2017 is closed and done. My reflections have been made and my grudges forgiven. The year brought so much unexpected growth disguised by terrifying disruption. Together this country faced political fears and unease while the globe withstood the drastic effects of climate change. I personally faced turmoil and uncertainty in my career when a few too many wrenches were thrown into my safe-haven of a workplace at the BF+DA. The past year surrounded me with frustration, fear, and the fettering of rights, but even so I took heart. I am proud to say that the communities I actively surround myself with rose to meet these seemingly insurmountable challenges with fire, creativity, love, and grace. We showed up for each other and vowed forever to fight the good fight.
And so it was at the closing of such a tumultuous year that my own clarity came rushing in. My purpose, I know now, is not to dedicate my energy and time to the dreams of others but to fearlessly and shamelessly pursue my own. Thus, in 2018 I will embark upon merely the beginning of what will become my empire, my vision, my dream. At the end of February I will leave my full-time job behind and officially become an entrepreneur. I will be joining the ranks of so many who inspire me, who leave my mouth hanging open in awe, who make me exclaim with joy and wonder. How I have longed to be the master of my own time and my own mind, how I have dreamt of making my own mission and planting my feet firmly in my own moral ground. Now there is nothing out there that can stop be - nothing but fear.
But at the onset of this year I am staunchly commiting to let go of fear and not to let it seep into my heart again. For as a wise man at Hogwarts once said, "what you fear the most is fear itself" and if that is the case then I am in control, at least over that particular emotion. So goodbye to fear, goodbye to turmoil, and goodbye to the visions of others which do not stand up to my own, and hello to 2018. Here are my plans, hopes, excitements and dreams for the new year to come:
- Starting a small business. This year is the year that Sustaining Life becomes legit. This year is the year that we write a business plan, trademark our name, go full time, and start paying taxes. Does it get more real than that?
- Working from anywhere, anytime. Finally I can lean into my flow, I can let the daily constructs of the nine-to-five go and find my own time. I don't yet know what my routine looks like but boy am I looking forward to finding out! No more saying no to exciting experiences and opportunities just because I can't take vacation, and no more pushing self-care to the back burner just because there aren't enough hours in a day. Now begins the time when I get to say yes or no to what I want, when I want. I'll be beginning that by embarking on a few choice adventures this year, in my favorite sunny state and across the pond, too. I'm finally free to expand my scope of influence by working with others in other places, free to be wherever my creative heart steers me, free to explore and adventure and be inspired by the simple act of stepping away from day to day life.
- Building my empire. Before 2017 I knew it already but this past year brought this thought back to the top of my mind: if I want something done right then I'm going to have to do it myself. This is in regards to a sustainable way of living and an ethical way of doing business. No currently attainable political system is going to satisfy my dreams of cooperative and collaborative ecosystems, full of healthy and happy humans, and no boss will ever fulfill my needs for ethics in the workplace. So here I am, beginning to build it all myself, with an open invitation to those who would collaborate and work towards the same goal to please join me in creating the world we want to live in.
- Making the money work. I'm quitting my job with enough savings to fuel my adventures this year, but no more. My rent, my debt, my day to day and business expenses are currently afforded from paycheck to paycheck and I don't know if I'm going to be able to make as much money as all that right off the bat. But even if I can't make ends meet immediately, I have the nuts and bolts of a plan and I know the money will flow only when the timing aligns. Now comes the time for me to organize, plan, and strategize my way towards financial stability and wellness, and to remember that good things come in their own time.
- Getting over my fears. This is the number one challenge that affects all of the rest. To get my own head to stay out of my way and to let my creative heart do its thing. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown - these are emotions that are not constructive and will not be allowed to take over. In order to move past them I know that I must practice acknowledging the fear and addressing it with logic, reason, and self love.
- Seeing into the future. Right now I am ecstatic to be taking the leap into the unknown waters of being an entrepreneur. Right now the unknown is OK by me, but I must keep the bigger picture in mind. I want to build an empire, not fizzle out after a whirlwind attempt at making things work, and in order to do that I must hold myself accountable. To ask the question "where do I want to be in a few years?" is quite different from doing the difficult things it may take in order to get myself there. Keeping my eyes on the end goal and making sacrifices in service of that goal will take practice.
- Finding my routine. In 2017 it hit me that there is no one thing that I do every day. I do not eat the frog every morning, nor do I check in with myself each night. In order to learn, grow, and truly internalize the lessons I wish to learn, I must remember that practice makes perfect. So, in the interest of becoming a better person with more balance and growth in my life, I am committing to a few daily practices: meditation, journaling, Spanish practice, and hydration. In the mornings I have committed myself to 10 minutes of meditation, in order to focus my mind and strengthen my spirit. The mornings will also bring 10 minutes of free journaling to exercise my craft. In the evenings I commit to 20 minutes of Spanish practice in order to learn the language I have been exploring off and on for far too long. Last, but not least (it's the little things, right?), I commit to consuming an entire glass of water before bed in the interest of hydration, health, and beauty.
- Digging deeper. The current political climate and generally sorry state of the world we live in (from natural disasters to fascist, xenophobic administrations) offer a great deal of complicated and emotional fodder for conversation. I have found that these topics can be triggering for both myself and others, therefore encouraging us to fall back on surface agreements and comfortable biases. My mission this year is to ask better questions, draw more correct connections, and to find a common language when discussing such difficult topics. To dig beneath the surface of these conversations will offer a better understanding of what is happening in the world today and why, and hopefully a more clear view of how to overcome it all.
I am also committing to dig deeper within myself this year. My (so far) six-year long journey along the path towards living a sustainable lifestyle began with plastic bags and fast fashion, later expanding to include the food on my plate and other consumer products in my life. Now I see the necessity of sustaining my own being by addressing the traumas, faults, and fears that I harbor within myself. This year I commit to putting in the work to acknowledge, understand, and intentionally react to my own pitfalls in the pursuit of a more compassionate, self-confident, happy and resilient self in the long run.
- Being open, honest, transparent. One big issue I have with businesses and organizations run by others is a lack of one of these three things. An openness to new ideas, direction, and advice is something I commit to embracing as I launch my own business. I will not close myself off with assumptions or biases but remain open to collaboration and fresh perspectives. Honesty, with myself and with others, is important for me as an individual and as a business. I commit to being honest with myself about what I can accomplish in a day and honest with the world about what it truly feels like to be a human and an entrepreneur. The social media visage needs to fall away and be replaced by a real - and perhaps sad or gritty at times - picture of what life is really like. Finally, transparency is crucial for any ethical business, because what is the point of asking others to do so if one cannot prove ones own ethics? I commit to being transparent about my businesses success and failures, about my systems and processes. I will start by publishing a quarterly transparency report that will give anyone who's interested a glimpse into the inner workings of this business without fear of judgement.
So here I am, entering 2018 with bright eyes and a fire under my belly. The trials and successes of 2017 have left me with a strong sense of purpose and a desire to live the life I've always dreamt of right now, rather than waiting for it to come to me someday in the future. There is still some fear embedded in my excitement, but I'm working on turning that into something productive and inspiring. What did 2017 teach you? What are your plans, dreams, excitements, challenges and commitments for 2018?
P.s. Thank you for reading Sustaining Life these past few years! Your attention and input are invaluable to me and I truly appreciate your being here. Help me make Sustaining Life even better in 2018 by taking my reader survey!