Whew! It took me a while to get here.
After a full December of holiday celebrations, reflections, planning, losing Lucy Belle, wallowing in nostalgia, grappling with the overwhelming feeling that an era has ended, and then spending the last week of the year in Pennsylvania accomplishing absolutely nothing (except time with family and friends), I finally started to feel ready to dust myself off and head into this new year.
And then a sinus infection followed by a stomach bug took me out for a week and left me feeling blah for a week after that. But now, after being sick with allergies/respiratory issues/head cold/sinus infection for almost the whole month of December and stretching into January, I’m finally, finally ready to tackle the new year.
2018 was hard in many ways, no doubt. A December of reflection and memories was exactly what my soul needed. But I can’t stay in that state forever.
Sitting here, in 2019, I think about what I do have. While 2018 contained lots of heartbreak and a decent dose of frustration, it still had some good points. We traveled a lot, B grew from a squishy toddler into a smart, sassy little boy, and we added Ruby Skye to our lives. I have a career I enjoy, I have a side freelance business that’s chugging along, and now I have a plan for getting back in touch with things that feed my soul.
But if December was about planning, January is about preparation - taking the steps I need to clear out the clutter to fully take on 2019, whether that clutter is digital (cleaning up my portfolio/website, computer files, photo files, etc.) or physical (organizing my and B’s art supplies).
Like I mentioned in a prior post, I participated in the Stratejoy Holiday Council to help get some organization around my thoughts, and it definitely helped! Part of that process was choosing a theme for the year, along with 5 ways of being.
After the past several years and how completely exhausted and beat up I feel, I almost went with Survive as my theme, but I decided to go just a little further than that and ended up going with Cultivate.
cul·ti·vate | \ ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt \
1 : to foster the growth of
2 : to improve by labor, care, or study: REFINE
3 : further, encourage
4 : to seek the society of : make friends with
I really wanted something fun like “explore,” but my brain and heart cannot handle that right now. I need some quiet, some routine, some groundedness, some peace. But I also don’t want to totally stop all activities that move me forward, so cultivate seemed perfect. It wasn’t too…active, but it also wasn’t passive either. Perfect for 2019. And my 5 ways of being support that: Decluttered, Open, Agile, Purposeful, and Resilient.
Basically if you sum up it all up into a neat little theme, 2019 would be: do less with more focus.
With all that in mind, here are my guiding principles for 2019…
Art as a way of life
I am super excited that B is getting back into art and crafts. He was really into painting when he was very, very little and then went through a phase where it didn’t interest him as much (cars! trains! dinosaurs!). But now he wants to draw and paint a lot, and I’m all about cultivating this instinct (see what I did there?). He’s also interested in beading and other kinds of crafts. Yay!
And I’m ready to embrace art and crafts for myself as well. Over the years, I’ve drifted too far from one of my favorite things to do (creating art) and have let that piece of my soul (and my skills) get rusty. As an adult, I was briefly able to get back to it through my jewelry business and during my MFA in grad school, but over the past several years, it’s gotten lost in the shuffle. Sure, I have a design career, but it’s not the same as creating art.
This year, I’m focusing on art, crafts, and jewelry design, and bringing B along while infusing art into our lives. I want to explore and learn new techniques and also refine (cultivate!) my skills.
Less fanatic but more consistent about fitness
I’m definitely not pulling back on running or fitness. However, mentally, after years and years of struggles and disappointments, I need a new outlook. It seems that although I got off to a really good start with running and hit goals in months instead of years, it took me way less time to plateau and actually get slower than it does many other people. While I think a good amount of that had to do with life circumstances that really beat me up physically, it’s still the way it is. The how and why doesn’t matter. It just matters that this is where I am today. I have no idea who I’ll be this year as a runner and what times I may see on the clock.
What I do know is that I’ll just keep running, adding in Orange Theory and barre workouts, and making some attempt to race again, whatever my times may be, and maintain a less strict schedule. For example, this past week, I did two Orange Theory workouts and ran three times. I missed barre, but some weeks that will happen depending on how my overall schedule shakes out.
I pulled the marathon off my calendar for March because my head is just not in it. And that’s not the right way to go about marathon training. I’ll see how I feel in the summer when it’s time to think about fall marathons. But I’m not pressuring myself to do anything here. I want to remember what it was like to run and actually enjoy races.
FOcus on what matters
In life, in work. This is a big one. I have a tendency to want to do all the things, all the time. And that is just not realistic and it’s a fast track to burn out. And I’m certainly suffering from burnout in many ways right now. So rather than throwing more energy into the things that contribute to that burn out, I’m pulling back and focusing on things that matter to me and will ultimately make me happier and move me toward my longterm goals.
In past years, I’ve made mindmaps with all of these things I wanted to do for the year. And many of those were things I thought I should do. None of that nonsense this year. This year is about focus and prioritizing - hobbies, personal life, work life, all of it.
So all of that said, I have no idea where I’ll go with this blog.
I have no goals specific to my blog this year, and I’m okay with that. I don’t feel like posting a ton about running and working out right now because, frankly, my running and workouts are pretty boring. I never meant for this blog to be just a fitness/running blog, but it sort of morphed into that. At the moment, I’m not sure what else I want to do. It’s not for lack of ideas, that’s for sure. I’ve got tons of those, but going back to that “focus” thing and working on what matters means I’m going to take my time.
What do you have planned for 2019? Is it a year of big goals for you or a quiet year of moving more slowly?