Something about those numbers as words makes me smile.  I don't know if it's because I have a penchant for even numbers and have always had a crush on teens. Or if it's because I have  a fever.  Yep, I am starting the year with a bit of the flu, a habit I can't seem to shake as it seems that every first week of January, my blood literally boils.  I like to think of it as conceptual moulting, where my mind gets a final chance to cast away last year. And it gives me a few moments between Sherlock episodes to muse about  goals for 2014.

To be honest, I do not remember when I have ever made New Year's Resolutions, at least within the public realm and not in reverse mirror lettering.  In general, I have a strong aversion to resolutions, to-do line itemizing and advance planning.  I blame my knee-jerk reaction on Hallmark cards, an old boyfriend who claimed utter chaos without his Filofax and years working as a personal assistant to a very high maintenance celebrity couple.   To Dos and their country cousin, Resolutions were not for me and if you ask anyone, life with Erica can be a logistical nightmare.   However, since I secretly long for  a life of organized rhyme and reason, where deadlines are coordinated and prioritized much like my books, and my to-to list is as pretty as the still lives I create in my refrigerator, I've decided to think of some resolutions, more like plans of action for 2014.

Move. I don't mean move out of Rome or even out of our house, but move around.  Take more trips down the street, out of Rome and into Europe, keep my eyes open and see more things.  Believe it or not, sometimes it is hard [expensive, time prohibitive, annoying et al] to put myself in the unfamiliar, but this year, I need the shock of the new, to coin a Robert Hughes phrase. It is time to get out and see-- cities, countrysides, art, hot dogs.  For that I am going to need a partner, a Zan to my Jana.  So I think 2014 means it is time to test out the five-year-old, however resistant and hardheaded she may be.  She's long overdue for some life experiences.  Note: everyone is invited to join us.

Write.  Wait a minute, isn't that what I try to do every day?  Yes, but just like hair and make up, writing needs an overhaul every now and then, and mine definitely needs a total make over.  So first and foremost, I am going to try to push the dynamic of my words in different directions, in the hopes that writing becomes less a solo and more a symphony, less routine and more of serendipity.  And I will be actively pursuing different thematic arenas, such as art critique, travel information, current events and even poetry.  Writing is work and in order to do it well, I need to get out of the comfortable.  Note: my blogs on Rome [Forbes Travel] and Italy [Huffington Post] will be active and enhanced, focusing on travel in Italy and what to do in Rome, though this blog may be a menagerie of styles.

Read.  For the past year, I have been in the fog that is known as Amazon's best seller rankings.  There is usually nothing I want to read, when I am in dire need of reading, thus I resort to crap TV.  And I think this has affected my writing.  Thanks to my friend Frankie's post on her goals for 2014, which inspired this post and in particular #9, I am going to curate my mind by visiting the  Park Slope Community Bookstore , a tiny and packed bookstore with a selection of books by writers who you love, who make you love and who you want to be, savory periodicals that inspire and beautiful children's books.  No, I won't be hoping a plane every Friday but  thanks to fiber optics, it's me and the website for suggestions (staff selections, books on air and blog).  Do I buy print or digital? It depends on the book and my impatience. Though I am partial to print, I do love the idea of carrying around 30 great books in my iPad.

Meditate.  Looking back on 2013, I realize the one thing I didn't do was pause enough-- you know, stop, look, smell, feel and hug.  I was all about action and anger, and anger and action, in an attempt to combat my brother-in-law's cancer.  I feel pretty dumb about it too.  I now realize the best thing I can do for me, my mind and for him is a fermata lunga, an indefinite pause of personal meditation-- whether it means a yoga pose, a long sip of Negroni or a physical standstill-- no matter where I am or what I am doing, I need to embrace and love the space around me.

Four vague resolutions. I told you I wasn't the kind to commit to an annual To Do list.

by Erica