It’s been an interesting year for me. I don’t feel like 2016 was a year of accomplishments, but more a year of self-realization. Walking away from a fancy VP title at a great advertising agency and moving to a VERY part-time freelance role drastically changed my life. No need to rehash, as I wrote about it previously but damn I miss having those daily co-worker relationships. I don’t know if I’ve ever spent as much time alone as I did this year. Franny goes to school two days a week, but I’m typically tied to the computer working and not exactly getting out and seeing people. I think so much solitary time naturally led to more time thinking and analyzing, hence the year being a year of reflection and self-realization.
I’ll hit a couple highlights, but mostly I’m thinking about goals for 2017.
Franny: I’ve internally referred to 2016 as the year of Franny. She was my main focus this year and for good reason. We started the year with her behind on some key developments, such as speech. With a shit ton of hard work and 3x monthly sessions with a speech specialist, we are ending the year in a very good place. She’s talking and communicating more than ever and I’m insanely proud of her progress. That sassy daughter of mine is a dream come true and even on the most challenging days, I know how lucky I am to have her.
Cooking: This year I learned to enjoy cooking. That’s a huge one for me, as I’ve always despised it. Sun Basket changed everything for me. Now that I know I enjoy it, I’d like to learn not to rely so much on a food services. I want to spend time digging through recipes and coming up with some go-to family favorites.
Teaching: I’ve wondered for years if I would like teaching, so this year I taught a creative writing community education class. I dug it enough that I agreed to teach a second one in January. I would love to teach at a community college level or maybe high school. I’m going to continue exploring this in 2017.
Meditation: Another game-changer for me was learning to meditate successfully. I’ve tried and tried over the last two decades and could never quiet my mind… and therefore didn’t find it useful. The Headspace app changed that for me. The guided meditations and short videos did the trick, it helps that Andy Puddicombe is my mindfulness boyfriend. I need to be more diligent at making time every single day to meditate in 2017, instead of just fitting it in a couple days a week. I’m a far more pleasant person to be around when I’m consistent with it.
Happiness: I thought for sure that quitting my job and spending more time with Franny and the pugs would instantly make me happier. In some ways it did, in others it didn’t. I’ve discovered that I need to treat happiness as a full-time job. I’m wildly jealous of people who are just happy all the time. I, on the other hand, am anxiety ridden, high strung and a classic over-thinker, which isn’t exactly a great recipe for automatic happiness. In 2017 I want to complete Gretchin Rubin’s Happiness Project and spend more time working on my personal happiness. It’s usually the last thing on my to-do list and it’s obvious that I need to change that. The same goes for self-care. After Franny was born that became the very last priority and that’s not healthy. I can’t have my life be all Franny all the time. I need to focus on myself, too.
Relationships: I am truly the luckiest to have Chris as a partner. Sadly, I didn’t focus enough on us this year as I should have. We had very little time together, and I need to make date nights a regular occurrence. This has been *such* a challenge since I don’t feel comfortable leaving Franny with just anyone. My mom is the one who watches her when we do get away, and she’s just not close enough for me to make that a common occurrence. I’ve made it a goal to find a sitter I trust. I really do need to place more focus on our relationship, because goddamn he’s a good catch. I mean seriously, he’s so smart, funny and a total dreamboat. Secondary in this category, I didn’t spend nearly enough time with friends this year. I hope to make that more of a focus in 2017. I’ve considered starting a monthly girlfriend club where we get together and chat over drinks. Still thinking through the best way to do this, but do know it needs to be a focus.
Freelance: After a year of freelancing a few different projects, I have figured out what I like and what I don’t like. I need to launch a freelance website in 2017, and focus on finding more content work and less monthly marketing retainer work.
Fitness: I made some progress here with implementing daily cardio. I don’t let myself have a drink at night unless I’ve hit my 30 minute cardio goal. And if there’s one thing a mama needs, it’s a drink after a long day with a sassy toddler. In 2017 I’d like to start practicing yoga, either at home or a weekly class. I’m also thinking about starting a spin class again… we shall see on that one.
Reading: I made a point this year to read more female authors, which led me down the path of feminism. More to come on that in 2017 for sure. I’d like to really expand my reading list in 2017 and include far more WOC authors. I’ve been absolutely loving Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work. If you’ve got recommendations, I’d love them.
Little Free Library: If we’re friends on Instagram or Facebook, you already know about this one. Chris gave me the most amazing Christmas gift: my own little free library! I’ve wanted one for years and years, but worried about vandalism at the old house. I’m insanely excited about this new hobby project and can’t wait to share books with others. As soon as it warms up enough, we’ll be installing Little Hapworth. If you’re local, please come visit my library! If not, you can follow along via social media. I set up a Little Hapworth Instagram account. And I’m hoping to get the website up soon, which will have info on donating books if you’re so inclined.
Truth be told, I’m worried about what 2017 will bring with a Trump administration. It’s more important than ever, to focus on making a difference in the world and being a better person. I plan to have my 2017 recap include volunteer work and an update on my post-election plan progress.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a lot of whiskey to drink since I’m off the sauce in January. See you in 2017! XOXO