Posts in "New Year"
My Word for 2019
My Word for 2019 | Freckled Italian

Purpose.

2018 was a year of transitions—of getting used to life with a baby and about halfway through, finally starting to feel like myself again more often than not. I decided last December that my word for 2018 would be “cozy,” and it really was—lots of time spent at home, under blankets, nursing, napping, cooking, cuddling, not really working. The year before that it was “simplify,” which I did not do—I wrote two cookbooks, got pregnant, and became a Pure Barre instructor.

In February I had an interview with a writer who was working on a piece about me for my alma mater’s magazine (an honor that truly touched me) and I explained that I was looking forward to spending the year slowing down and enjoying time with our new daughter. He laughed, and joked that taking care of a newborn usually isn’t considered much of a break. He was right, but there was something about having one thing and one thing only—taking care of this baby—to do that felt really refreshing.

When I was in grad school I worked at a coffee shop 7 days a week but usually for only 4 hours at a time. One day I woke up completely exhausted and had to call in sick—I was so confused about why I felt so burned out when I wasn’t even working full-time. Fast forward five years and blogging, recipe development + cookbook writing, part-time Pure Barre, being pregnant, and moving across the bay had me completely wiped out. I took about a week before Sophie was born to just do nothing and I almost felt panicked about it, like I was letting something slip through my fingers (I really think social media can do that).

I’m not saying I’m some very important, incredibly busy person who can’t stop succeeding for even a minute—I’m saying I can sometimes be bad at managing my time, and for a while I said yes to everything. I was anxious and homesick and wanted to work but wanted a baby and I got caught up in the glorification of “the hustle” that our culture seems so hung up on still today, and it kind of did a number on me. I pieced together freelance work and part-time jobs in the name of flexibility and then clung to it even when it was time to let go.

And then I did let go—and couldn’t seem to grab on again. After saying yes to everything suddenly it felt like I was constantly saying no.

This year I’m not focusing so much on saying no more often, but saying yes to better things. Working smarter, not harder. Valuing my time at home with Sophie and realizing that none of it means I don’t also value other successes or goals I want to achieve. I once listened to an interview with Regina Spektor after she had a baby and she talked about how motherhood made her work better—that she prioritized her free time and creativity and really made the most of it. This was years ago and it stuck with me—I bookmarked it in the back of my brain for the future. I was no Regina Spektor but maybe I could also do it all! But there are so many afternoons where I find myself scrolling through Instagram on my phone, or falling into a YouTube vortex during Sophie’s afternoon nap.

In everything I do, I want to ask myself first “does this serve a purpose?” Does it help me reach a goal? Does it make me happy? Does it serve my family or someone I care about? Do I come out on the other side burned out or resentful? Will it make me a better mom, wife, friend, writer, person? I want to live a life full of choices and work that makes me happier, healthier, more kind, more skilled, more thoughtful.

So here’s to a 2019 of purpose. Focus. Mindfulness. Gratitude. Less wasted time, fewer moments spent staring at my phone—no more trying to do two things at once. More days being fully present, and every day doing my best to make the most of everything I do.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2019 brings you only good things.

PS My first newsletter drops this week, so if you haven’t signed up yet, you can join my mailing list here.

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So Long, 2017
2017.jpg

This was the best year of my life. 

California has felt so unlike home for so long--we've been here for almost a year and a half and I still find myself missing the East Coast and all the people we love who live on that side of the country. But in 2017 I finally let go and said yes more, even though my goal was to simplify my life. Instead I wrote two books, became a Pure Barre instructor, moved into a new place, and had a baby.

And yet somehow by taking on what sometimes seemed like an unending number of new things, I learned what really matters to me: family, health, happiness, friendship--that's it.

We live in a cozy house with a sweet pup and our amazing daughter who has already changed our lives forever. We paid off our student loans. I worked harder--both professionally and physically--than I ever have in my life. I wrote to-do lists that were long and aggressive and somehow I managed to check most of the items off. 

And now that that's all done, maybe in 2018 I will finally slow down a bit--Sophie will see to that. More evenings on the couch nursing, more quiet mornings with coffee in hand, more afternoon walks with Ender, more visits from friends as the baby grows. Six weeks ago she was a newborn who could barely stay awake throughout the day and yesterday she looked at me and gave me an honest-to-God smile. The days are long but the years are short--I know this already; and I intend to savor every moment of this next one.

Happy New Year, friends. 

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My Word/Mantra/Resolution for 2017
My Word for 2017 | Freckled Italian

2017. 

How odd, to see those numbers grouped together and know that it's starting tomorrow. I can't believe we're here already. This year flew by, and I know everyone says that, but it's surreal to think that just three months ago, we were living in Charlotte. Now we have a new home, a new coast of the country to explore, and we're staring at the blank slate of a new year, wondering what we'll do with it.

I'm not always great with New Year's Resolutions--they start out with the best intentions (and usually they have a clear focus), but they end up looking like a To-Do list from any other day. Drink water or exercise more turns into keep the house clean and then suddenly I'm adding fold the laundry as I call Rob and ask him to bring some dinner home.

But it feels wrong to me to start a new year without some type of resolution. So, like a lot of others, I sometimes like to choose a word to focus on these next twelve months. It's easier to give yourself a little room--to apply a word or thought to everything you do instead of coming up with specific goals. And this year, for me, it's simple...literally. I woke up yesterday with the word so clearly in my mouth before my eyes even opened.

Simplify.

I have recently found myself longing to simplify my life in every way I can. For so long I've been looking for balance in my life, but even the steadiest balance can topple over at any moment. I want my life to be easy to manage. I'm so enamored with the idea of minimalism, but even as I get rid of things I want more--more room in my kitchen, more money in my bank account, more black sweaters in my closet. Rob and I have switched gears so much that, even though we've made it this far with quite a bit of success, sometimes I feel like I just grabbed everything I could carry and ran with it, whether I really needed it or not.

It's easy to forget your intentions when you bite off more than you can chew to get to them.

So in 2017, you'll find me focusing on the things I really need, and reevaluating the things I thought I had to have. I mean this in more ways than just getting rid of clutter--I want these next 365 days to be intentional in every way. My career, my health and fitness, my daily routines, my goals for the future--I'm ready to take a step back and find a way to make it all work for me, instead of the other way around. Even (and especially) if it means simplifying things.

Happy New Year, friends--I hope 2017 brings you everything you need.

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