What can I even say about this past year? It was Dickensian: the best of times, the worst of times.
I originally wanted to write you a really satisfying, inspiring post looking back at this past year, giving you the highlights and lowlights and noting what went well and what was hard. You know, one of those end-of-year-humble-brag-wrap-up things. But the truth is, they usually make me just want to cry when I read other people’s because they are kicking ass so effortlessly and I am kicking less with much effort. So then I thought– you know what??? Nah– I’m just ready to let this past year go.
Mostly I just feel a sense of awe that we all SURVIVED it all. Way to go, sister friend.
For me, this isn’t the kind of year where it’s particularly helpful to look back strategically and evaluate results based on data points and split testing (insert me laughing hysterically here– as if that’s EVER a thing I can do, haha, my data points are more like remembering a particular peony that blew me away with its petals).
All my best-laid plans for this year were washed away by the wave of change that swept my country’s political landscape, the emotional lives of my clients, and the everyday logistics of my family’s life.
Here we are, at the end of 2017, and everything looks different.
My country looks different. Devastatingly so.
I live in a different house. I am beyond grateful for these four loving walls and the breathing room it gives us.
My insides FEEL different. I went on some inner journeys this year, down into the dark deeps, and I came out a slightly different version of myself.
So here I am, on the cusp of this new year. I feel a little bruised and battered, a little wild and triumphant, and more than anything I feel ready to step forward into the arbitrary-but-nonetheless-helpful blank page of a brand new year and LIGHT IT UP.
I don’t know what this year holds. My plans are more humble than last year’s. But I do know what tools I bring with me.
I think it’s amazing to to set goals and make plans, but sometimes it’s helpful to focus more on the HOW than the WHAT.
To declare who you’re going to be– rather than what you’re going to get done.
It takes a lot of practical habits, wrenches, and pliers to keep my life running. I’m keeping those. But I’m also ready to bring some new energies to the table.
I don’t know what next year will bring me. But here’s what I’m bringing to it.
I bring a recommitment to beauty. Flowers on my table, sparkles in my earlobes, bright luscious paper lining the darkest of drawers. These simple joys fill me up with a simple childlike delight. They are not frivolities; they fuel my most sacred powers.
I bring a commitment to creating community. I’ll be present with my private clients, in the EFBA Circle, in the Queen Sweep Secret Society, in the Wise Women Book Club; beautiful and virtual ways to connect with you kindred spirits. But I want to gather with people in the flesh, as well– in my home, my neighborhood, and with far-flung friends.
I bring a recommitment to dancing powerfully with my money. It’s too easy to let the month explode, look back and shake our heads, and throw up our hands. But I want to plan deliberately for the crises, but also for the joys, too; to wrestle joyfully with this powerful energy.
I bring a commitment to my family. Lordy, I adore these people. I would do anything for them. I do all sorts of things for them, actually, and it’s one of the best things about my life.
And finally, I bring a recommitment to my own sacred solitude. This year showed me that time with my people must be balanced with time alllllll on my own.
Now hold up. That might seem like a lot of things. But most of them aren’t really new; I have been working with them for years. They aren’t resolutions or new habits; just beloved winds blowing more brightly.
And my actual goals are pretty tiny.
Like, really small.
To bring more beauty into my life, I have: new earrings, money in the budget for a dresser in our bedroom (the backdrop for dozens of seasonal art installations), and inner permission to buy gorgeous paper and line all the drawers in our house.
To bring more community into my life, I have started a free facebook group for us to talk about books, and a promise to myself to finally actually START hosting that monthly gathering for local entrepreneurs that I’ve been talking about for a year. (Nothing like public accountability; now I HAVE to do it!)
To work powerfully with my money, I will keep using YNAB, something I’ve been doing for years. My husband and I sat down and looked at our current, real monthly expenses. Then we created an “ideal” month, where we’d spend what we’d really like to spend on all those things we tell ourselves are out of reach– a family vacation, more money for clothes for him and I, the new car we keep putting off. It wasn’t a fantasy plan, where we live in a mansion and sail off in yachts, just a slightly roomier and more celebratory version of our actual life. We added it all up and looked at the difference between now and where we’d like to be. It was a significant number, but not an impossible one. It gives us something tangible to shoot for, and some true delights to look forward to when we get there. The whole thing took about 45 minutes. Boom, done.
To love on my family, I looked back at the highlights of this past year. They were so simple: dinner times, movie nights, stories and bedtime snuggles, and– dreadfully– the epic camping trip we took this summer. My husband and I agreed that the very best part of our marriage is our evening baths together with candles, and the just-the-two-of-us trip we took to Victoria. Those things are SO DOABLE! They don’t cost thousands of dollars or require heroics; they most just require us to remember to do them.
And to create solitude for myself, yes I can and will book solo trips and retreats for myself. But on a more micro level, I can book in those monthly massages that I’ve been saying I was going to book for oh, about six months. Oh heyyyy, it took about 15 minutes to book the next four months in. Boom.
In other words, I can have everything I want next year by doing the following: buying some pretty paper, writing an email and buying some wine, stretching toward an attainable financial boost, and remembering to keep on doing storytimes and bathtimes. And getting massages.
Isn’t that crazy???
The way from here to there is really quite simple.
Do I have other goals and things I want to get done? Of course. But if I focus on the little things I just wrote about, these humble sustainable things that bring so much joy, it doesn’t even matter as much whether I hit those milestones.
So here is my question to you.
No one knows what next year will bring you. But what will YOU bring?
P.S. Looking for more guidance to create a fabulous 2018? I have an interview in Planifest, where I talk about how I don’t believe in manifesting– but I do believe in CREATING. Go give it a listen here.
P.P.S. Have you joined the Wise Women Book Club?!?!?! Come join us (it’s free!) here, and tell me what you’re reading!