More or less - what I learned in 2012

I usually have a whole raft of goals for the new year. Often they are close to, if not identical to goals I’ve had in years past. 

This year, I simplified. I had one goal. It was “More or less.” Pretty much everything in my life I wish I had/did more of or less of. It’s proved to be a good guiding principal, including helping me to say no to some things that I had a feeling if I said yes I would be sorry. 

One of the best things I did this year was to find an excellent physical therapist. There was nothing really wrong with me. Just a nagging pain in my back that never went away. Runs that sometimes hurt to the point where I would think maybe I should just stop. 

Erika Lewis, PT, turned out to be a miracle worker. She has changed the way I sleep, sit, stand, walk, run, and lift weights. I think of all the books I have bought or checked out over the years - Yoga for Athletes, Heal Your Hips, Dynamic Stretching, etc. etc. - but they were NOTHING compared to having a gifted person look at me and say, “Did you know you run with the toes of your right foot pointing out?” or “Did you know that you stand with most of your weight on your left leg?” Now I am basically pain free. This whole year I have not had one of those episodes where all I can do is lie down in a fetal position and try not to move. 

I also got my orange belt in kung fu and became the only woman in our school who regularly spars. Every Tuesday I glove up and kick guys in the groin and try not to freak out if I get popped in the face in return. (Everyone has good control, so it’s “kiss-touch” contact.)

This year, I decided to just own being 53.  I am the cool older woman who takes kung fu.  She may not be the best, but by God, she is out there trying.  On my birthday, I took a class on practical responses to violence taught by Rory Miller. I was probably the newest kung fu student there, and I only knew two of the 30 people (who were all younger than me.) 

Take aways: Sometimes you need an expert. And it’s good to venture past your comfort zone. 

After losing three people I loved to cancer last year, I was sure I had been clear to the universe about being so over cancer. But I guess the universe didn’t listen. In February my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in September my close friend X was diagnosed as well. I take X to chemo every Thursday, and watch her having as much fun with it as she can (she likes goofy hats and wigs). 

Over the summer, someone close to me had a bad scare where it looked like he had something serious. I watched him lose weight and rack up bad test results while doctors tried to figure it out. He was sick for several months, but now he is back to normal, although no one is the wiser as to what caused it. 

Take aways: Life is short. Love your friends and family and show it. Don’t complain about age spots and wrinkles. There are a lot of people who never got to be your age.

My 12th and 13th books were published this year. I also had a bunch of crazy book deadlines this year, but I have met or am meeting all of them. 

I did book events in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada and Oregon. At one talk, it was warm, spring break was the next day, and they had not been prepared at all. They had no idea who I was - 120 kids just herded into the library. They were giggling, squirmy and some were falling asleep.  Even though I couldn't stop yawning beforehand - I only got about four hours of sleep the night before - things still clicked. Since it was all high school students, I just emphasized the scary/gory parts of my talk and the kids woke up and paid attention. I have become a lot more comfortable speaking to kids and getting them to connect. 

I sold a new series, started a new book that I’ve had to put aside for a bit, sold audio rights to a bunch of books, and sold Turkish rights. 

Take aways: You can do more than you think. 


  1. No doubt about it - cancer sucks. I'm surrounded by it. I hope 2013 is a year of health:)

  2. I LOVE that last line, April. So true. Congrats on all you accomplished in '12--here's to a fantastic '13!

  3. I have a good friend on the cancer roller coaster right now. I can relate. And I'm impressed by your Kung Fu!

  4. Cancer rollercoaster is right. I hope all of us experience a healthy 2013.

    Kung fu is probably the funnest part of my week.

  5. Good physical therapists are rock stars! So glad you're feeling better, and congratulations on your success. I'm voting for NO cancer in 2013 and beyond.

  6. Love the kung fu! I did aikido for a few years. Great take aways! Congrats on the new series!


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