Taking Stock

Al_NewportOR_2015
Any kind of life change affords one the opportunity to do some reflecting, a little looking forward, and the chance to contemplate what’s next. And what’s here now. It may seem silly, but how often do we pause to look around right where we are?

Earlier this year, I shifted my focus to more cerebral pursuits – I wanted to make creativity a priority again, to get in a better mindset overall. At the gym, I had had my foot on the gas for too long, so to speak. And so I did. I eased up a little. I still trained – but only three or four times a week instead of four or five. I stopped going heavier, instead making sure my workouts were consistent and made me feel good, not whipped. And when I got home, I read books on creativity and did some writing. Nothing worth publishing, nothing for public eyes. And while it didn’t seem like I was accomplishing anything at the time, it allowed me to grease the wheels and just start. Along the way I closed up the blog and excused myself from social media – just to quiet my mind for a little while. Enough with all the external information, it was time to just look around at the here and now – in my neighborhood, in my own world, in my head. Or, as I explained it to a friend:  just do me for a while. Continue reading

Slow Start – Happy 2015

2015goals
Just when you thought you’d managed to escape all those “welcome to a new year!” posts, up creeps another one, damn near into February. I took a blogging hiatus in November, focusing on fitness, changes in my job, and of course, holidays. Let’s just say I’m easing back into things.

Last year I wanted to post something every week – while that’s fantastic, I realize that’s not exactly realistic for me. That’s a “best case” kind of thing. I like to write about my travels, books I’ve read, maybe even start doing personal style or recipes. But all of those things take time to actually DO. Rather than stress out about not posting, or posting drivel (which the internet is already FULL of), I’d rather wait and create posts of substance. I’ve come across plenty of blogs that post simply for the sake of posting, and boy can you tell. So there’s my first new lesson on the year: Substance and style. Always both.

Looking back at last year’s goals, I did a pretty good job. Here’s something I learned towards the end of the year: Sometimes I’ll get into new things that just don’t fit on the blog, like working out and changing eating habits. Did I say yes, cultivate enthusiasm, reach out, and follow through? Yes on all those things. (Maybe even enough for a post, now that I’m three months down the road.) At the time it wasn’t really blog-post-Instagram-worthy stuff, but still really exciting for me. Which leads to some thoughts for 2015:

  • Be kind – on myself, on others, in the moment. 2015 will be the year of “cutting the world some slack, myself included.” There are many areas of life in which I’m just too harsh; I can be quick to judge and even quicker with a rude remark to myself. It’s not helpful. I’ve read in a few places that you should never talk to yourself any differently than you would a close friend. That’s a good place to start. (Dear inner-monologue, it’s okay to be honest, it’s not okay to be mean.)
  • Make plans – I’ve found if I don’t actually plan things, they just don’t happen. I’m perfectly content puttering around the house. It’s easier to be spontaneous once you’re already out of the house. So make plans that involve getting out of the house.
  • Say yes – I know this was one of last year’s goals, but I’m sticking with it. It’s relevant, and could lead to some great adventures. Also, saying yes will help make plans.
  • Start small – It seems everyone else is already an expert – have you noticed this? Thanks to technology, if you’re not “putting it out there,” it didn’t happen. It can be too overwhelming to even start. This year I’d like to ignore the paralyzing “expert or nothing” mindset, and just start. (That might mean some pretty rough blog posts with shoddy photography, but how else do you learn? Waiting until everything is perfect is how you end up without any posts for over two months. Oh…wait.) So start small and then remember: be kind. (See step one.)
  • Last but not least, and more of a personal memo: Don’t eat that – Pretty obvious. I’m looking at you, brownies, bagels, ice cream, waffles, fries…

The good news is that I’ve had a lot of time to stew up new ideas and projects. I’m hoping with a little diligence they’ll come to fruition.

How about you? Any little reminders you’re keeping in your pocket this year?

Fresh Start.

2014 Fresh Start
For a blog about personal enrichment, I really missed the mark in 2013. That’s a little harsh; I did revamp the site and start posting more regularly. And, since once of my 2014 goals entails more self-compassion, we’ll chalk it up to the starts and stops that a new endeavor often brings. I’m a sucker for new beginnings. Whole-heartedly. Whenever I hear about people starting new jobs or moving to a new city, I get a little jealous. Every month, every year, every September, every season change feels like new opportunity. Some more so than others. So with that admission, I will gladly jump on the Fresh Start Bandwagon of 2014. (That’s what I’m calling it.) Continue reading