Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Plan

As 2012 was drawing to a close, I was overwhelmed. I had been traveling a fair amount for work, was dealing with a new slate of priorities at home AND struggling with the financial and scheduling issues we all face around the Christmas holiday.

For the past 8 years, no matter how expensive it was or what a time crunch it presented, I always flew cross country to visit my family on the East Coast during the holidays. But this year, everything in my budget, my schedule and the part of my heart and soul in search of well being were all screaming the same thing -- "Don't do it." So in spite of feeling a mountain of guilt over not being able to be everything to everyone once again this year, I gave in and listened to my inner voice. I stayed home.

I could blame my decision on the cost of airfare or a ton of other factors, but the truth is that staying put is what I wanted. It was also the best way I knew to give myself a much needed break and some time to think about what I really wanted to accomplish in 2013. That kind of time with my thoughts is something I haven't given myself in a really long time. I knew in my heart it was the Christmas gift I needed more than anything.

The past year brought some big changes in my life, probably none bigger than my boyfriend moving across the country to be with me full time after almost 2 years of long distance relationship. The experience of merging our lives more deeply helped me realize my goals and plans had changed significantly. I was no longer living just for myself. There are so many things we want to enjoy and experience together. To make them happen, I needed to stop living life by the seat of my pants like I had been for some time, going wherever the wind took me. I needed a new set of priorities and a new plan for my life. I needed time to think about how to do it.

So I took two weeks off work and stayed home. I did some fun things locally but didn't make any travel plans. Instead, I did a lot of thinking, made a lot of lists, considered tons of possibilities, and ultimately figured out what I wanted from life in 2013. In the process, I realized something very important. I hadn't really "listened" to myself in a very long time. As soon as I slowed down my constant "doing," I found the clarity that has eluded me for a very long time.

Every year I've aspired to have a "life plan" for the future but it always ended up sitting on my to-do list well into spring, never to be completed. I am proud I finally changed that. Now I can't wait to make great things happen!