It came to me at dawn and I’ve been thinking on it all day.

2017 is the year to get serious. That’s my New Year’s Resolution: Get serious.

Get serious about myself. Stop coasting and figuring that taking it easy is my due because of my age. Resting does nothing but make a person tired. I am a strong, energetic, smart person. I’m going to use every ounce of myself in 2017.

Get serious about writing: Stop writing on the fly. Stop writing first draft/last draft. Stop indulging the fast, the clever. Start carving out a good chunk of every day for writing and producing better work. Keep the blog humming but submit longer pieces for publication. Print publications. Words on paper.

Get serious about communication: Stop allowing my hearing disability (now greatly reduced by having had a cochlear implant) to keep me off the hook for communication challenges. This means going after teaching opportunities, doing workshops, participating in readings, and, the final frontier: using the telephone.

Get serious about political action: Stop just sending checks and start showing up. Be relentless and organized and physically present. Don’t let a day pass without some political action, perpetual squeaking, complaining, until saying “That’s not right!” becomes my signature, my anthem.

Get serious about time: Stop not thinking about time. Remember the ax could fall any minute – tonight, next week, fifteen years from now – and treat time like expensive caviar. It’s not to be slathered on a sandwich or left in the refrigerator to rot. It’s to be used carefully and thoughtfully. No minute should get thrown away.

I’ve had years where I resolved to exercise more, learn more, take more chances, and practice being happy. I’ve had years when my biggest goal was to make a living and not be a mess and others when my only goal was to pull my kids over the finish line of the next year.

This year has been a rough one, not for me, but for others. I have friends whose children have died, friends whose children have life-threatening illnesses, friends who themselves have died. I’ve skated through this year unscathed except for my sorrow for others. And I wonder about this, what luck of the draw puts me in a ‘safe’ column and others in the ‘danger’ column.

So it makes sense to me to take this year as a warning to become a more serious person, to take less for granted, and to power myself up to function all the time on all cylinders. To be fully here for as long as I am able. To get serious. That’s my promise to myself in 2017.