We’re in the middle of my favorite time of year: a holiday break with my family. We’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing, and it’s been wonderful. I hop off of social media, read books, sleep as much as possible, and plan out the next year.
Truth be told, a chunk of my planning happened during the Thanksgiving break. With my kids being involved in their activities, work increasing, and a big physical goal set for next year, it’s required that I plan or it will all fall apart.
As always, I work out my family’s priorities first. There are some really fun and scary things happening in 2021. It’s going to be a year of change, and that’s why I’ve chosen INNOVATE as my guiding word.
Many of you have heard about choosing a word to anchor you throughout the year, and it’s a method that has worked well for me in the past. That, along with setting “manageably uncomfortable” goals, has helped me accomplish most of what I’ve set out to do. New Year’s resolutions don’t fizzle out for me…they never have. They are active agents used constantly through the year.
INNOVATE is a big word, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to use it. I’m not the person who’s going to innovate the art or interior design world. But I do like marching to the beat of my own drum, and that’s where I felt I could dig into the word deeper. The journey started several years ago when I realized I needed to redefine success (see previous posts) for ME, and it’s working. I have fallen in love with my vocation again, and it’s simply because I refuse to play by the “shoulds” laid out by many around me.
This is my path.
I’m innovating life, not an industry. The industry is a voracious machine that will use you and then it will spit you out as soon as someone else comes along that turns more heads. It’s inexhaustible. I’ll play along if I wish….or not.
You can do the same.
After I pick my word, then I split my goals into categories.
Health & Fitness
This year I’ll be attempting my first 50K.
I’ll be doing the same race I’ve always done, but I’m doubling back and completing the longer distance. After thirteen 25k finishes, I decided it was time to test myself at a new distance. This has actually been on my mind for the last several years. I always backed out because I didn’t know how I’d find the time to train, I knew I’d have to do a lot of it alone, and I’m nursing a very belligerent I.T. band injury.
Nothing has changed. My leg still bothers me and I’m not getting any less busy, but over the years, this has become sacred time for me in the mountains. I will forever have stories of seeing waterfalls, shooting stars, meadows of white butterflies, and a few scares with moose (and an aggressive sage hen). I’m gearing up and choosing courage, and hopefully my leg will cooperate in some form or another. I’ve spent the last two months building my body back to its base, and it seems to be no worse for the wear. I am shooting to complete the 8800 feet of climb and descent in 10 hours. That feels doable, but without a ton of slack, with my age and from my past experiences with the 25K.
I’ll turn 40 in 2021. I don’t get caught up in numbers easily, but I’m grateful I’ve had a chance to be here this long.
Dave and I will also celebrate our 20th anniversary. We’re planning a weekend motorcycle trip through Yellowstone and Bear Tooth pass in Montana. Did you know I’ve never been to Yellowstone? People are shocked because we live here, but I haven’t ever wanted to fight the tourists. However, Dave thinks it’s pretty silly too, so I conceded to go. We rode a Harley on our honeymoon, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know how you can love anyone more than the day you married them…I’d heard of such things…but I am so incredibly grateful for the chance to do life with Dave. Honestly, it’s a bit of a crap shoot when you decide to marry someone. It’s a risk. Thank goodness I am with someone who has challenged me, loved me through dark times, makes me laugh, brings an infectious energy to everything he does, and still makes my heart flutter. I don’t know that many people get that chance, and it’s an absolute privilege.
We’ll also be dropping our oldest daughter off at college and we’re trying to figure out how it will feel without her near all the time. I’ve cried and I’ve been excited. I hope she loves college as much as I did.
I’m so thankful I’ve developed hobbies and interests. It’s been fun for Dave and I to think about what we’ll do when the kids are gone (they’ll all have flown the nest in six years), and I have to say, we’ve conjured up some fun stuff.
We’ll see what plays out.
Work & Finances
I’ll officially be in business 12 years by August 2021.
