42: The Year of Boring, Beautiful Progress
There are so many beautiful surprises that have come into my life since I first started this blog in 2017. It has created new friendships and connections, revealed previously undiscovered shared experiences with people I’ve known for years (you had to grow up too fast? me too!) and started hours-long conversations over coffee or cocktails that never would have happened if it weren’t for the blog. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve ever created.
Another unexpected surprise from blogging is the personal growth that has come from it. I’ve blogged my way through tears and confusion and sadness. I’ve cried in coffee shops while writing blog posts and while reading private messages in response to some of my posts. I’ve read old blog posts with the biggest smile remembering the heart, soul and passion of the woman who wrote those words months or years ago and gave her the biggest hug. I didn’t expect the blog to be there for me. I created it so I could be there for you. And somehow, in showing up for you, I’ve shown up for myself more than ever.
I’m writing this from the beaches of Mexico where I’m the most calm and clear headed. This is my happy place. I turn 43 in a few days. I love birthdays. There’s just something about a birthday – the celebration of life, reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next – that feels very “circle of life” to me. I love beginnings and I love completion and I love everything in-between. One of the things that I started with this blog was an annual birthday letter to myself. It’s become a fun and insightful way to honor the past year and look ahead to the next and, hopefully, share a few things along the way. So with that said, let’s take a look back at 42 and a look ahead at 43.
Spoiler alert: 42 was pretty boring.
As I’ve thought about the past year and mentally flipped through the calendar, I’ve had to stifle a few yawns. No TEDx Talk, no launching a podcast, no new novel, no life-changing hiking retreat in the remote mountains of Canada. That was all the year before. That was a big year. But not this year.
I talked to my friends and my life coach about it. Was I stuck? In a rut? Had I lost my passion or drive? The short answer is no. Sometimes the true growth happens not in the starting of new things or the big moments, but in the daily commitment to your values and consistently focusing on your goals. It’s easy to start things. At least, for me it is. I love starting new things. But it’s hard to just keep doing the things. So, what did true growth look like for me this year?
Waking up every single day and going to the gym. In 6-degree weather in the dark. When I was a little bit heavy headed from one-too-many glasses of wine the night before. When I was in the middle of a busy time at work and just wanted to zoom to the office and start working. When I wanted to go to the gym (most days) and when I didn’t want to go (some days), I went. The true growth that happened this year was showing myself that I really was committed to fitness and wellness. It wasn’t just a post-hiking retreat “high” that I was riding last summer. It was a true lifestyle change.
Writing my novel. Admittedly, it hasn’t gone as fast as I hoped and that’s because I have avoided writing it. Writing a novel is hard. It brings up insecurities and fears that I didn’t realize I had. I’m worried it won’t be good. I’m worried no one will buy it. I’m worried no publisher will want it. But I’ve written. Not always consistently or steadily, but I’ve written. Starting a novel is fun. Writing a novel is hard. That’s true growth.
Love. (5-minute pause while I stare at my computer screen and don’t know what to write on this topic). This has been a year of consistency in exploring love and relationships. I’ve had a few relationships this year that really had promise. There have been some dates, a few relationships, a glimmer of potential love. I’ve become clearer on what I want and stopped dating a certain type of man that I was repeatedly dating. I’ve opened myself up to another kind of man that I had never let myself explore. And it’s been pretty fun. To be honest, I’m struggling to find the growth in this one, but I know it’s there and one day I’ll look back on this boring year of dating and love and see some major shifts that got me closer to what I want.
Coaching. It’s easy to have a life coach when you have a lot going on and need ongoing guidance. It’s harder to have a life coach when you don’t realllly feel like you need one. Keeping my coach wasn’t a hard decision this past year because I value her and know the immense impact she has on my life, but there were weeks when we’d talk, and I’d feel like I wasn’t giving her much to work with. But somehow, even on the most mundane of weeks, we’d get on the phone and within minutes we’d hit a topic that needed some excavating. And there we were, making big life shifts on an otherwise uneventful Monday morning.
While I probably won’t look back at 42 as one for the books, I have so much appreciation for the past year because it feels like the kind of year where true roots were formed. This is where the deep stuff happened. I feel like this will be a more pivotal year than I realize now. I’ll look back on this year sometime in the future and realize that this was the year that seeds were planted and I was strengthened in long-lasting ways. It wasn’t wild, but it was good and I’m so grateful and proud.
Looking ahead at 43…
Love and relationships: this paragraph is messy and disorganized, which makes a lot of sense because my love life is messy and disorganized. Bear with me on this one. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this here before, but if not, I’ll share it now. I love family and children; I just don’t want to have my own children. I think my lack of desire to have children is one of the reasons I’ve never felt a strong sense of urgency to find my husband. I mean, I plan on living a very long time so even if I meet my forever man at 45, that’s probably 40+ years together and honestly that feels like a loooooong time with one person. So, while I’m not in a hurry to find my future husband, I am ready. I’m proud of how I navigate love and dating in my life. I’m optimistic, consistent, open, vulnerable, curious and willing to take risks. But I also might have swung a little too far on the “I’m not in a hurry to meet him” pendulum. So, this year I’m going to be just a little more intentional with love and dating. Less “easy come, easy go” and a little more “I’m ready and excited to meet my person.”
DTF: Down to Finish My Novel. By next year’s birthday letter, I will be a novelist with her first novel written and published. Please keep me accountable and don’t sass me if I can’t hang out on the weekend because I’m working on my novel. Tell me you’re proud of me for prioritizing it and send me good vibes.
Less screen time, more life. I’ve become addicted to my phone and TV. It’s too much. This past year, I started deleting social media during vacations and on some weekends and it’s a gamechanger. But I still watch too much TV. What I know for sure is that when I’m not on my phone or TV, I’m happier, calmer, more aware of the world around me, my brain is lit up in different areas and I feel more connected to myself and the world around me. I’m going to continue to make screen time the exception and not the rule and reclaim my headspace. That should also significantly help with getting this novel written.
Energetic healing. I went to an energy healer about a month ago in Brooklyn and she was incredible. I’m going to learn and explore more this year about energy work, chakras and mindfulness. I was on the phone with a dear friend this week and we talked about energy healing and leading with love. That feels really right.
I’m always writing for you. I want to share what I’ve learned and hopefully give you some tools or insights as you navigate life. The lesson from the past year is this: boring can be beautiful. Consistency and daily dedication are hard, but they’re also where the deep change happens. The flashy new things are fun, but the true impact is in the long game.
If you ever look back and think, “not much has changed,” I want you to take a second look. Have you maintained relationships? That’s amazing. Have you stayed consistent to your values? That’s awesome. Have you kept your eyes on a big goal and made small steps, every day, towards it? Go you!
Boring can be so beautiful if the “boring” is aligned with your values and goals. Don’t get caught up in the comparison game or the rush of the newness high. New is temporary. The real work happens when the newness wears off and the social media comments stop and it’s just you and a bunch of blank pages begging to be written. That’s when it really starts.
For me, the year ahead feels very undefined and kind of whirly twirly. No straight lines. No set goals or even a vision of what my life will look like a year from now. I kind of like the messiness of it. I’m going to force myself to get a little bit uncomfortable in order to unleash some magical moments. I’m going to sit peacefully in times of confusion and resist the urge to pick up my phone or turn on Housewives. I’m going to trust so much in the universe and the natural flow of life. And with everything I do, I’ll lead with love.