I'm not big on making New Year's resolutions but the beginning of a New Year does give us a chance to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments over the past year and consider what we want to change about our lives. I've always been one to preach about walking the talk and I speak often about my imaginary friend, the Bucket List, usually in reference to places I would like to travel. But a bucket list is not about travel, it's about being. It's about all those dreams you dreamed over the years, picking through them and choosing the ones that are important. . . really important. . . no matter how large or small.
2017 is a pivotal year for me. I finished school and went to work shortly after my 17th birthday. Over the past 40 years my career has given me a lot to think about and be grateful for. It has also given me a slap upside the head on more than one occasion. Like so many others, somewhere along the way, I lost myself and began living to work instead of working to live. I found myself turning into someone I didn't really like; even though I loved my profession, I found myself spending FAR too much time doing the bidding of others and not being true to myself. I remember a friend telling me that I had 'pointy edges' and, while I acknowledged this was true, I had no idea what to do about it. And so I buried myself further into 'the work', thinking that, the more I gave, the more I would get in return. And eventually, it did. After serving an organization to the best of my ability for more than 25 years, I was given a big bag of money and told to leave. Did it hurt? You bet it did but there is nothing like a huge hit to the Ego to make one sit up and take stalk of one's life.
I decided to start my own business, be my own boss. Yes, there were naysayers but, more importantly, there were those that lined up behind me in support. I might not have been so brave had not my partner asked one simple question . . . 'What are you going to do now?' That statement said so many things, not the least of which was that he expected me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and move on with my life. And so I did. I may not have had the salaried security that I was so accustomed to but I have so much more: the freedom to choose who I worked for and I can honestly say, I have never had to sacrifice my professional convictions since I became my own boss. I can also honestly say that I have had fabulous clients! I have the freedom to set my own hours which paid off in spades when I needed to turn my attention to family during those difficult but oh-so-rewarding years of seeing my aging parents through to the end. I have often said I love my boss and that is a definite truism. Having my own business returned my confidence and re-established my own self-worth. And now, it is giving me the chance to slowly wind the business down, and time to adjust to building a life aside from work. Today, I have a single client and, when our journey together is done, so am I. It's time to start a new chapter.
And the first thing on it is to re-evaluate that bucket. . . 43 items on The List and still growing! #1 is choosing a word for the year. I had not heard of this until a friend mentioned it on Facebook. Her word for 2017 is 'relevant'. I'm still toying with my word but I think it's going to be 'challenge'. I think I've been a bit complacent about life and it's time to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself a little more.
#2 on The List is to start a 'joy jar'. It goes by many names. . . gratitude jar, happiness jar. . . I'm sure you get my drift. The idea is to put a little something down on paper to remind yourself of something that happened that made you smile, created joy. At the end of your year, revisit the jar and remind yourself of these joyful events. You decide how often you want to put something in the jar; if you are a little OCD, you will have a mental calendar prepared before you even get your jar decorated. If you're a bit of a pessimist at heart, or perhaps a procrastinator, you might want to set some guidelines for yourself such as adding something every week of the year. Surely, everyone has something to smile about at least once a week, right? Remember! Glass half-full!
The third thing on The List is going on a girl trip. I used to do this a lot but it seems to have dwindled down to nothingness. I must be started on the right foot because I have TWO trips currently in the works. . .and one is even booked. . .EEK! baby steps in terms of challenging, perhaps but it's on The List! Oh, and bout that yoga, I've just started a 31-day Free On-Line Yoga Challenge (#43, my bucket list is not in order of priority) If you're interested in following suit, here's the link:
Don't worry, I've got some grandiose plans too, like participating in a Holi Festival (maybe I'll even host one), going on an African Safari, building a straw bale 'something' (even if it's a chicken coop!). I've even got some personal goals on The List that will be a personal challenge, but the biggest, most important one of all on The List is #25, growing old with the one I love. There's aspects about #25 that I can control but there are just as many that I can't and to a control freak like me, perhaps that's the most challenging one of all. Wish me well.