2017: The Year Of Let's Not Do That Again
Well, we made it. Technically made it any way. If you're like me, you probably feel like you've been spun around in the dryer on high and spit out only to be folded poorly and shoved into a dark drawer to gather wrinkles. Things are a bit of a mess.For me, it was a big year of disappointment, depression, and fear. I feel like this year was basically an after school special saying "Do this and you'll end up here. Don't be like Rachel". I had stopped listening to myself and the universe. I had stopped paying attention to all the signs that I was heading in a direction I didn't want to be in. Like all after school specials, I learned the hard way. Office jobs are not for me. I think they could be in the right setting and with the right people. I had such high hopes for this former position of mine. It was in a field I enjoyed, I was learning about marketing and social media and when it began, it was decent. Then a storm blew in and quite frankly I've never seen such negativity sweep over every person in one room so efficiently. It was like a diseased infected everyone and they began dropping like flies in one way or another. Some by choice and some not. I was a shell of who I was. I didn't even act like myself at this job. I became a robot and my goals disappeared. My creative mind dissolved and my body filled with nothing but thoughts of my work day.I do not thrive on routine. I actually thought I might but I have yet to get in the groove of it. I enjoyed temping or catering or flexible jobs. God, I'm going to say I liked restaurant scheduling and I can't believe I just typed that sentence but sometimes it's nice to have a Tuesday off! I despised living for the weekend and watched myself slowly morph into everyone around me: sweatpants immediately when I got home and Netflix and something quick I can make in one pot for dinner. Gym if I couldn't find a good excuse and weekends spent running errands because heaven forbid I try and grocery shop on a weeknight. Those are meant for the comfy pants and rewatching Parks and Recreation for the 400th time. Obviously.I need creative energy. This is the biggest lesson I learned this year. I need creative stimulation. That means museums, theater, movies, books, writing, tarot, dancing, music, concerts, culture, cooking, variety. I am lacking in almost all of the above and that has opened the yellow brick road to some bigger decisions we are making next year. Creative energy is different than creativity. There's this pulse that lies under passionate people, places and things that I can feel when I am near it. For example, I could probably work in an office setting when it is for a theater or a concert venue. I have done both and I didn't hate it because the people I was around pulsed with the performances and creation in the air. They had their own goals and the energy was electric between the staff, the performers, and the audience. It was joy centered. It wasn't always about making money or marketing to trick people. It was about entertaining and that is what I enjoy spending my hours doing.I've been asking myself the question of: Do I want to be Instagram famous? Is this my calling? I'm almost entirely joking but when I look at what I don't want to do next year, all signs point to this as being a reasonable and absolutely ridiculous career path. Having a job where one of my duties was to read emails from these influencers (that's what they liked to be called, guys) and check out their stats, I think "Wow, this is the fucking life." I look at their accounts and they are all brilliantly crafted and I dive down the rabbit hole every time looking at their carefully posed pictures sitting crossed legged in a windowsill with cups of coffee talking about their bullet journals. I always wonder do they actually do all the things they say they do. Are they really thinking about the depths of the universe while sitting on a perfectly flat blanket with the cutest picnic basket of all time and cheese and charcuterie spread out like this is a shoot for Bon Appetit? Whenever I say I am lounging around all cozy and baking and watching movies, I am literally in pajamas I have worn for two weeks, probably microwaving something, and half watching something while scrolling through these fucking Instagrams. Probably helps most of these women have diamonds the size of hockey rinks on their fingers but who says money is everything? (It is...it is actually everything)Writing saved me. Writing this blog had always been helpful and I had fallen off creating regularly. I knew I didn't always have a blog in mind which is definitely just an excuse but I figured I needed some other sort of outlet. So, after we went to Europe this summer, I started a separate Instagram called Second Star Stories where I posted pictures I had taken and wrote original fictional stories in the captions. I try to post one everyday and while that hasn't always happened, it became something I look forward to doing. I found myself combing through old photos, realizing I had taken these little snippets from my travels or just the everyday without even knowing it. I never realized how I had an eye for capturing these moments until I started this project. I also never knew how vast my imagination was. Even when I think a story isn't the most solid or creative, I can't believe I have so many. In spite of this new venture, I still was heading to a dark place and I remembered I had always wanted to do NaNoWritMo. During the month of November, this free program with a supportive online community writes 50,000, or a novel, during the month of November. You set goals, word counts, have writing partners to help you keep going when you suddenly hate everything you've written (thanks, Emma!). It was inspiring and I felt this surge run through me again. I had a goal I was working towards and I had forgotten how I work best with goals and deadlines. I miss school for that very reason and always swear I am going to organize my life like I did when I was in college. Maybe this is the year?When I didn't hit my goal of 50,000 because I was released back into the wild of job searching, I was devastated, even more than I let on. Sure, lots of people don't make that goal for tons of reasons but I was so close and I allowed this circumstance and this dark cloud of poison zap any focus I had to finish. I hadn't had a goal in a while and I failed my first one back in the game. I promised myself I wouldn't let something that didn't fuel me destroy something that did.Let's recap: no office, no set schedule, creative energy, pretty Instagrams. 2018, here I come!What if I just change it to finding my thing? I keep circling around this idea and writing about it. I've narrowed things down a bit but I'm still seeking the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I won't just open a door and BOOM there is my calling but I am closer than I have been before. I haven't set many resolutions in past years or if I did, I failed at them hardcore. This year, I have been thinking a lot about what I do want for next year because I am at a crossroads. Two and a half years ago, I left the life I had dreamed about to try something new and it did not turn out the way I expected. I'm missing a lot of puzzle pieces and I want to locate them, maybe they are still in the bottom of the puzzle box, and lock them back in.I am going to be more goal oriented. We are starting with trying the Whole30 diet for January. I've never tried any of the hip diets and have been curious about this one in particular mostly to learn about how to cook other things than the staples I have cooked for years and meal prep better than I have been which is not at all. I also have never refrained from alcohol for a set amount of time so we'll see how that goes (I already miss you, wine).I have been submitting writing to different sites. Have I heard back from any? No, but that's normal. I have researched and found several fairy tale magazine that publish short stories and I plan to write a few to send in and see where that goes. Since storytelling is my main goal and life source, I am spreading out every which way I can and see what I can grab hold of or what grabs hold of me.Truth: I have owned The Desire Map for years and had never read it. I have given it as gifts, told people it's great, and followed Danielle LaPorte's journey on social media and yet, I hadn't even cracked mine open. I did the week I lost my job. I am going to finish it this weekend. I was right though: it is brilliant and special and unique and got me thinking in ways I hadn't. I also am finishing You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero which is also a mind fuck that has had me shouting out "THIS IS ME" in bed as I read.Both have given me the inspiration to tap back into my childhood fantasies and what I wanted to be. Also to my twenties where I just went for everything without a second thought. My thirties were supposed to be stable and they aren't. I feel like I failed in so many ways but I also feel like I am about to soar. For 2018, I want to fill it with love. I want to be surrounded by everything and everyone I love. Like when you are sick and pile all your stuffed animals in bed with you for comfort. That is my biggest takeaway from this year. I lost a lot of love for one reason or another and I lost myself in the process. I need love and magic and wonder.What was my childhood fantasy? Well, pretty much to be a Disney princess or a fairy. So, 2018, here comes your fairy princess, armed and ready to believe again.