Happy New Year’s Eve! Nevermind that I have 14 unfinished blog posts to post (Romania parts 2 and 3, Paris with the Captain’s kids, other stuff) let’s dive in because there is no point in postponing today until I finish up yesterday.
And that is really the theme of my 2018: Do it today, and have forward motion (not inertia), and don’t let it all come to a standstill because it’s not perfect. Ah but we are skipping ahead! First, an ode to 2017.
BYE 2017, DO NOT LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE BUTT ON YOUR WAY OUT.
(Ok, that’s probably not entirely fair. Some really great things happened in 2017.)
This year was amazing in the following ways:
• The Captain and I started traveling together!! And we are good at it!
• Oh, also not to be too obvious but: The Captain! I cannot believe I have such an amazing partner in life. It was totally worth ten years of ridiculousness to get to this place. But if you can avoid a decade of insanity please skip right to the happy part, it’s glorious. Even when it’s bumpy it’s the best relationship of any kind I have ever had.
• I met THE KIDS.
• We went to Romania (amazing), Sweden (IT SNOWED!), Denmark (sweet), Paris (twice, amazing) and I spent my birthday in Helsinki, one of my favorite cities. The world was open this year and I walked through the door.
• I started sewing again, re-igniting a fire inside me that makes me happy to be alive.
• There was knitting! And The Captain learned to knit. And he’s kind of great at it which is the cutest thing ever but also, um, he may soon surpass me.
• Drew and G. met me and the Captain in Paris and then later in the summer, Drew came out to visit here in Los Angeles. Having a true friend is a gift and spending time together is the giftiest.
• Oh and I started blogging again, sort of 🙂
… And a lot happened here and in the world:
• Work doubled and then tripled and then doubled again and I went from zero direct reports to 12 with 14 active projects. Some projects are truly rewarding and I am happy just to have been a part of them. There were also some long sleepless nights over all kinds of contract drama and drama-drama and later in the year when some of our funding became tight, I had to make staffing changes and it was absolutely heart wrenching. I definitely lost sight of work-life balance and I have a LOT TO SAY about that, but more importantly I will not repeat another year of that. My 2018 is largely driven by my desire to be in balance.
• Moved to a new office. Decluttered the guest bedroom. Created a sewing room. Seems like moving crap from here to there was a big theme of 2017!
• … something something world politics. This is not a political blog, all I will say is that it was a wild ride and I am ready to get off the roller coaster. One of my recent goals was to limit my Twitter/news time and I think it’s helped a lot with the internal festering.
• The wildfires. California has experienced the most intense fire season that I can remember and coming home that one September evening and seeing the whole hillside lit up was indescribable.
• My health is out of whack. That’s how I can see the stress of 2017: it showed up in my body. I’m really excited to move into a fresh new year and move myself to the top of the to-do list.
That was what came to mind when I thought of 2017. It was a busy, insane year! And when I look on paper at some of the best parts (love, friendship, travel, a passion for making things) I wonder how I felt sometimes very unhappy. Was something wrong with me?
Then I listened to a podcast on happiness (“Shawn Achor, Part 1: The Secrets of Happy People” available here on iTunes) and in it, happiness researcher Shawn Achor gives his definition of the concept:
“Happiness is the joy you feel when striving toward your potential.”
When I heard that one sentence, I realized immediately why I was able to feel frequently unhappy even in a year when I have everything I always wanted (love, stability, love). Happiness is not about obtaining a goal. You don’t instantly feel happy forever the moment you meet your match or achieve your goal weight or get a raise. You might feel great in that moment but that one moment doesn’t sustain you forever.
It makes so much sense now: I feel unhappy when I am living in a way that is moving me away from my full potential. I mean, duh. But also I had never thought of it that way.
This way of reframing happiness feels very powerful. Happiness isn’t a thing I can achieve and stay at infinitely from one single action or achievement. It is a state of moving in the right direction. I LOVE THAT. I can do that!
And that is why I am writing today even though I haven’t finished the picture galleries on 14 unfinished entries. It also explains why sewing has become such a highlight for me this year — I didn’t wait to start sewing until I had a perfect space, I just started in a corner. The feeling I want (happiness) is available to me when I do the actions and have the attitude that moves me in the right direction.
I’m so ready to get into a new year with new goals and a new attitude. Glad we made it this far. Really excited to move forward! Happy New Year’s Eve to you! May it be full of champagne and navelgazing.