For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.—T.S. Eliot
Welcome, 2019. I never thought I’d live to see you.
Don’t get me wrong, I always knew you’d get here eventually. I mean, you’d have to. It’s physics … or something. The irrefutable laws of nature. Time marches on and all that.
It’s just, I could never imagine you. I could never conceive that I’d actually one day flip the calendar to see your big, bold numbers staring me down. 2. 0. 1. 9. I never dreamed I’d have to start writing you over and over and over on all the checks I don’t write anymore.
See, when I was a kid, and not-so-much-a-kid (like, this was still going on at the age of 25), I could never visualize my life past 40. Who I would be. Where I would live. What I’d be doing on a day-to-day basis. It was all just a gray fog of blankness, like when the Nothing eats Fantasia in The Neverending Story. It just didn’t exist. Time stopped for me somewhere around 2015.
So, now that I’m here, and I’ve been flailing in this time fog for a stretch, I feel like every day I’m inching slowly forward toward a cliff edge that I can’t see. I no longer think and plan in terms of years and years and years … now it’s, hmmm, maybe a matter of the next few months. A season. Perhaps three to four weeks.
Small steps. Baby steps. Step once, feel for the edge. Does this feel solid, secure? Stable? Good, okay. Next step.
Young me would be appalled by this. No goals? Nothing to strive for? No Seven Step Plan for Success? What? What? I was an achievement whore. Put a checklist in front of me and I’d swoon. And then start adding more check boxes to the end.
But I don’t blame this new perspective solely on the inevitability of aging. Getting older is a part of it, but a few years ago I ran across this little book called The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte.
And she took that Little Miss Achiever inside my soul by the scruff of the neck and upended her tea cart. Permanently.
In a nutshell: The Desire Map is a new way of looking at goal-setting, one that starts first with the question, how do you want to feel? You get clear on that and then start planning what you want to do, be, and have. No more random resolutions. No more empty ambitions. Just sweet, sweet clarity on how you want to feel inside as you go about your daily/weekly/yearly plans. And as you go about your day, on a micro level, you train yourself to ask if what you’re doing, right then, is helping you feel the way you want to feel.
Talk about living in the moment.
So, now, instead of setting meh New Years’ Resolutions, and failing miserably to meet them, I desire map every January 1. I go through the process laid out in the book to figure out how I want to feel (my core desired feelings) in several areas of my life: career, body, relationships, creativity, spirituality. And then I figure out what I need to do to feel that way.
The coolest thing about desire mapping? You don’t have to do it just once, at the beginning of the year. You can desire map as many times as you want in the span of 365 days. Or do it once and then never again. It’s up to you.
I love that freedom.
This year, my core desired feelings are:
And here’s what I intend to do this year to feel that way.
Become An Author
Right now, I’m a writer. I write daily. I’m working on a novel, some poetry, a few short stories, and kicking around the idea of starting a freelance copywriting business. But. I have not published a damn thing. This year, that will change. I am focused on publishing my work, traditionally or otherwise, which will make me an official author. Yes, the title is important to me.
Get Fit, Healthy, Strong
Like practically every American adult, I need to work on my fitness. After training for and completing two half marathons in late 2016-17, I’ve been slacking on my running the last two years. And, well, I’ve never been the strongest girl ever. Not to mention the desk job that had me packing on an additional 15 lbs. Oy.
So. To the gym and the trails I go. But, it’s not just physical strength I want to work on to feel all those ways. My mental and emotional health is important, too. I’m putting in practices to support those aspects as well.
Follow My Own North Star
This is a biggie. And an abstraction. I read this wonderful book by Martha Beck called Finding Your Own North Star, all about using your intuition, your gut, to guide your decisions and direction. It’s easy to understand, not so easy to put into practice. However, I’m going to work on incorporating more of that in my writing and my life this year.
Is that it? Yup. Five core desired feelings, three major intentions, and all of my daily practices and habits flow out of that.
Small steps. Firm path.