Overall, I can say that 2016 had all the makings of a great year.
Personally, after 3 years of rental living we purchased and moved into our 3rd home. My great-niece was born and I got to meet her. My favorite pug turned 14. We traveled to a few new places including the Channel Islands, Door County, WI, Yosemite, and Barbados. We visited a lot of new breweries and met new beer people. I got to hang out with quite a few goats, and you know how much I love goats.
Professionally, I attended an outstanding food photography workshop, secured a cookbook contract, photographed my first cookbook for a publishing company, worked with four new food clients, and wrote articles for three new print publications. I now have an official studio and office in our home with quite an extensive collection of props.
So why am I giving into this overwhelming social pressure that 2016 was such a crappy year?
I’m not one to focus on the negative, but I’ll admit I feel this general gloom towards the year with enjoyment that 2016 is ending.
Personally, several people close to me experienced tragedy in the form of untimely deaths of loved ones. On a less serious note, my health and fitness tanked this year. Our first Central Valley summer, sent my running into a downward spiral. I found a stamina and enthusiasm that I’ve been building for almost 10 years nearly disappear. I’ve returned to some processed eating habits and have gained weight.
Professionally, I lost all of my recurring contracts due to budgets, some which I’d had for four years. The summer was a struggle to the point where I was worried freelancing might not be able to continue for me. I repeatedly had people show interest in my work only to have those interested fall off the face of the earth after a few weeks. It happened over and over again to the point where I was ready to give up. (Fortunately, things picked up this fall, but I do not want to revisit this past summer. No thank you.)
If you compare the good to the bad, there isn’t a whole lot for me to complain about.
But I’m still saying good-bye to 2016 with a swift kick in the ass and some sips of a good bourbon.
I’m ready for 2017. There is no big reason why. I’m sure that it, too, will include good and bad. I am simply drawn to starting anew. The celebration of the New Year helps me refocus and relax for what lies ahead.
Since 2012, I’ve adopted Chris Brogan’s practice of selecting three words to reflect and focus on throughout the year. I usually don’t get around to thinking about them until after January 1, but this week has afforded me some time to consider what I want for 2017.
I’m not sure I did such a great job in 2016. I pursued some new things so I think do was covered, but stronger and reflect, I’m not so sure about. Although, I think I’ve grown a tougher skin as a freelancer so that, in a way, has made me stronger. But those words, those goals, are behind me now. Time to move on.
A little explanation about what my words for 2017 mean for me.
Less. I’ve found that doing less as a freelancer is extremely difficult. There is always fear that if an offer is there (the feast), you must take it for security when the inevitable famine arrives once again. But I will do my best to take on less, what I can comfortably handle, what reflects what I truly want to do, and what provides me with what I need. Which leads me the second meaning of less. I don’t need much. Less is going to spill over to what I use and what I buy.
Renew. I have a few professional and fitness goals that I’ve overlooked the past few years. I’m going to renew some of those and accomplish them in 2017. The first being to become a Certified Cicerone in the first half of the year.
Wander. I love to wander – through markets, in new towns, on trails, into new hobbies. I found I did a lot less of that in 2016 than I prefer. I will do a little less planning and a little more wandering in 2017.
With that I say cheers to a brand new year! If you choose 3 words, set goals, or have intentions for 2017, I would love to hear them!
If you choose your own 3 words and use Instagram, create a hashtag out of the words and use it for images that relate to you living your words. It will be a unique hashtag and at the end of the year it will be a way to reflect on your focus for the year. #LessRenewWander