By Erin Allen
January has come and gone, and I've thought long and hard about what I want for 2018. I recently read an article about "How to Reflect With Purpose On Your 2017." Of the several suggestions that resonated were the ideas of naming your year and carrying 2017's takeaways into 2018 and turning those reflections into experience.
In 2017, I uprooted myself from a solid job and established life to start a new chapter in Colorado. So, perhaps 2017 could be called "The Year of Conquering Fear and Inviting Change."
Last year, I realized that this new way of life is a lot harder than I would have thought, and it led to a few truths about myself. I need to set better boundaries. I need better priority-setting and scheduling. Needing more gigs to achieve my financial goals may mean, essentially, working more than expected. I need better work-life balance because I want to make the most of my new hometown while still fostering professional development.
I questioned my ambition and have thought myself lazy because I hate writing resumes/cover letters/job applications. So I had a tendency to put them off. This was at war with my determination to not apply for a job simply "because" but rather apply only to jobs that gave me that sense of excitement and rightness.
In 2017, I left projects unfinished despite having plenty of time to do them. It was also a year that I didn't do projects very well. From my satirical blog "Now Don't Wear This" to this blog, I simply didn't want to write much of anything, while at the same time lamenting that I wasn't writing. And, when I was posting, I wasn't doing as good of a job as I probably should. The Human Experiment is supposed to be a chronicle of all thoughts, reflections and experiences — of which I've had many — and I feel I've only offered an abridged version.
I also talked about crafting and Etsy. Working from home should give me the time to devote to making and finishing projects, but yet I just couldn't get myself motivated outside of the holiday push.
Through all these realizations and reflections, a takeaway from 2017 is that I got in my own way. I knew this "experiment" would be an evolving process, with lots of revisions. And, now that I've experienced the turmoil, maybe a little self-loathing, agony and stress over not doing more (creatively and professionally) and a whole host of other emotions, I'm looking at this new year with better determination.
2018 will be "The Year of the Doer and the Do-Over." I'm going to dust myself off from 2017's ups and downs and be more proactive with creating my own destiny. I'm going to grab my free time by the horns and occupy myself with creative endeavors. I'm going to try to "walk the walk" more rather than just "talk the talk."
Hopefully, when I reflect on this year, I made at least small successes in these resolutions.