Clean Slate

Do you remember a toy called the Etch-A-Sketch? It was an 8 x 10 screen encased in red plastic with two knobs that, when turned, created thin graphite lines on the screen. It was one of my favorite childhood toys.  The downside was that you could only draw vertical lines – but since I wasn’t much of an artist, it didn’t really matter to me.

One of my favorite things to do was twist and turn those knobs almost maniacally, until the entire screen was black with graphite shavings. Then I’d turn the Etch-A-Sketch upside down, give it couple of swift shakes, and all the lines would disappear.

Clean slate.

I feel somewhat the same way on the days leading up to January 1 each year. I scurry around trying to tie up all the loose ends of the Old Year before I turn my life upside down and shake it to start January 1 with a clean slate.

This year was one of new beginnings – I left my job while my husband returned to his. I started spending more time on my writing, and took a writing class which was exciting and enlightening. My son and daughter in law moved from Florida to Texas, and promptly embarked upon the ultimate fresh start – a new baby, our grandson Connor, who was born on November 14.

Although there weren’t a lot of things in 2011 that need erasing, the idea of starting fresh is still very appealing. Brand new years inspire the kind of shake up I used to do with my Etch-A-Sketch, the kind that wipes away all the messiness and ugliness of the year gone by. Clean pages on the calendar spark ideas for ways to fill them with satisfying experiences,

I want 2012 to be a year of more new beginnings. I want to find my way into more creative outlets, especially musical ones. We hope to move to a new home in 2012, a major undertaking that we’ve put off for our entire adult lives and one that is long overdue. I want to be excited about that, and embrace the idea of this change with enthusiasm and positive energy.

There is likely to be sadness and loss during 2012. When you reach our stage of life, it seems almost inevitable. But I hope whatever losses do come are tempered with enough joy to make them bearable.

On this last weekend of 2011, I hope you are reflecting on the positive elements of this past year, and looking forward with eager anticipation to new challenges and experiences in the year ahead.

Go ahead – shake it up and turn it over.

Clean Slate.







19 thoughts on “Clean Slate

  1. Becca,

    You’ve got it so right!! shake it up! Turn it over!! Blessings to you in the New Year and have a wonderful time finding a new place to live. Very exciting!!


  2. I like this etch-a-sketch metaphor very much, Becca. Good luck as you wrap up the year and forge ahead into the next. I look forward to reading more and learning from you in the new year. Happy New Year my friend! 🙂

    • I’m so glad we met this year, Melissa. You are definitely one of those go-to writers when I need some inspiration 🙂 I hope your 2012 is filled with many good things – I can’t wait to read about them!

  3. I, for one, am looking forward to a clean slate in 2012. This hasn’t been my favorite year, but then I suppose as we age, as you noted, not all things are cheery. I’m shaking it up, I think, but how, I’m not yet sure. Guess we’ll see!

  4. Yes, I remember the Etch a Sketch very well, played with it so many years ago and then bought one for my daughter when she was young. The trick to diagonal lines was to be able to twist both knobs at the same time, my goal was to always run a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Totally useless lesson in perseverance.

    2012 will be a big year for me, planning to retire at the end of 2012 and spend most all of my time on Rotary and volunteering more, really looking forward to it. That will be my new clean slate.

    Looking forward to following your adventures in writing, retirement and hanging with that new grandson Connor.

    • This is indeed a momentous year for you! I have a feeling you’ll be like my friend Pat, who retired only to take on an entirely new set of “fun” work projects..and she’s loving every minute of it 🙂

  5. Yes, I remember the Etch-a-Sketch – they were always red, too!

    Good luck with your creative challenges in 2012. I’d love to take a writing residential course. Happy New Year!

  6. Shake it up, turn it over, love it! There is something so very appealing about the clean slate, isn’t there? I feel a similar sense of excitement and anticipation during these last few days of the old year and look forward to witnessing your continued journey of new beginnings. Wishing you a happy and amazing New Year, Becca! xo

  7. I felt like I was shaking things up earlier this week, when I went through the playroom with a trash bag and a donate box and attacked the toys. Then I put the leftover toys in Dillon’s room and Blake’s room. The playroom is now a clean slate for the nursery. My goal for today is to finish taking down the decorations and getting the house clean… so I can enter 2012 with ease.

    Cheers to the clean slate and the new chapter for all us!

  8. I just love this! Such a cool connection. I actually think of etch a sketch every time I have to write my name on one of those little credit card machines in stores. :<) May the new year bring wonderful things. I'm eager to see the house.

    • You’re so right about those machines – my signature looks as illegible as if it were on a toy!

      I’m anxious to see a new house too! I hope we find one.

      Happy New Year, Nan!

  9. Ah, yes, the old Etch-A-Sketch. Who could forget?

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines. By the time you get to our age you recognize the mix of good and bad that comes with every year, and we must expect some sadness and loss. As you say, the hope is that the good outweighs the bad. I’ve heard there are several things that most centenarians have in common, but the most likely characteristic you will find in someone who lives a long life is the ability to accept loss and carry on.

    I hope you move forward into 2012 with great anticipation of the joy your new grandson will bring into your life. Happy New Year, Becca!

  10. Oh, my. I go back even farther than the Etch-a-Sketch! There was a tablet with a sheet that you drew or wrote on with a stylus. Then, you could just pull up the sheet and everything disappeared!

    But the idea’s the same, and just as appealing. You have a new grandson and will have a new house. I haven’t the slightest idea what will come newly into my life, but something surely will, by default. There’s a lot of room to fill up, and deciding what that will be is exciting!

  11. Pingback: Let’s Start Over, OK? « Becca's Byline

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