Steps In Between

Celaine Charles ~ My journey as a writer ~ Author site:

Year-End Reflections: Insights From a Squirrel

The squirrel outside my window gobbles up birdseed with the same eagerness and contentment today as he did yesterday. I imagine he will feel the same tomorrow, New Year’s Day.

Eagerness and contentment. I had to think about those adjectives. But, I’ve been watching Starlight (that’s what I’ve named our squirrel), and those are the words that best describe him. I wonder if they are words I could use to describe myself as I reflect on this past year.

Starlight’s natural setting extends from the rock wall behind my house, complete with fence line to travel across, long branches from an old Maple to hop along, to ivy stretching across every surface imaginable for hiding. I suppose his biggest predator is the neighborhood cat. But, he puts her in place often, and even if she doesn’t speak his language, it doesn’t stop him from loudly battering her with strong-willed emotions.


Emotions are typical when eagerness and contentment are at risk.

I find myself more emotional as the year closes because reflection infers judgement. I can’t escape reflection because everywhere I turn, these last days of December, there are reminders of the past twelve months. Facebook has its memories in a quirky, animated short. Since we only post the good parts of life, I usually feel melancholy or long for those times again. Commercials about taking off those final pounds and becoming healthier are just around the corner with New Year resolutions… assuming my previous eating habits were abominable. In fact, the media’s assumptions of my credit, my appearance, my education, and most everything else puts me in a frenzy to purge, and clean up the mess my life has become.

But, what if I want to appreciate my life as it is right now? What if I am eager and content to continue on the path I am on… one step at a time. I have goals and aspirations. They were set months ago. Some, years ago. Some are still toiling in the back of my mind.

I think I’m always in a constant reflection and growth pattern because I, too, am trying to live every day with eagerness and contentment. Whenever I find myself wanting more, I try and adjust my eagerness to work toward getting it. When I find myself stressing more, I attempt to adjust my contentment to work toward appreciating what I have. It isn’t always easy, but I think it goes back to gratitude, and being thankful for all our paths of life. Each part, positive and negative, tend to expose a piece of us for a reason… if you’re looking. However, feeling bad about my possibly messy life isn’t a good motivator for me. And yes, I can typically find something to feel good about, even when my dreams and aspirations might seem far away.

I don’t know if Starlight takes time to feel gracious toward my family for providing his daily birdseed, but, I think somehow, as he continues eager and content to gobble it up, it’s simply understood.

Starlight Squirrel

So, on this final day of 2017, I want to announce my contentment in my strides toward my writing goals, and praise the eagerness that keeps me working toward them. May I accept this gift of motivation from Starlight to keep me going in the New Year.

Writing Advice: Eager and Content Generated Lists

Look back on your year of writing, and think of five things eagerness may have helped you complete (or at least start). Then, five things in your life you feel content with. The reminders might do you well if you get sucked down that emotional reflection tunnel. I will share mine below:


  • Submitted poems to Tupelo Press in their 30/30 Challenge even when I didn’t feel ready
  • Started submitting poems for publication
  • Shared my fantasy novel with beta-readers I didn’t know (that gave me panic-attacks)
  • Started my writing journey blog
  • Prepared my query and synopsis to search for my tribe… and to find an agent


  • Created a writing environment in the corner of my bedroom (at least I have a space)
  • I’m seeing myself as a writer (even in the beginning stages of the career I desire)
  • Celebrating my small achievements (like the day I received notification I had ten blog followers)
  • Completed part of my reading goals (happy with the books I did finish, and throwing the ones I didn’t get to back in the mix)
  • Sooooo appreciative of my new writing friends I’ve met through a Facebook Writing Group.

My wish for you on the last day of the year is to take a realistic view of your reflection time. Feeling bad isn’t helpful. If you take a peek at my Starlight video, you’ll see that. The rain is pouring down his back, but he is contentedly filling his cheeks. So, let that be an inspiration for you. And hopefully, you will close out the year feeling content with your direction and eager to keep moving forward.

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