As the old year ended, I faced some endings of my own.

I (finally) finished my master’s degree. I took the slow track—one course at a time—and concentrated on topics that intrigued me. Each semester’s syllabus brought new expectations: read this, write about that. As I ambled toward my goal, I cherished the order that grad school imposed over my days and weeks, in the time beyond work and family and home.

I’m also simultaneously facing my waning days as a hands-on mother, since one of my chicks has flown the nest and the other is making plans to flee. Happily, I’ll always be a mother, of course, but the schedule has dwindled from full-time, to part-time, to freelance. (As it should.)

So as the new year begins, I need to dream up my own new challenges.

Having just turned 55, I’ve decided to give myself assignments in sets of 55. In my reading, it’s 55 books this year—one for each week, with three more thrown in for good measure. Most importantly, I aim to write—a little or a lot, but at least something—about each one.

Even during my busiest semesters, I always had a book “on the side” for pure pleasure. But I’m not really sure how many books I’ve read in any given year, and I seem to have forgotten the essential details about a lot of them. I might remember the subject or a vivid scene, but not the title or the author.

I’m not sure whether I’ll meet this self-challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. Well—at least the reading part. I’ve already finished two books (honestly, both begun in 2012) and have cracked the third, with not a single post to account for them. I’ll make up for that momentarily . . .

Happy new year!