It only seems fitting that on the first day of the new year I look back and review the previous year and share it with you. Because, although I share a lot, I haven’t shared it all. And 2018 was a year that emotionally and mentally brought me to my knees in despair, elevated my joy in earnest, and all but eliminated my pride.
Joy. Courage. Faith.
Never one for New Year’s resolutions, a few years ago I adopted a bit of a new tradition, inspired I believe, by Brene Brown (check her out; she’s amazeballs). Instead of overwhelming myself with all the ways and things I should do to become a better person, I instead adopted a word to guide and direct my actions and decisions for that year.
My word for 2017 was “joy,” and consequently the year Nick and I decided to make a major change based solely on what brought us joy. Not what was financially the smartest or most secure, otherwise we would have stayed put in our home and in our jobs, which you know by now, we didn’t do.
Then in 2018, my word became “courage.” Courage in all things big and small. Courage to start over in a new state. Courage to leave the city and all we had ever known for a life in the country. Courage to build a business. Courage to trust ourselves. Courage to live daily in the unknown. Courage to ask for help. And courage to leave my job and forgo the security and stability it offered.
Now, in 2019, my word is “faith.” Faith in myself, in my abilities and my dreams. Faith in the unknown, believing that it’ll all be okay. Faith in our farm and our business, that we’ll be able to make a living. Faith in God, and, in the words of the Alchemist, “the universe [that] will conspire to help us.” Faith in my family and children. Faith in my decisions, values, gifts, talents, and purpose. Faith in humanity. Faith, that no matter what, I can claim the sky.
All-in-all, 2018 was a good year. I met amazing people here in Cumberland, made new friends, and started to immerse myself in this wonderful community.
I exerted courage doing many new things.
- I took country line dancing lessons.
- I raised ducklings successfully into adulthood.
- I got a part-time (two Saturdays/month) job at a local boutique outfitters, Idlewild Outfitters, to meet people and learn sales.
- I chased a lifelong dream of being a Cub Scout and became the den leader of my boys’ Tiger den.
- I volunteered for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County.
- I commissioned my first independent consulting gig.
- I started this blog.
- I helped build a yurt!
And many wonderful things happened on the farm.
- Though we didn’t get as far as we would have liked, we made loads of progress on the farm.
- An adorable stray kitty, now named Turnip, showed up out of the blue this summer and has chosen to let us adopt him.
- We ate so much wonderful fruit we discovered growing on our property: plums, apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and black raspberries. Plus deliciously huge asparagus.
- We witnessed the most beautiful sunsets.
- Our home was almost always filled with loved ones.
- We adopted chickens, and they lay the most beautiful eggs and are hilarious to have around.
Then there were the moments of quiet joy that would break through my angst and depression with realization of the life I’m so lucky to live. Surrounded by beauty and nature. Taking care of animals. Working from home. Being part of a community. Loved by my family.
The “Bad” and the “Scary”
I’m a bit hesitant to call what I’m about to say, “bad” simply because it’s what brought me to my most courageous moments.
For the last couple of years I had been dealing with an intense lack of purpose. My values were evolving and my life and career were beginning to feel out of alignment with them.
I was loathing a job I once loved and felt trapped in what was beginning to feel like purposeless work. Then I began to fear I’d lose the job I once loved, and fear I’d keep the job I now loathed. I felt useless, purposeless, and stuck.
Then, last summer, it all came to a head and I found myself for the first time experiencing self-loathing and crippling anxiety. I sought help and started seeing a therapist and was put on Zoloft.
As I started feeling better I began having productive conversations with my boss. Nearly nine years I had been on his team, and I was attached, but it was time for me to move on. And so, I did the scariest thing that I’ve ever done in my life. November 2, 2018, I left a job with fantastic benefits, a 401K, a pension, flexible hours, and amazing people for the unknown. I honestly don’t know what’s in store for me next and it scares the crap out of me. But for the first time in a couple of years, I’m positively excited about all the possibility that exists ahead of me. I’m still afraid, but this fear feels right and good.
So, onto 2019 with new and wonderful possibility.