The New Year, 2019 | What Matters + What Doesn't
I did not plan to take an almost month-long hiatus from this space. In my last few posts, I made an epic batch of cinnamon rolls, bid farewell to the title of “food blogger,” and then promptly disappeared into a snowy Minneapolis bubble. I could barely even drag myself over to each little corner of social media- instagram, facebook, email- it all just felt like mundane work, insignificant when in the midst of holiday celebrations at home and leisurely time spent with far-away family.
The reason I felt the need to take this break was simple; there was no way that I would be able to put my full attention into whatever I could have been writing and sharing. I was wrapped up in the hectic joy of being home for the holidays and didn’t want any distractions from being present with those whom I love. Priorities are in perpetual shifting motion depending on space and time, and this was not the time to prioritize work.
What all of this made me realize, however, is that my overarching priorities have also been shifting lately. I feel a renewed sense of focus going into 2019- possibly not even renewed, it might just be new. I have spent several of the past years exploring, defining myself as this wandering creature without roots or ties, bouncing around from place to place and ricochetting between various creative interests and projects. Doing everything at once was something I prided myself on and managed to juggle fairly well, for a while at least.
Something about this year feels different. I don’t feel like I want my focus to be torn anymore. Wherever I am, whoever I am with, whatever I am doing, I want to be wholly there.
Part of this shift consists of focusing more clearly on the two things I love to do- dance and write (in that order). Hence, the changes I already started to make closer to the end of last year, including quitting a job that was serving neither of those aspirations and moving away from food blogging. The other part of it is allowing myself to do things at a slower, more deliberate pace. Let myself take breaks and pauses. Patience, as I have mentioned before, is not my strong suit, but since I have learned a lot more about it through relationships and the general slower pace of life in Morocco, it seems to be all the more called for in this coming year. Giving people and projects their time to unfold and develop, letting intuition and focus be the main guides.
I should mention that just because I am focusing in more, that does not mean that I will stop searching. We are all always searching for something and the breadth of where this can take us is vast and boundless. I can still explore, but maybe with less wandering. Less meandering. More roaming and charting and paving- actions with more weight and significance.
I came across this T.S. Eliot quote on the Extraordinary Routines blog and it seemed to speak directly to my current mindset:
“For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
I sense that I am moving into a new phase with a new voice. There is some kind of transition happening, a beginning and end both within and around me, but it can’t be rushed. It can’t be forced or pushed into arrival. I can barely see any glimmer of what is coming around the bend in 2019, so instead of speeding up and craning my neck, I am taking pause to notice where I am now, on this lovely, strange and unique path.
In the airport the other day, I stopped at a random gate to jot down a quick note that popped into my mind. It felt important to have a reminder of this new focus and so far, it is the closest thing I’ve done in terms of 2019 resolutions (I’m a bit behind on my year-planning due to a whirlwind, colorful and slightly overwhelming trip to Barcelona for new year’s eve). Here is what I wrote:
Things that matter: Relationships (marriage, family, close friends), the process of creative work, Art, health (body + mind)
Things that don’t matter: Keeping up with social media, quantified success, external opinions and projected judgements, flat cookies
I happen to be someone who stands by making resolutions, no matter how much they swing in and out of style, but if you’re someone who is not as interested in them, maybe try the simple exercise of writing two as-brief-as-possible lists.
Things That Matter.
and Thing That Don’t Matter.
Don’t rush to write it all down, but do follow your instincts. Be succinct. See what happens. See if this gives you a little extra clarity as you move deeper into 2019.
Happy New Year, friends.
I have a feeling it is going to be a wild one.