2016 – Explore

I can’t believe I’m already thinking about next year! I am SO on top of it! Well, not really. With my luck (and procrastination skills), this post probably won’t be up until June 2016. (note: I started this post in October 2015)

The realization that I was in the 4th quarter of 2015 though shocked me. I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by and all the amazing things I’ve been able to do! it’s really been incredible. If I could sum up this year, I would definitely use “play” as the word. Everything I have focused on was fun and pleasure. When I think about some of the things I’ve learned in 2015, I feel overwhelmed. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is just how to deal with one change at a time. To take a slow, methodical approach to change and allow it to really become a part of life, a new habit. I’ve also learned how to be on my own in a completely different way. I’ve learned how to take risks and figure things out in a pinch. I’ve learned how to be uncomfortable. I’ve learned how much time I need to myself in order to reset, recenter, and find strength.

With that realization, I started thinking that maybe 2016 should be a better blend of fun and responsible growth. While 2015 was filled with 4 activities that I focused on (writing, dance, travel and music), I think I want 2016 to be filled with themes. Now, I just have to figure out what those themes are. But a few things that I know I want to work on is money management, taking care of and the presentation of myself, maintaining a nice home, and really elevating my life to a better, more aware standard.

When I think about what I want my life to be, this is the picture I paint: Financial security, a job that I enjoy and provides me with the benefits I need to do everything else that I’m passionate about; I want to live simply, keeping my expenses low so that I can do things that fulfill me. I want my life to be balanced between fun and exciting experiences and managing my life in an adult way. I’m going to leave my whiteboard set up in the four quadrants, showing my year in quarters, but the things I do/achieve I’m going to write in specific colors to signify 4 different categories: Pleasure (pink); Harmony (blue); Responsibility (purple);Self-Care (green).

It took me awhile to figure out what my word for 2016 was, but when it came, I knew it was perfect: Explore. I want to explore. I want to explore every facet of my life and take every detour that comes up. I want to think outside the boxes I’ve put myself in and embrace the possibility of change. I want no area of my life to be off-limits.

I want to focus on my career and where that can take me. I don’t want to have a career that consumes me but I want to take pride in what I do and feel myself growing. So, I think that means I need to network. I want to find a community that I can relate to, even find a place to volunteer some of my time. I need to buckle down and get this damn certification as well before my study materials expire.

Art is definitely something I’m going to focus on exploring in 2016, not so much making it, but appreciating it, finding events centered around it, and art in all mediums. I can’t believe how important this area has become to me over the past year. My heart explodes every time I experience something artistic and reconfirms over and over that while I may not be an artist in my career, I certainly am one at my core. Allowing that love to grow and breathe truly gives me life.

I also want to try and be very mindful of my choices as after watching countless documentaries on my long holiday weekends, I find my heart heavy, wondering where our ethics are going and why? I actually don’t think most people are being LESS ethical, but LESS mindful of their choices. They’re simply feeding into a system that’s being created by unethical people. And that’s not OK with me. So, if it’s not OK, then I have to choose to be mindful of the choices I make.

I don’t think it will come to anyone’s surprise that my biggest area of exploring this year will be with travel. I know I still owe this blog a bunch of posts about my trips, and I’ll get to them eventually (hopefully), but suffice it to say, I’ve caught the bug. The need to go out and see the world has become so strong that it consumes me. It’s all I think about, how I can squeeze every ounce of PTO into traveling and not getting sick or wasting it on a lazy day at home. It drives me to continually look at my monthly expenses and try to pare them down. I am convinced, compelled and thoroughly enamored with seeing the world for what it is, for allowing those places to shape and change me, to challenge me and provoke me. I don’t want to be the white, American girl who lives in her McMansion and has designer clothes and no sense of reality. I don’t want people to tell me what it’s like in Africa, I want to see it. I don’t want to live in fear of cultures not understood. We’re all responsible in some way for the world we live in, and its our duty to see it for what it is and I plan to do just that.

And as always, relationships will play a key role in my year of exploration. I guess I kind of feel like I’m floating a bit relationally. I feel stagnant in my friendships. I don’t feel as though some are really meeting my needs and I’m not sure what to do about that because I’ve always been a “stick-it-through-til-the-end” kind of gal, but over the last few years, I’ve been learning how to let ones go that aren’t really beneficial to me. The ones that really give me life are the friendships that are challenging to find time for, for various reasons and the idea of going out, finding new places/spaces to meet people is quite frankly, really daunting. I feel exhausted just thinking about it. It’s also frustrating when I actually do find friends, but they’re not based in Seattle, or they’re moving, or any number of oddities that makes forming a friendship challenging. Blergh. But, I’m vowing to be intentional in my choices, in creating time for the ones who really do inspire me, challenge me, and feed me. And I’m vowing to put myself out there in ways I haven’t before.

So, here we go, 2016 (and I’m only a couple days late on posting this!). I’m excited to see how this year goes!



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