Commentary/Thinking Out Loud: These are a few of my favorite things

Here are some of the 3,227 masks that Sharon Hoseley and her granddaughter have sewn since March.

A few of my favorite things:

Squirrels who search for food in my backyard. They remind me my needs are provided.

Trees that grow symmetrically without our pruning hacks. Each kind creates its own shape and specific bark texture. I am unique and special too.

Birds who visit my feeders and baths. They tolerate each other, share space and post a guard to keep watch for neighbor cats. They’re Nervous Nellys, flitting in and out from nearby bushes and disappearing when the hawk comes to visit. We need to watch out for each other.

My quiet sanctuary without TV, radio or people. It’s where I fill my tank with ideas. External noise stunts my thoughts.

New opportunities out of the blue. I was the first public storyteller for TelLit, a monthly storytelling hour started by Lisa Griggs in January at the Jovinea Wine Cellar in Lewiston.

Short term projects that activate my energy and the adrenalin push to see it through to the end. My creativeness comes with a purpose.

Intelligent conversations which stimulate my thoughts.

Old friends who pick up relationship where we left off, even if it’s been years since our paths crossed.

New friends who become comfortable in my presence and make themselves at home in my life.

Being a puzzle piece to complete a hole in someone’s life or a link in the chain that connects two needs.

But my most favorite thing is living the challenge of “doing something this year I’ve never done before.” This New Year’s resolution has been the transformer of my life the last forty years.

Resolutions are hard to keep. With serious intent, we vow to do more of this, less of that, work harder, volunteer more, etc. Our resolve is short lived. We stumble, trip, fall and give up.

But resolving to do something I’ve never done before? I can do this. I just need to be aware of open doors, be courageous and walk through. No promises. No broken intent.

Forty years ago at the end of January, the school district announced classes for staff who wanted to learn a new skill — computer training. The high school had acquired a small computer lab. Classes were at 4 p.m. for two weeks.

Remembering my New Year’s challenge of “doing something I’ve never done before,” I jumped at the chance. With determination, I conquered the ability to type and print, followed by the frustration of hitting the wrong key and losing it all. “Delete” seemed to be the computer’s main language. But I did it. I already had fulfilled my New Year’s Resolution.

There’s a new list on my refrigerator each year titled: Things I’ve never done before. It tracks things big and small and holds memories which I read each New Year’s Eve.

Here are a few examples from my lists over the years:

  • Took my two teenagers on a road trip to California for a month.
  • Learned to play rock-paper-scissors (I still struggle with that one).
  • Flew to Germany alone.
  • Taught driver’s education.
  • Became a professional night janitor.
  • Became a grandma.
  • Grew Jerusalem artichokes.
  • Made divinity.

Whether big or small, “something I’ve never done before” is a part of new chances. I even found a way to do something new during the pandemic. I had cloth, a sewing machine, thread — all I needed was elastic. I’d never made a mask before. I taught my granddaughter to sew. We watched a tutorial, and away we went on the adventure of making and giving away masks — 3,227 so far.

I challenge you in 2021 to open your eyes and step through the doors of something you’ve never done before. It’s a no-fail resolution.

Hoseley is a freelance writer and retired kindergarten teacher who lives in Clarkston. She looks forward to sharing her out-of-the-box, out-loud thoughts with you each month. She can be reached at