway.)
Also, maybe I just haven't dug deep enough yet, but so far the Merlin fandom is one of the sweetest-natured I've ever encountered. Everyone has been wonderfully nice.
12. Trying doing things in new ways, or doing new things. I'm starting small, no bungee jumping yet, but practicing flexibility in daily life is like yoga for the brain.
So my resolutions for 2016 are pretty much to keep all of those up, and do even better at them. Happy New Year, everyone!
1. TV: Why yes, I AM watching Once Upon A Time and it IS easing me off my Merlin melancholy, thank you for wondering. So far I'm only nine episodes into season 1, but I am already enamored of Emma's hair and her slightly-more-badass-Lorelai-Gilmore attitude. And I'm really liking looking at Jamie Dornan--oh. Well, I was enjoying looking at him. From the sympathetic glimpse into hitherto-slimy Rumpelstiltskin's past, I'm sensing this is one of those cool shows where everyone is deeper than they look at first, and some villains may become more heroic than we expected, and that's good, because I've always liked Robert Carlyle. Regina, though--I am still fully in "she's horrible" territory. (And I really don't like that mauve shade of lipstick they keep slathering on her. < /catty>) But I look forward to letting that opinion be changed too. (Not sure you'll convince me on the lipstick, though.)
2. Writing: I'm done with the ARC-level (advance reading copy) edits for Immortal's Spring. Whew! Back to newer projects I can go. Writing a series, like giving birth, was the kind of uber-complicated marathon that I'm in no hurry to do again. But, also like giving birth, at the same time it's something I'm immensely proud of having accomplished. Also, how beautiful is our cover art?
We had a solitary mysterious woman on the covers of Persephone's Orchard and Underworld's Daughter, but moved to a couple for the final book of the trilogy, because reunions and reconciliations and balance are the kind of themes you present at the end of a trilogy. But also because this photo was so gosh-darn lovely and we had to have it. (Photographer: the fabulously talented Felicia Simion.)
3. Reading: I just started Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and totally love it so far. Introvert girl at college who'd rather stay in her room writing fanfiction (slash, no less) than go to parties: ha, yes, okay, that is totally me. (I mean, I'm not at college anymore, but it does sound a lot like me in my freshman year. Except I had no internet following at that time. Because I had no internet. Because it was 1992.)
How about you guys? Viewing/reading recommendations?
I was lately remarking to various people in comments that, by the end of Merlin, Arthur and Merlin "out-Frodo-and-Sam Frodo and Sam." But maybe it's a tie, to be fair. Now my mind won't rest until I've delineated all the items on the bromance checklist that both pairs seem to be using as their guidebook. Let's go!
Master and servant situation: check!
Save each other's lives a whole bunch of times (bonus points if you get soaked): check!
Also make verbal promises about continuing to save each other's lives: check!
Wear armor together even if that isn't usually your thing: check!
Play with ropes together: check!
Occasionally fall under evil magic influence and try to kill your bro: check!
Carry each other in case of unconsciousness: check!
Come around to seeing servant's mighty worth even if you took him for granted at first: check!
Hold your bro tenderly at the end and make us all cry: check!
Tearfully see him off on a boat headed for magical lands: check!
Yeah. I guess it's a tie.
I will go down with these ships. Bromances. Things.
Btw, despite the lyrics, I have in fact started watching Once Upon a Time and I do actually like it so far and will keep watching, in hopes that it will ease me off this angst.
It's been seven hours and fifteen days
Since "The Diamond of the Day"
I read fic every night and weep all day
Since "The Diamond of the Day"
Now that it's done I can watch whatever I want
Fill my queue with whatever I choose
I can binge on shows that all my friends are on
But nothing, I said nothing can take away these blues
'Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you
It's been so lonely without my knights
No more fun in Camelot
Nothing can stop these fangirl tears from flowing
Tell me, Arthur, how is Avalon?
Nothing compares, nothing compares to you
I can Google everything Colin Morgan's done
But it'd only remind me of you
I went onto Facebook and guess what they told me
Guess what they told me
They said girl you better try Once Upon A Time or Robin Hood
But that's no good
'Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you
All the laughter over donkey ears
From the old days
All died with that final show
I know that hiding magic, Merlin, was sometimes hard
But we're willing to let all the plot holes slide
Nothing compares, nothing compares to you
Emotional exhaustion and late-blooming fangirling!
What a frustrating show. In a charming way. It became quite addictive, despite the problems, such as the ridiculous silly plots, and the big magic reveal coming waaay too late, as everyone says (come on, Merlin, you know you could have sat Arthur down and talked him onto your side; you even could have used MAGIC for it; it would hardly be the most underhanded thing you've ever done). And most frustrating of all, we didn't really get our prophecied great future where Arthur was the best king anyone ever saw and magic was no longer outlawed and Merlin got to be court sorcerer. I get that Arthur will rise again, so that's still in the future, I suppose, and from the modern-day last ten seconds of the series are we honestly to understand it still hasn't happened by the 21st century, and Merlin is STILL waiting? Gah. Between that and Rory on Doctor Who, I have to conclude the BBC has a fetish for making devoted friends wait millennia for each other.
