You may have seen me tweeting the hashtag #2013orbust these days. That’s because I think this year is a transition year for me.
I’ve always had a strong appreciation for stories. I’ve been reading since I was 4 or 5 and started developing a fondness for really good movies (you know: beyond the blockbuster, especially documentaries and indie films) in my 20s. An appreciation that developed further when I started dating Evan, the cinephile 5 years ago (5 years ago tomorrow!!). While there are many important aspects to telling a good story, character development has always been the most intriguing aspect of storytelling. And then I read Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (thanks, Krissie!) and realized I, too, had a story to tell. I just had to figure out what it was. Some of his words gently poked me when I read it as part of our little book discussion, but they punched me in the gut when I re-read parts of the book last year.
- “Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”
- “And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
- “A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important.”
2011 was the year I started this new identity. Charlie was born. Priorities shifted–but I needed to figure out what was a shifting priority and what was just an excuse. The year flew by at breakneck speed. This year was just about me living, surviving, keeping my head above water–not that any of that was negative. I was busy falling in love with my son. My story was starting a new chapter.
2012 was a year of reflection. Time to sort through those priorities. Figure out what I want. Create a new vision for my future. Determine the things that are most important to me. Identify the less satisfying parts of my life and decide what needs to be cut loose and what needs more of my time. Celebrate the more satisfying parts of my life and figure out how to maximize them.
And now we come to 2013. I’ve pulled out all the stops when it comes to identifying the words, mantras and goals that will define who I am and what I’m becoming this year.
FOCUS is my defining word of 2013. I haven’t had good focus in a couple years–partly because I haven’t know what I WANTED. And my identity as a committed partner and mom has shifted, which has created different passions, a change in confidence and evolving priorities. I am also learning that I work best when I do NOT multitask. Life is also more satisfying when I’m living in the moment (as opposed to doing one thing and dreaming of another). This means checking Twitter and Facebook less. Not leaving e-mail open ALL DAY LONG and answering e-mails while I’m working on projects that require or deserve my time and attention. It means looking at my task list and figuring out what requires and deserves my time and attention and getting rid of the clutter. The removal of clutter also applies to my physical life. I spent Christmas through the first full week of the year sorting, organizing and donating things in my home I really don’t need. I’ve been playing around with different organizational tools the past few weeks and think I’ve found the system that will work best for me this year (and, quite honestly, it’s really just a refined practice for what I already know works best for me).
PLAN, DO, BE is my mantra. I can very easily get lost in my head or in my desires for the future. 2012 taught me that wanting and wishing and planning for is not enough. You gotta do it. And then a TEDTalk by Amy Cuddy taught me that once you start doing it, you become it.
So here are what my priorities are in 2013:
1. My health. I want to get back to being a loser. I lost 70lbs before. I want to do that again (that means losing preggo/new mom weight plus some of the weight I wanted to lose prior to learning I was pregnant). I want to be an athlete. I miss running and biking. I’m currently working on this by using my new Fitbit pedometer, striving for 10,000 steps a day, logging my food on MyFitnessPal, planning meals/snacks and preparing them ahead of time, following a low calorie, high protein diet and working on building an activity plan into my week once the semester starts back up.
2. My career. I’ve been in my current position for 6 years. Time to think about that next step. I’m ready for it. This year’s priorities are moving towards that next step. I’m doing that by defining what I want and what I don’t want, networking more, taking on projects that challenge and excite me, redistributing those that don’t. I’m both adding and editing my professional life. I’m working on an entrepreneurship in higher ed program with colleagues from a regional professional organization. I’m working on a book that can serve as a guide for parents who work in student affairs. I am updating my resume and realizing what wonderful experiences I’ve had recently. And looking for positions in residence life, student conduct, academic advising or creating training and development materials for either higher ed or other organizations. (You may have seen me tweet about wanting to work for Dan Pink or the Gallup Organization last week. Totally true. Love them. And my work and personal experience would fit in with doing training and development for both organizations and probably many others.)
3. My family. It’s no surprise that when you have a kid, your relationship changes. Evan and I are definitely struggling with the lack of (money and time and resources for) date nights and are trying to figure out how to make sure we fit that in to our lives and budgets this year. We also came up with a list of experiences we want to have this year. A trip to the Philly zoo and the Camden Aquarium, going to the museum, traveling to California to see family, taking a vacation with just Evan and I, going to several concerts, taking Charlie to his first concert or music festival. I also want to understand Evan better and understand his changed role and I want the same of him for me. So there’s that.
And with that, I have a very full plate for 2013. This is providing the foundation for what I do and what I spend my time, energy, money and other resources on this year.
2013 or bust.