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2017 Reflections

Shooting in Big Sur, CA. 2017.

Every year I intend to write a yearly wrap up and I often don’t get around to it (excuses, right?). This year I’m making it happen, mostly because I know that the only way I’ll make it a habit is through discipline, practice, and writing the initial draft in early December :). I endeavor to write them for my own purposes – a way to document where I was and what I experienced – the nuances that slip away as time passes. My hope in sharing them is that there might be one thing that makes you think and maybe even inspires you to take a step forward in an area of your own life. This is the first installment – I’m also working on an essay on books I read + recommend in 2017 as well as my goals for 2018. 

Here’s a recap of my 2017 goals (full post):

Share yourself

Goal: share more of me with customers, with my community. Share my outside-of-work interests, the products that I research and love to discover, and personal curiosities.

Recap: I am proud of the strides I made in this area. I wrote and published eight essays, shared more personally on instagram, and shared myself with my community here in Austin. As always, I sent lots of emails to friends and new friends with recommendations for them based on our conversations and new things I learn as I go along [sign up for my newsletter if you’d like to get in on these – one of my 2018 goals :)]. I am looking forward to continuing to grow in this area next year.

My word: remarkable

Goal: Investing my time and energy into worthy causes/projects/relationships. I endeavored this year to spend my time only on ultra-relevant things.

Recap: I thought back to this word a lot this year. It helped me to decide to close the store, guided where and how I spend my time, and has even inspired me to invest more than ever in my education (through two intensive workshops and signing up for a semester long course this upcoming spring). I recently read this post and realized I’ve basically been DIYing my graduate education (for years but I’ve taken it seriously the second half of this year).

Ten strict pushups

Goal: I have long wanted to feel strong, a desire that stems from experiencing  profound weakness during surgery and treatments for cancer. My thinking for ten strict pushups was that I’d have to be full-body strong to do ten of them.

Recap: I could say I ‘failed’ at this as technically I did – I can’t do ten strict pushups (I can maybe do three). But I don’t see it that way. I have consistently pursued strength this year. I’ve worked with a personal trainer on weight training, taken yoga classes, walked several hundred miles (a good cure for those who tend to wake up anxious/grumpy like I do), and consistently chosen what feels good for my body. That is a win for me! And most recently, I’ve been working with a healer to reintegrate + reconnect parts of my body that I disconnected from a long time ago (due to early trauma). I’m releasing emotions + trauma that are stored in my body, learning how to properly use my body, and am beginning to work on deep strength. Working with Shannon has been the biggest gift and I can’t wait to see where I stand in my body one year from now.

One week money fast/month

Goal: Abstain from spending to practice awareness around spending, owning, and consuming for one week per month.

Recap: This was a wildcard for me and one that I entered the year open about seeing where I went with it. I ended up doing two or three proper money fasts early in the year before feeling like the practice wasn’t serving me (and continuing with them was just to prove my discipline). The few weeks that I did undertake a money fast were telling and I’m very proud of them. It’s hard not to spend money for a whole seven days! It takes planning, discipline, patience, and delayed gratification. It left me with more awareness around my motivation for purchases (Why am I buying this? Because I have great energy around it and I’ll thoroughly enjoy having it in my life? Or because I’m sad/frustrated/bored and looking for some gratification?). It was a great exercise for me and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more/gain perspective about their relationship with money.

More play/explore curiosities

Goal: Create space/time to explore curiosities/new skills I feel drawn to. Curiosity and desire to learn are the core of my being and I wanted to create space for more in my life. I felt particularly interested in photography and ceramics at the beginning of 2017.

Recap: Per usual, I knocked this one out of the park (written with complete humility). Learning and exploring curiosities is truly my favorite way to spend time and I had no doubt I’d find myself doing it more if I created time/space for it. This was one of the primary motivations behind closing the store. I had little capacity in my life to be open enough to even feel curious about new things, let alone what I was already interested in, during the year the store was open. Here’s what I ended up pursuing this year:

  • Photography: I took two classes with Austin School of Photography. I am confident shooting manual photography now (something I didn’t believe I’d ever be able to do) and I’ve even taken up shooting film as well!
  • Ceramics: I feel beyond fortunate to have studied with Eric Landon of Tortus this summer (a dream of mine that I emailed to myself on 9/25/15 and came true less than two years later). I spent seven days learning from Eric in his CPH studio and my skills have taken a giant leap from that time. I’ve since taken two courses at Austin Pottery and recommend them to local Austin friends. I am thrilled to pursue pottery more in the coming year.
  • Jewelry: I fulfilled a long-time goal of learning wax lathe carving with master carver Kate Wolf last month. I’m excited to incorporate these skills into my custom work as well as begin to pursue more collaborative projects. Wedding bands have been my longtime passion and were the motivation for why I got into jewelry in the first place. It feels good to go ‘home’ and begin to pursue more work that deeply resonates with my passions.

Hang out 1x/week

Goal: To spend more time in and with community with the hard goal of hanging out once per week.

Recap: Another goal that I went into with an open mind to see how it served and evolved for me. I definitely didn’t meet the once/week quota but I did make a consistent effort to spend time with friends and making new friends. I also learned that I go through cycles of feeling very social and then feeling like I want to hibernate/craving quiet space. And that’s ok! That’s true to me and I know that now, which is a win.

Prioritize self care

Goal: Focus on self care. Particularly focus throughout the day and in the morning (not just checking off right before bed). See self care as a foundational need, not a luxury.

Recap: I still keep a tiny spreadsheet checklist next to my bed and it serves as a reminder for me (not a ‘must do or feel guilty’ list). I now consider them rituals and I’ve trained myself to see self care as a core need, not something to categorize as a luxury or an indulgence (or feel guilty about). This is progress for me! I tend to be the person who denies my needs and instead focuses on achievements, which leads to a very stressed, not-fun-to-be-around being. That’s not to say I haven’t faltered – there are days at a time where I don’t track and that usually leads to a down day. Then on that down day I ask, ‘What’s the cause of my feeling depleted/anxious/depressed/drained/etc.? Am I taking care of myself?’. And then I go back to my checklist and start again. I edit my list every month just about and now focus on broad categories with lots of room for interpretation to keep it fun and functional. (here’s a link to my current ritual checklist – feel free to download, edit, and make it your own!)

Wowee that is a lot! As you can see – these aren’t strict pass/fail goals for me. I made them knowing that I’d interpret them differently at the end of the year than the beginning. That’s a win for me as I see growth in a changing interpretation of goals. I hope there’s a tidbit of information you can use/think on to inspire one small change (or one small step towards change) for you today, tomorrow, or even the next year.

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