Three Words to Begin 2017: Past, Now, and Future


Confessions are good for the soul so I confess now I am not a good juggler. Sometimes life presents us with a juggling act which seems outside our abilities. And often the start of a new year does the same.

The questions I asked as I wrote this post were:

  • Where did 2016 go?
  • What does 2017 hold in the way of goals?
  • What about now–the present, today, even tonight?


Wherever it went, it dragged by. I felt this year would never end. My days were ones of sitting and lying down to relieve relentless, intense pain. A short break in the early fall led me to believe the journey was almost over. Then a setback occurred.

I am still attempting to reach the end of the journey created by a fall last January. Things are so much better I am able to write a few hours a day on this blog and my book review blog. One good result from my immobility is a stack of books finally read.

Another accomplishment was accepting that some degree of pain will always be with me as a result of a fusion. I’ve also accepted that walking with a cane does get doors opened for you.


A top priority for me in 2017 is the hope of more therapy helping me to reach a higher level of activity. This would allow me to engage in daily activities without the need of pain medications. If I am told I need to take one pill a day, I can handle that. The narcotic haze is not something I enjoy nor do I want it interfering with my creative life.

Other than that, I have decided I am not establishing any set-in-concrete goals for 2017. My plan is to do something different this year. The concept came to me as I searched for a suitable graphic to include with this post. Not finding one, I set about creating my own which is inserted above. The word “now” was not easy to find in the company of the words “present” and “future.”

Days with therapy or doctor appointments and home exercises create a need for flexibility. Working those things around my writing life means there has to be a give and take. That leads us to the “now” option.


The word “now” is defined by as “at the present time or moment.” In my opinion, “at the present time or moment” can mean today, this hour, or a variety of other phrases. It means I have the flexibility of moving something from today to another day. It doesn’t mean I can forget about anything forever. Things go better as long as I get something done and don’t leave it hanging ad ifinitum.

Last week I picked up something from Jamie Raintree, writer and blogger at I was reading a post by Jamie on time blocking and productive time. I’m not a rigidly organized soul, and my writing proves that when I confess I’m a pantser. This resulted from almost 40 years working for attorneys unwilling to track billable time. Their cry was “it doesn’t let me create the pleas and arguments I need to win!” If I’m worrying about when or how I’m going to get everything done on today’s schedule, I’ll never get it done.

Jamie has created a Time Blocking Worksheet. About her system, she says:

The idea is that you schedule your days in chunks, marking off large time periods for certain types of work, but leaving the details of what work you’ll accomplish more open.

Based on that statement, I decided to download Jamie’s worksheet and give it a try. If you’re interested, you can see an image of Jamie’s worksheet and download it here.

I like the idea of categorizing creative and personal priorities and assigning days. I currently use a similar time blocking tool. Yet, it lacks the flexibility of Jamie’s system. Thank you, Jamie!


What about 2016? I am disappointed. I struggle with losing time on my manuscript and maintaining my blogs and newsletter. But truthfully, there wasn’t much I could do about it.

What about 2017? I don’t know yet. We’ll see what comes down the path.

What about NOW? I’m going to use it to the best of my ability as I’m able. Really can’t do more than that can we?


11 thoughts on “Three Words to Begin 2017: Past, Now, and Future

  1. Sherrey, First of all, happy 2017! If 2016 wasn’t all it was cracked up to be (for you and me), I’m sorry but that is the price some of us have to pay for getting elderly (as opposed to old) and frankly, we are lucky. We’re not going to go young! So I’m going to start by wishing you a seven decades plus, hoping that 2017 will be better than 2016, and more than anything, a relatively pain free year because I know all too well how pain can fell even the strongest heart. We’ll just have to plaster on that smile, pretend that everything is all right, and march forward with cane or walker determined to show the world that we’ll still keep going at (almost) our normal stride. Love you, Pennie

    1. Pennie, dear friend, it’s so good to hear from you. I know that 2016 wasn’t good for you either, and I hope this finds you improving each day. And yes, this is the price we pay. Other than some bumps in the road I can’t complain about the life I’ve been blessed with, and I’m not starting now. And there are folks much worse off than I am. My biggest struggle has been with losing interest in my book and depression from the pain meds and just the inability to get around easily. But things are improving and I’m doing what you mentioned–plastering on a smile, pretending all’s better, and dancing with my cane (she’s covered in pink roses!) (and she makes a good weapon in the event of a mugger! LOL! Pennie, thanks for lifting me up when you are in a struggle yourself. Giving of our support to others sometimes makes our own burden a little lighter, doesn’t it? Happy 2017 to you and yours.

  2. My dear Sherrey, I am so sorry for all you have had to endure this year. Your words certainly resonate with me. You are not alone. I can relate to the frustration of being sidelined by health issues. But, as you say, you have learned to do what you can when you can. It reminds me of the quote ( I’m paraphrasing) by Teddy Roosevelt “Do what you can with what you’ve got where you’re at”. Like you, I have learned to embrace the silver linings, i.e. finally getting to read lots of books. And we can still write. Thanks for the link, too. Interesting, this is how I’ve adapted to limitations, by working in chunks of time. I wish you continued healing, improved health and many more good days vs not so good ones in 2017. Blessings and hugs to you, my friend.

    1. Hello Kathy, dear friend! And likewise, I am sorry for all you have had to endure this year as well. I know that you understand fully and beyond about sidelining health issues. I like TR’s words! And silver linings definitely bring smiles. Look at Jamie’s comment below. I think she is someone you would enjoy connecting with. Her first book is soon to be published and she is one excited young woman. I met Jamie over her Writing & Revision Tracker. A real boon to keeping up with how much we actually write in a day and what writing projects we touch. Jamie also has a good reason (actually more than one) for enjoying scheduling in chunks. Wishing you a blessed 2017 filled with healing and more good than bad days. Hugs to you, Sherrey.

  3. Great post Sherrey. Work at your own pace, life isn’t a race. And as far as your question, ‘where did 2016 go?’ who cares, glad it’s gone LOL. 🙂

    1. Debby, you cracked me up with your answer to “where did 2016 go?” Yes, many of us are thankful for a variety of reasons that 2016 is behind us. Thanks for the reminder that “life isn’t a race,” and for a thoughtful “work at your own pace.” I’ll remember both.

  4. Sherrey, I’m so sorry to hear 2016 was a struggle for you. As someone who suffered from an autoimmune disease, I know how derailing health issues can be when all you want is to tap into your creativity. It sounds like you’re finding your way, though, and I’m glad for that! May 2017 be an amazing year for you, filled with many beautiful “now”s. 🙂 So glad to hear the Time Blocking Worksheet is supporting you in that!

    1. Jamie, I had no idea you have suffered from an autoimmune disease. Therefore, you know well the derailing health issues can cause. I will carry your “may 2017 be an amazing year” with me each day as I fill it with “many beautiful ‘now’s’. Thanks again for the Time Blocking Worksheet I’ve started using. It helps!

  5. Sherrey – so often we plan for the future and forgive to live in the now. I think your idea is a wise one. I pray that this year is a good one for you. (I’m a panster also, so I’ll check out that link.)

    1. Joan, sometimes my gaze sets on a horizon too far away. 🙂 Praying for another good year for you. Glad you’re checking out Jamie’s tools. I think you’d enjoy following her. She’s just published her first novel (coming out soon, I think).

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