Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I went to the Christmas party for my creative women's group last night and one of the girls asked me what I had planned for 2013. She'd really loved my declarations that 2012 was my year and all of the posts I'd written about the positive changes I'd been making and wanted to know what I could have up my sleeve for next year. It meant a lot to me that my attempts at happiness could positively influence someone else (even in the slightest).
Sometimes I'm not even sure why I feel the need to publicly blog, I realize I'm no Oprah or Marie Forleo, that my readership is small and based on the links I post on the rare occasion that I do blog. But I really do feel passionately about resolving to change, and publicly proclaiming it so as to have a hint of accountability, even to the anonymous folks that will never comment or otherwise make themselves known. Even a handful of people knowing I've said I would do something is powerful. I'm so not about guilt anymore, and my personality is known to act with spite at guilt even when it's self-imposed. I am all about small, reasonable steps, picking yourself up when you fall off the horse, making the most out of the days that you do feel like a super human and not beating yourself up over the rainy days you choose to huddle up under the covers.
So, what is my plan for 2013? At first I wanted to just muddle about in my same vague goals, since I have a few things in store for my business in the new year that I still haven't prioritized, and I have a new website for my business in the works that will require my attention in the first part of the year. It seemed like I shouldn't resolve to do anything, I am fighting the "you can't get disappointed if you don't get your hopes up" part of myself too, the part that says if I resolve to keep no resolutions I will actually win. CAN YOU HEAR ALL THAT WASTED POTENTIAL? I can. It's terrible.
So, all of this 2012 is my year stuff started back in March I believe, and since then I've read a few good books on happiness and business and Coco Chanel, attended an intensive on making things happen, photographed a whole lot of people in love, made some internal changes to the way I view my business, attended some webinars with Making Brands Happen, I danced like crazy in Vegas, I went to a workshop of some of my photo heroes, I helped start a supportive group for other creative business owners, I witnessed some of my best friends get married, was crazy inspired by the dedication of my sister to her weight loss goals, I said yes to more good things and no to some things that weren't getting me anywhere. I started washing my hair half as often (ha), finally took a hand-lettering class and found a new passion in it, I cried at nearly every wedding I attended, joined a gym, got a lot closer to a few friends, spent less time in the office, found some sources of inspiration rather than comparison and self-loathing, mentored an awesome college student who was a lifesaver on many occasions, and maybe learned how to cook easier to peel boiled eggs for deviled eggs.
It feels so amazing to make that list. Without looking at my abandoned 101 in 1001 list full of things I thought I ought to do, I accomplished more than I ever could following some guide. One of my favorite rules from the Happiness Project is "Be Gretchen". Which is funny if the only Gretchen you know is your best friend's plot hound, but relevant if you know that Gretchen Rubin wrote the book. You don't need to follow other people's dreams. You don't have to want fame or fortune or to work a 9 to 5 and save up for vacations. I'm not knocking those dreams, all my friends know I want to be famous. What I'm saying is nevermind the looks and crinkled noses when you say you are a wedding photographer, that you work for yourself, that you are going to rent forever instead of buying a house, that you don't cook. We only understand (or think we understand) the things we do, the things we want (or think we should want). So we turn our noses up at anything outside of that. If you pursue your dreams you give credit to the dreams that other people are keeping quiet, afraid to share with the critical world.
You don't have to do yoga if you don't want to, you don't have to read classic literature or the bestseller's list, declare a major to please your parents, buy a car to reflect your paycheck, listen to indie music. It's okay to be honest with yourself. It's okay to choose hand-lettering over knitting and time to yourself over taking extra jobs that eat your soul.
I've got some plans for 2013 that I'm pretty excited about, and in the past week I've become convinced to actually take on my own Happiness Project (please please please do email or comment if you are planning one too, I'd love to support you/follow you/ bounce ideas off you!), as well as a fun hand lettering adventure. It's a bit overwhelming to think about all of the different aspects of my life I'll be thoughtfully trying to improve, but I'm really excited that 2013 doesn't have to hide in the shadow of 2012, and instead, 2012 was just the start of something unstoppable.
Thank you to everyone who has said a kind word, encouraged me, liked a photo on my facebook page, sent me an email, had coffee with me, who has not laughed when I get the crazy glint in my eye that means I've got some crazy idea. Thank you to the people who let me "Be Kelly" and love me more for it.