2018 Wish List

Happy New Year!

Photos by Kyle Andrew

I hope the festive season was good to you and those you hold in your heart. This year, we slowed things down for the holidays. We knew we wanted to try something different after a particularly maudlin 2017 Christmas, but this decision was reinforced by a series of daily meltdowns I had leading up to the holidays. (I can’t talk about that yet, but I will soon). Christmas Day was spent at home, all day, in our PJs. My parents, brother, auntie and dear cousin joined us for a small turkey feast and we played cards, ate too much, and shared some laughs. This felt so completely right, that it’s gotta become a new tradition.

Tweens hugging

Another new tradition is crafting a list of things I’d like for the brand new year. I won’t call them resolutions, because I feel the pressure just typing those letters. I wanted to write something for you as we sail into the New Year, but everything I started to craft sounded like trite horse shit. I’m sitting on a mountain of change, and I can’t talk about it yet. I’m avoiding sharing my feelings with you because they’ve been messy, and unpleasant, and embarrassing. Instead, I give to you my 2018 wish list.


  • More fun ways to exercise
  • A return to a keto lifestyle
  • Increased energy
  • Gratitude for my healthy body
  • Creativity in the bedroom
  • Time in nature
  • Time in the kitchen
  • Stress management techniques that work
  • A sense of security


  • More face-to-face time with my friends
  • More time connecting with my kids
  • Down time
  • A gratitude practice
  • Bubble baths
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Frivolous ways to spend time
  • Opportunities for volunteering
  • Dinners with family
  • A sense of security
  • Truth bombs on the daily
  • Saying no to things that make me anxious and resentful


  • Crafting time
  • Journal time on the regular
  • Crafts with the kids
  • A sense of security


  • Organization
  • Discipline
  • Growth
  • Daily writing practice
  • Regular efforts at promotion
  • A published novel and/or literary agent
  • A sense of security

In addition to this list, I intend to spend the next few days mind-mapping all of the ideas rolling around in my brain when it comes to work. I don’t actually know what mind-mapping is, but when I imagine myself doing this, I’ve got colorful markers in hand and I’m puking out random ideas onto an empty page. I have some power over my work life, and I’d like to exert control where I can.

Another thing I just did, not because I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, but because my SEO optimizer prompted me to add some internal links, was go back through this blog and ready every post I’ve ever written around January 1st. This hurt my heart, and in particular, I could see a real turning point in 2014. As I type, I find myself yearning for the articulation and joy of 2016 (my brother’s awesome photos really say it all, though). These posts are inconsistent, but I’ve linked you here in case anyone would like to read my evolution:







Kid drinking milk christmas pajamas

It’s impossible to know what’s going to happen in 2018. It seems that each year, there’s a sea change, and trying to prepare for such a thing seems like a guaranteed way to get washed out. I’ve become an expert in self-reliance, and that’s something. In fact, I think that’s everything, now. I can count on myself. I can take care of myself. I believe I’m a good mother, though certainly not perfect. I have sometimes believed that I’m a good partner, but I don’t know about that anymore.

I’d like to find stability and trust in 2018, even if that means trusting my own two feet to carry me the rest of the way. If I’m deeply honest, (and vulnerable in the ways you’ve always seemed to love), I’d like to know that lasting romantic love does in fact exist, and that it’s safe to trust another person on a profound level.

What’s on your 2018 Wish List?

It’s A Whole New Year

Okay 2016, I’m ready to get started. You look as clean and fresh as the snowfall I was delighted to wake up to this morning. I have some big plans for you, I’m not afraid to say it. This is going to be the year where my focus pays off, and everyone I hold nearest and dearest will reap the benefits. I’m trying to stay open to exactly what those benefits will be, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few specific ideas about what I’d like to see.

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A New Year’s Intentions Coloring Journal

I love the clean slate of a brand-spanking New Year. Yes I make resolutions. Yes I set goals. Yes, I am currently devouring Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map and planning to illuminate all of the feelings I wish to own  in 2016. There is  no greater ritual than starting fresh, and no greater time to emerge with a renewed sense of self than at the start of the New Year. I’m still enjoying the haze of holiday time with my family, but I wanted to make a little gift for you in case you also love the idea of setting some New Year’s Intentions.

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A Letter to 2013

2013-11-09 11.26.48

Dear Last Year,

I suppose I should thank you for kicking my ass. I was getting a bit smug, and starting to take some pretty important things for granted (like mortality and economic security) but you sure showed me, didn’t you?

Thanks a lot for the heartbreaking brushes with fate, both direct and indirect. I had assumed I was done with watching dear relatives die of wasting illness, far before I thought their time should be up. I was also totally caught up in the delight of witnessing so many of my friends as they enjoyed stepping into parenthood. I completely counted on things humming along according to plan. My folly was assuming that plan was mine.

So, yes, I think I get it. My life, and the lives of everyone I love are the briefest whisper on the lips of the Universe. If I thought I could get lazy, or wait for another day to use the good china of my life, or spend more time on email than with my children, I have realized the heinous error of my ways.

If it seemed like my life in the heart of downtown Toronto was the most ideal way for me to be my most authentic self, I was really ass-backwards. Giving all of that up, pulling my kids out of expensive private school, saying goodbye to the leased Mercedes, and moving into the home of my in-loves on thirty acres in the heart of wine country was the kind of life implosion I needed most. Here I found a safe haven to hide from the rest of the volcanic action of the year, though the lava flow definitely burnt my ass.

But guess what? I’m still here. You’ve motivated me to work harder at living each day exactly the way I’d like to remember them if I’m lucky enough to get a few more years under my belt. The terror and triumph of watching my first bio-child grow into his first year of life has made me humble in the face of my own fragility. I’m compelled to offload anything and everything that is getting in the way of my greater plan – even some things I used to think I couldn’t live without.

The plan, dare I whisper it to your fickle ears Universe, is to see the world with our children over the course of the rest of our lives. Not week-long family vacations, but a great scheme that includes finding ways to work from mobile locations so that we can live wherever we deign to for six months each year.

I’ve lost enough to know what I need. I’ve gained enough to know what I’ve lost. I’ve cried enough to cherish each moment of happiness, and I am hell-bent on having stories that will ring clear and true long after I’m gone. May this life I am living be a vibrant testimony to the soul that dwells inside this body.

Starting today.

Yours truly,

Catherine Skinner