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It’s 4:42 a.m., New Year’s Day, 2014. We had a quiet New Year’s Eve celebration at our friends’ house, came home, and were in bed by 1 a.m. By the time my alarm clock/noise machine was showing 3:30 a.m., I still hadn’t slept a wink. I’m not feeling well. I’ve been feeling nauseated for the past three days and haven’t eaten very much. I may have overdone it with the rich food tonight. So I got up, moved to the couch, let the Zig out of his kennel so that he could curl up on the couch beside me, and I decided to write my first blog post of the year.

2014, here’s my wishes for you.

That you are a year of peace. Peace inside and out. I no longer watch the news. I don’t read the newspaper nor listen to the news on the radio. This does make for awkward reactions to horrific world events when I find out two weeks after the fact, but it has also helped lower my general anxiety level to a place that doesn’t send me into a panic attack every time someone slams a door. The machine that is the daily news creates a world of friction and fear. 2014, I wish you peace and freedom from the cycle of fear. Maybe if more of us refuse to participate in the creation of fear, maybe fear will fade away and make room for the creation of peace.

That you are a year of giving. I am no stranger to giving, or so I thought. I give of my time freely. But until three weeks ago, I didn’t know what it meant to give a gift that really mattered. I did not understand how it could be better to give than to receive. We are having a very cold, very hard winter, and I decided to donate a bag of toques, mitts, and scarves to a homeless shelter. I went in, and dropped it off at the front desk. The appreciation for my small grocery bag of donations was huge and heartfelt. As I walked back to my car, I suddenly felt overwhelmed. I was filled with gratitude for my very full, very rich life, and I was filled with incredible sadness for those that do not have a warm and safe house to come home to everyday. Before I went in, I was having a bad day, feeling sorry for myself because my career was/is in a rut. As I got into my car, my self-pity, my silly career worries suddenly felt so small, so insignificant, and frankly, so stupid. I share this with you not to pat myself on the back for donating a small bag of used winter wear (really, it was a very small action on my part) but to lamely attempt to describe how incredibly wonderful it felt to give, and how that giving gave me perspective and ultimately, a moment of peace.

That you are a year of new experience. I recently found myself comparing my acting career to an abusive relationship. No matter how awful this profession treats me or makes me feel, the moment an offer of work comes my way, I go running back for more. I don’t think it’s a good sign if you compare your profession to an abuser. So 2014, I wish that you are a year of not only new experiences, but also of being open to new experiences. I don’t want to quite acting. I’ve been doing it professionally for twenty years. I have a lot of sunk costs in my career that I’m still hoping will pay off someday. But I no longer want to make acting my whole life. For many years, acting has come first for me. My desire to act has trumped everything else in life. Let this be the year that I crack wide open. Let me be an urban farmer, a foster parent, a wife, a friend, an avid reader, a dog walker, a beekeeper, and from time to time, an actor.

Happy New Year everyone. All the best in 2014.