Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2019 Intentions

It's 2019! Holy hell. If I'm being honest, it's taken me a beat to really get into the swing of things after the holidays – and I'm not sure I'm there yet. I always love January – it's my birth month, for one thing, and it always feels fresh after the emotional weight the holidays tend to bring – but it's not exactly great for business. By that I mean, when January rolls around I always just want to turn inward and self-reflect, not necessarily spend a lot of time online or on social media. It's actually a trend I've noticed quite a bit in the new year, and frankly, it's refreshing. I saw a lot of bloggers and IG'rs taking actual, real time off this year, and being more intentional with their content, and I'm so happy to see it. It's an example we all need to set and a theme I plan to carry into 2019.

2019. Wild. Is it wild to you?

Looking back, I realize only now that 2018 was a pretty incredible year. In a lot of completely unexpected ways. At some point, I wrote in a journal or planner or something, "the year of growth" and it couldn't be truer. I let go of a lot of fear last year, which I know can partially be attributed to being in a more stable place, both physically and emotionally. 2018 easily could have been "the year of turmoil" (2017 was definitely the year of turmoil) – We moved to our place in Portland; I parted ways with a job that just wasn't the right fit that had caused plenty of anguish; went freelance for a few months; hiked more than I have in a long time; finally learned to surf; and carved out a full-time job that actually fits with what I'm passionate about. I also paid off a major debt that had been looming over us for a long, long time. This was somewhat unexpected, but possibly the best possible way I could have closed out the year. When I think back on most of these changes and experiences, I realize a lot of them could have thrown me more than they did. The way certain things the previous year had. But I handled it. And I'm so proud of myself for making it through and making it through positively – but that growth and pride and generally having had a good year, for once, has also put a lot of expectation on the year ahead.

So I've been taking the start of 2019 slowly. Intentionally. Trying not to set unachievable goals knowing the that the major things that happened in 2018 were mostly due to my own self-possession and less due to the goal setting I did at the start of last year (I'm not even sure I set intentions or resolutions last year?). But, there are a few themes I've decided to focus on:

Be more mindful with money
Notice I didn't say "stop spending" or "save X amount of dollars". I don't think hard goals like that would be helpful for me, but after paying off that debt I want to do all the things I told myself I'd do once it was gone: Save more, spend less on things like clothes and home stuff and all those other little things that are constantly tempting and pile up over time, and invest more in experiences and education. Now that a huge chunk of my money isn't going towards that huge monthly bill, I aim to redirect those funds to something more meaningful. Save it. Do things. Chris and I are thinking about taking a trip overseas this summer, and just being able to actually consider that as an option feels so freeing, and it feels good knowing that there's one less roadblock to us eventually buying a house.

That said, it's really hard to stop wanting things. But this year I'm aiming to really delve deep into the why behind the want. Because I know it goes deeper than simply liking something and wanting to own it. I really want to work on myself in this way this year.

(Re)define my style
On a very-much-related note: Like the rest of the Western world, I watched one episode of Netflix's Tidying Up last weekend and immediately Marie Kondo'd my closet for what feels like the millionth time. It feels good to lighten the load, but it also puts into perspective just how much I have. As a lover of vintage, getting rid of stuff can be particularly hard. My attachment to things tends to be largely sentimental, and sentimentality can be difficult to contend with, making it hard to move forward. Along with that, I've had to be really honest with myself lately on what's actually functional for my life now. Example: I haven't worn heels, except for going to weddings, since we moved here. Hills + weather + cobblestone streets aren't exactly heel-friendly, not to mention why would anyone want to wear heels? My boot wardrobe, on the other hand, has grown considerably.

I'm not about to start wearing Carhartts and hiking boots everywhere, but my job requires easy movement and when I'm not working from home or moving things at work, I'm doing something active. Which is awesome, but I'd be lying if I told you I didn't occasionally miss having more opportunities to dress up more. Or even get dressed. I've realized though that this is less about missing dressing up and more about not knowing what to wear for my life now. I tried on a couple of things that had been hanging in my closet, unworn, for a couple of years, and realized they're not for me anymore, but I'm not sure what is. So without going full-on shopping spree (see above), it's time to move stuff out to make room for what works - and I need to figure that out.

Right now I'm loving cool but ultra-functional boots like these, lightweight but super soft cashmere, and easy to move in vintage-inspired denim.

Increase my skillset
This may sound like small potatoes, but this week I cooked fish for the first time. I also learned how to poach an egg. Tiny victories, yes, but meaningful ones (I'm not an adventurous cook – I leave that to Chris) and it felt good to learn something new, however small. That's a theme I'd like to continue for the new year – learning and increasing my skillset, whether it's a kitchen technique, recipe, learning to rock climb, or finally going through the steps I need to take to refresh this blog. I think as an adult it's easy to get used to going through the motions, we forget how exciting and satisfying it is to learn and finally (maybe) master something. To stop wondering how to do something and begin the steps towards knowing. I'm still working to pinpoint the specific things I'd like to teach myself, beyond simply having the goal to learn, but I'll keep you updated!

Over the past several months I feel as though I've had to relearn how to take care of myself. I started 2018 living in the woods, feeling fragile and super stressed out and I ended it living in a city I love, having finally built up my strength again – both physically and mentally. I found my way back to yoga – something that, at certain points last year, felt impossible – and that's the general theme I want to cultivate: Strength – in finances, in self-efficacy, in skills and ability. It's hard to resist the urge to make grand, over the top resolutions, but I know from years past it's the little things that make the biggest difference – those small intentions that are easily kept in the back of your mind.

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish this year?


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