2010: How I Did Love Thee

Happy New Year
Happy 2011!

If you’re reading Passenger Conners, you have at least an inkling of what a transformative year 2010 has been for me: I’m traveling the world, unemployed by choice, homeless by plan and living a dream. It’s not been a bad year, I say. But I have no real desire to wax philosophic on my past 364. Today is, as it should be, about today.

A few traditions have made their way into my New Years Eves in the past few years, thanks in large part to inspiration from my friend, Shay, and I see no reason not to continue these little acts of happiness and closure while on the road. So from Saigon, a wee insight into the plan:

  1. Create a list of those things you want to, or need to, let go of in the upcoming year. Anything goes – anything you don’t want to take with you. Take said list, crumble it and burn, baby burn! We really do burn our lists in a symbolic “doing away” with the items. Of course, be careful and keep water nearby! This year, as I’m in a hotel in Saigon, I might just have a symbolic “ripping up.” I’d hate to be responsible for a hotel fire at the start of the new year.
  2. Write a “Gratitude List.” Here’s a list of everything – from the big to the minuscule – that I’ve been grateful for. This ranges from the gigantic (family and friends and health and a trip ’round the globe) to the tiny (wine and cheese nights on the balcony). Keep this list close by. Sit with it. Read it occasionally. It will cheer you, I promise.
  3. Create a list of “Things to Embrace” in the new year. Much as we all need to let go of a things, it would do us well to embrace a few things, I think. Like love, and kindness, writing more, travel more – whatever it may be. Keep this list even closer. Read often. It will inspire you, I promise.

And finally, in our last little act, we read over the gentle, brilliant Irish philosopher John O’Donohue’s blessing, “At the End of the Year.” I leave you, my friends, with his words and my wishes from the core of my heart for a happy 2011.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.

– John O’Donohue


  1. Rhea Auerbach says:

    Amen!!!!! A happy, healthy, prosperous and PEACEFUL New Year to you, sweet Valarie!!!

    Hugs, Rhea

  2. I love this! I was in Buenos Aires to ring in the 2006 New Year and there they tear up their calenders as a way of shredding the old year and bringing in the new. On Jan 1st of the new year, you see tons of shreds of paper all over the streets. It’s a pretty cool tradition and your post reminded me of it. Happy New Year Val! I will keep living vicariously through you for now! πŸ™‚

  3. Oh, lady! Well done! Since it will probably be hard for me to break in/out/on to the Dorchester’s roof to read some John O’Donohue in Myconners tradition, I’ll have to pause in the middle of Rittenhouse square on my walk home from yoga tonight and read a little O’Donohue to bless the new year! I LOVE YOU!!!! Happy New Year, my dear sister!! Here’s to an AMAZING 2011! It’s going to be the best year yet, I can feel it in my fingers and my toes! No lie:)

  4. excellent–well stated, Val!! πŸ™‚

  5. Oh my dear daughter,I lift my glass to yours and say, here here and Happy New Year! I wish you all of life’s most precious gifts in the New Year and forever. Well done, my love..Momala

  6. Oh Val, happy, happy new year! I can’t wait to see what 2011 brings for you!

  7. Great checklist and wise words from Mr. O’Donohue. I’ll have to admit that burning things probably wouldn’t be the best option for me — for SO many reasons. Remember “Waiting to Exhale?” Relax… relate… release. Let God, Let Go. And done. LOL!

    In my year-end post, there were several things I reflected back on in 2010. I even briefly mentioned you and a few other TC peeps. Anyway… luv you, boo! Safe travels and best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!

  8. Thank you Val, you amazing woman, for an inspiring way to end a year and start another. I’m going to do what you suggest. I love checking in with your blog from time to time and witnessing your spirit and courage! You go girl. Love you and sending you warm wishes for a great year ahead!

    • Valerie Conners says:

      Oh my kimmy – how I dearly miss your energy and spirit! I hope your New Years was wonderful and that all is well with you and Josh. I swear on our kindred spirits that we will see each other this spring/summer when I get back – it’s an absolute must. We need to be together for a bit. thank you for your words – you inspire me RIGHT BACK. Love love love you!