That’ll be my personal theme for 2013, and it is the first word of my blog in over a year.  Here in Japan, they vote for a kanji at the end of each year.  Last year was “kin”, the Chinese character for gold, which happens to be the same Chinese character for my family name, pronounced, “Kim” in Korean. But if I had a word for last year it probably would have been “Fathering”.

I used to work at a natural food store and at the top of every receipt was printed, “breathe”.  None of us needs a reminder to breathe.  Thankfully, it’s pretty automatic.  But we need a reminder to breathe fully.  We need to be reminded to still ourselves now and then and pay attention to our breath.  So that’s what I’d like to do more of this year, the Year of the Snake.

The entire Year of the Dragon passed by without one blog post.  I could use fatherhood as an excuse.  I took time off to take care of my daughter in my wife’s first year back from maternity leave.  It was amazing but also pretty tough and exhausting. I ain’t gonna lie, some of it was hell, but I’d do it all over again. So I had plenty to write about and enough time to write it.  But I didn’t.

I’ll blame it on the Dragon, as they have been blamed for a multitude of ills and wrongs throughout history and literature and they don’t seem to be fazed by it.  The Dragon is not a particularly contemplative creature.  They don’t sit down and write about their thoughts or muse on the significance of their actions.  They breathe hot fire, fly towards shiny bright things, and try to sleep when they can.  That pretty much describes 2012 for me.  Except I did more fuming than fire-breathing, more limping than flying, and definitely did not get enough sleep.

The Snake on the other hand is drawn to cool shady corners and do a lot of observing, tasting the situation, slithering from one thought to another.  They take forever to eat things; an event may leave a visible lump for hours or days until it’s fully digested.  And shedding.  They are forever outgrowing themselves.

And that’s me now.  Breathing (and shedding).