Like Buffy, this series went through an erratic range of moods. I mean, seasons 1 to 4 were mostly all:
Genuine angst and sorrow happened here and there, but still, fluff was the order of the day. Good thing they had their fun while they could, because then season 5 was largely like:
It pretty much became Les Misérables. The series finale is not unlike the barricade scene meshed with the Grey Havens. Pain! But that's in keeping with the tragic nature of (most of) the Arthur legends, and in fact as a tragedy it turned out to be very well crafted. The rifts ran too deep to fix easily; the villains frequently were human enough that I felt sorry for them (Mordred! and of course the fabulous Anthony Stewart Head as Uther). I see why Merlin fans everywhere are saying, even three years after the series ended, that they'll never be over it.
At least half the reason it's so heartbreaking, though, is Colin Morgan alone, who throws tremendous talent into his role. He's one of those wonderful actors who, like Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy, doesn't care if they're being handed a somewhat formulaic script and are going to have cheesy special effects painted onto them. They're going to live this part and treat this like it's the Royal damn Shakespeare Company, and they'll win you over forever. Actually, all the Merlin actors turn in lovely and often amazing performances--as another example that comes to mind, Bradley James and Angel Coulby seriously impressed me with their powerful Arthur/Gwen showdown over Lancelot. But Colin is the standout of the series. Which is why he won all the awards and stuff, I suppose.
And what of the shipping, you ask? The Merthur? Slash, yes/no?
Well, yes. By the end of season 5, if you have any slash neurons at all, it's kind of impossible not to ship Merthur. Unlike some ensemble-cast shows that spread the stories around more among the characters, in this one probably 75% of screen time involved either Arthur or Merlin, and frequently both. They spent an awful lot of time in each other's company. Plus, in practically every episode, Merlin performs an "I'd die for him" courtly-love gesture or declaration without any irony, and sometimes Arthur even does it back. I fully believed in their other and more canonical relationships--Arthur/Gwen made me squee, Gwen/Lancelot was done with surprising good taste and romance, that one single episode of Merlin/Freya-the-doomed-magic-girl was beautiful. But even the cast and creators say without missing a beat that the "bromance" was the most important relationship of the series.
"Even the dragon ships it," as the fans say. (Prophetic!Dragon is always telling Merlin that Arthur and Merlin are two halves of the same whole and are each other's destiny and similar shippable statements.)
So yeah. Count me among the heartbrokenly thrilled Merthur people. Devastated it's over, but thank goodness there's those earlier seasons to rewatch, and also there's fanfiction! In fact there's so much fanfiction I could be reading it the rest of my life and never run out of material, if I chose, so that's...good?
Postscript: I'd also like to thank Eoin Macken (Sir Gwaine) for his cheeky attitude and gorgeous hair.
Also if someone could send me every dress Morgana ever wore, tailored to fit me, that'd be super. Thanks.
Short version: I've broken up with Facebook.
Long version, in the form of a mental conversation held with myself many, many times over the last couple of years:
Me: I need to cut back on all the ways I waste time.
Mind: Such as Facebook?
Me: Maybe, but, you know, other stuff too. All the activities that are mostly just adding to my stress instead of helping me.
Mind: So, Facebook.
Me: Haha, but it's handy to have a login there, in case people need to tag me.
Mind: So that you can come to the site and wind up wasting tons of time on Facebook.
Me: I guess, but also, I mean, the news, I should avoid the news. That's just an endless stream of upsetting stuff.
Mind: So is Facebook. Which also is half advertising and news stories these days.
Me: Well...I could just try avoiding Facebook but going to it sometimes...
Mind: We've tried that. You suck at it. You end up spending as much time there as ever. Pull the plug.
Me: But I have to keep my author page. Marketing says I have to.
Mind: So keep that. Pull the plug on the main one, though. You know it felt good that one time you did it before.
Me: Well...true...but people might forget about me.
Mind: People you've never met, or hardly ever see? You were just complaining about how you wanted more time to yourself, and more time for the people you know in real life.
Me: Hm. Then. Okay. Yes.
Also, I was tired of having snark lobbed at me on my page when I don’t do that on other people’s pages. Tired of people forgetting there are human beings on the other end of the internet. Tired of keeping track of everyone else’s drama. And tired of the clickbait, and the ads, and the hiding of posts, and everything else FB does wrong. I’m sure I do have “issues” to work out (look up "generalized anxiety disorder" and "highly sensitive person" to name two of the major ones), but I would submit that so do lots and lots of my friends list, and they may not even realize how much worse FB is making those issues.
Today in the wake of clicking the "delete" button, I feel drained and still tired, but lighter. Freer. Once I unhook the Pavlovian reaching for social media from my brain ("An interesting thought! I should post it on Facebook!"), I will probably be freer still. Of course, I did come back here, to social media, to discuss it, but LJ has always been better at being a solid and fairly sedate record of life, rather than a snark-comment badminton-match like Facebook. (And lately, like, almost no one is around on LJ anyway.)
Stuff I'm doing and enjoying instead: Amazon Prime's music library is pretty sweet. That has supplied me with a delightful soundtrack of all kinds of stuff the last few days. And I've been watching "Merlin" on Netflix, and am now in the early episodes of season 4. Adorable Arthuriana angst and sparkly magic and all-too-easy slash potential! Yay! And of course, loads more time for reading and writing. (The reading lately is book 2 of Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series - fun mostly-teen high fantasy with a refreshing Native-American-like slant to some of the tribes.)
This weekend I plan to spend more time outdoors, sitting under leafy trees, gazing at Puget Sound, picking flowers, that kind of thing. May you be fortunate enough to do similar. Cheers!