The new year is almost here. It’s the time when we look back and look forward. What was wonderful? What was horrible? What can we do to make our lives better?

How about metaphorically burning the bad habits and limiting beliefs that make us miserable?

This has been a difficult year for me. My beloved Golden Retriever, Cooper, had many health issues before passing away a few weeks ago. My heart is still broken as I get ready to release the last book that I completed with my “writing buddy” by my side. One of the ways that I want to honor him is by trying to live my life more like he did – with exuberance and an indomitable sense of play.

To do that, I need to let go of some ideas that tend to make me miserable. Mental baggage that I know has held me back or kept me down in the past. Like prioritizing being nice over my own happiness or comfort. Not fun. Not going to do that anymore. Into the bonfire it goes. Cooper may not have been able to carry on a conversation in English, but he very clearly let me know when he didn’t like something…or someone. He wasn’t afraid to let people know how he felt, whether it was through tail wags or growls.

A couple times this year I got a taste of what it feels like to step into the power of self-respect and holding true to what I believe. I stood up to someone who repeatedly told me that I was wrong, even though I knew with all of my heart that I wasn’t. I reached out in friendship to someone, then walked away when I was treated as a prospective commission opportunity. I broke with family holiday traditions and created some new ones. It’s a trend I will continue into 2018.

That leads me to another thing that needs to be tossed on the fire – worrying about what other people think. Their thoughts are their business, not mine. As the old saying goes, “You can’t please everyone.” It truly is a waste of precious time getting caught up in worrying about the opinions of others. Let them think what they want. I know what my truth is. Cooper never cared what people thought about him. He simply was himself at all times – sweet, silly, fiercely protective, loyal, loving, sometimes grumpy, lover of naps, happy, and never afraid to express his feelings.


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