It has been the most exasperating, wonderful, freeing, and heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever done besides having kids. In some ways, I’ve felt even more vulnerable with this journey than I have as a mother, although I might read this back later and disagree with myself.
In short, it’s been hard.
But through all the struggle, there are some things that have gotten easier that I never thought possible. It’s definitely made me strengthen my back and speak up, even if I’m shaking. Other than refining my work week better, I don’t have anything too big on the horizon for work. I have numbers I want to meet, but that’s a given when you have a kid going to college.
Some of the things I want to implement?
Mondays will be cushion days. After the weekend, Mondays feel chaotic. I’m hoping giving myself some grace to organize and schedule will help, instead of trying to make it the most productive day.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will be heavy production days, and Thursday will still be business development where I do marketing, fix never-ending website problems, and write for my sites or newsletters.
Saturdays are for family and Sundays are screenless and recovery.
Life is too messy to be able to stick to that schedule perfectly, but I think the refinements will help.
Other than that, I’ve had this quote written down to help me with my creativity:
A work of art can help people understand the nature of their suffering, and have insight into how to transform the negative and to develop the positive in themselves. Writing, making a film, and creating a work of art can be an act of love. That act of love nourishes you and nourishes others. If you’re happy, if you know how to live deeply every moment of your life, then deep understanding, joy, and compassion can come. Your art will reflect this….”Thick Nhat Hanh
I once had a teacher tell spiritual quests are filled with more questions than answers, but we grow while we seek those answers. That has always comforted me, because I used to like putting everything in a tidy box.
Life has turned out to be anything but tidy. It’s been a relief to know the journey is more fun than standing on top of the mountain.
I hope in some way that helps you….I will keep the rest of this category to myself. Not everything has to be splashed across the internet.
A Quick Glance Back
Looking forward is always better when you can thank the previous year for lessons learned. So here goes nothing…..
2020 was heavy. Lots of things happened that were life-altering. Our family went through sh*!!y stuff along with everyone else. Since there’s no avoiding it, I want to at least mine some wisdom or lessons learned.
The first thing that comes to mind is teachers.
I’m so thankful that we have what I believe to be the best group of public school teachers in the country. It’s a vocation my family is in on both sides, and they do miracles with our kids. Public school is messy. Bureaucratic. At it’s core though, there’s the belief that everyone (even if they don’t want it) deserves an education. That’s never been done before in history. We are the first ones (looking back to the founding of America) to test that belief and move it forward, as messy as it is. And I’m grateful that there are people willing to fight that fight. I hope parents would remember this, and be more kind.
Next, I’m grateful for Wyoming.
For the first time, it has felt like a huge advantage to live here, and Dave and I are busy because it seems the world is looking for refuges. But you have to remember, living in Wyoming is a different lifestyle. We already know how to grow, hunt, and store our own food. It’s been a requirement. Covid didn’t alter our life in extreme ways. I was still able to do all of my usual activities, but an outdoor lifestyle is what I live. We ride horses, bikes, and run in the mountains for fun. Shopping and entertainment aren’t found here. We can’t stop it from changing; we can just hope that that a little wild is left in tact as its allure grows. I’m grateful Dave brought me back, although at first it was kicking and screaming. It has made me whole again.
A few other things that 2020 gifted:
Sourdough bread. I don’t think I would have ever attempted it if yeast hadn’t disappeared from the shelves, and I’m so glad. It’s quickly becoming my favorite, even though it’s slow and I’ve made a lot of bad loaves. It requires your full attention, which is a lesson in and of itself. There’s something about getting a good loaf that is satisfying in the strangest way.
The final thing I’ve been so fortunate about this year was my clients.
I’ve never had a more incredible group of people to work with. You are fun, decisive, forgiving, and daring. Thank you for trusting me with your homes and to add some of my art to your spaces. I hope I get to professionally photograph and share them in 2021!
Happy New Year, friends.
What will you be working on?