Visions and desires for 2014!

2014. How nice it rolls off the tongue.

 A few months in (March? Say what!) and I have yet to scribble a few goals and plans for this new year. A year that’s started off with beautiful blue skies and no sign of rain in California and grateful that since I drafted this in early January, the skies have been gray the hillsides have shifted from brown to hues of green.  It’s certainly going to be an interesting and different year in many respects.

Both years abroad, I made a set of goals for myself that reminded me of what I hoped to do, keep myself in check of following through and being true to myself.

This year, I’ve stumbled upon a few articles about goal setting and other bloggers who’ve made lists of where they’d like 2014 to take them. I’m not focusing on travel for 2014 as 2012 and 2013 were certainly years filled with unexpected and wonderful travel.

gorgeous coastline, Asturias

 A month ago, I had a moment of clarity when I spent an unplanned weekend alone. I had the house to myself unexpectedly and at first, I wanted to be surrounded by friends and comforts of people but when last minute plans fell through, I realized just how much I needed time to myself. I stayed up late, I slept in, I read, I cooked delicious meals and most importantly, answered only to myself.

I spent an entire day soaking up the sun at a nearby park reading a travel memoir that inspired me in numerous ways. It got me thinking a lot about writing and a personal project I’ve been wanting to work on but continuously have put off for one reason or another. Flashbacks from my Africa trip constantly whirled in my head that got me thinking that just maybe, it’s time to reconsider said project.  

My life has been an interesting ride since I returned home and it’s amazing how time passes. I started and quit a job. I sub-letted a friend’s place and got to know a new city.  I’ve been practicing the art of cover letter writing and interviewing, and though nothing has quite landed… yet, I trust that all of the waiting, networking, reaching out and interviewing will make sense with time.  I know one thing is certain: my life will align but the question is when?

 I don’t believe in resolutions but I like the idea of setting goals.

This year I also have a theme:

 Just do it and Get it done!

Facing fears:

Fears. We all have them. They manifest in many forms and appear sometimes when we least expect it. Sometimes we play the game off “if I ignore you or I don’t see you, therefore you can’t see me” the “fears” will go away. But we all know, fears don’t just disappear, we have to take action steps and face them so they prevent us from doing what we need to do most.  I’ve faced plenty in my life from accomplishing 2 dreams- living abroad, not once but twice and traveling in Africa. Now as I navigate my way on my home turf, new awareness’s and new wants are taking shape along with a pack of fears treading behind. Can I do it? How? Do I have to? Do I really want it? What would it look like? And most importantly- Am I afraid of getting what I want?

I want this year to be acknowledging fears  and tackling them full on.  No more pretending I don’t want certain things. No more making excuses. No more talking myself out of it. 

And when I do, I will free just like when I flew on a micro-flight over  Victoria Falls

Spreading my wings and flying!

Yes. That’s me in the back with pilot George from Zimbabwe!

Doing it:

I’ve been a recovering perfectionist for a while now. I’ve improved in many ways over the years; Thanks to teaching and learning the fine art of improvising and just going with it. Sometimes it’s more important to just Get it done and focus less on “How good it is”(which is usually better than average, anyhow). I’m my own worst critic. Every now and again, I fall into my own trap of focusing on all the details to the point that it prevents me from getting started.

Writing:

I enjoy the process of writing. I love putting thoughts and ideas to paper and the creativity of strewing words together. Playing with language. I’ve considered off and on about taking my humble ‘ole blog to the next level but have had my hesitations. But blogging isn’t the only form of publishing my articles and I’d love to finally take the leap of faith and some courage to have my writing published in other media outlets. I’ve been afraid to put myself out there, unsure, exactly how to do it. Pitch. You want me to pitch a story? Can’t I just submit some writing and you’ll fall in love with it and just want to publish it? Instead of pursuing it and Just doing it, I’ve been like a deer in the headlights. Stunned. And unsure of the process and unfortunately remaining uncertain by doing nothing.

Reading:

I love bookstores. I love books.  I love reading. But I’ve noticed I don’t spend nearly enough time surrounded by books or reading as I would like. They say if it’s important, you’ll make time but I find I usually get lost in spending time with friends or distracted by the internet. This year I’m committed to reading more

 A BIG Project:

Ever since returning from Africa, I’ve had ideas of telling my story. My personal journey of taking a big leap to travel solo in Africa- primarily for myself to recount and document my adventure beyond what I recorded on the blog. I’ve thought plenty about it, wished upon it, even told myself I couldn’t travel again until I acted on this goal but then never made it a big enough priority. Clearly, I traveled again before attempting this project.  I don’t want to say too much or what I hope for but maybe it can be inferred (I’ve already designed the cover…).  I’m not sure what will come of my idea but for the first time in the last 5 years,  I’m looking through a different lens and feeling different. I’m a lot more confident about what is possible. Maybe it’s all about timing, after all.

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Being grounded: 

Listening and honoring myself. Doing what makes me happy and doing what’s best for me, even if it means feeling uncomfortable at times or making others disappointed. Being grounded means standing up for myself and what I believe in. I’ll feel more and think less about what others may think, about outcomes or how I’m perceived. 

Loving myself

Loving myself

Loving myself

We put a lot of emphasis in our culture on giving and loving others but what about the idea of loving ourselves? It’s often perceived as selfish but I believe the contrary. How can we give fully to others if we don’t know how to give to ourselves? We can’t.  Why is it sometimes easier to so “freely” give a lending ear to a friend or be there for a partner? Sometimes it’s easier to focus on others than to fully look within ourselves, to acknowledge what we don’t like or what we need to work on. Giving to others also feels good but what happens when it limits our own growth.  This year I’m more mindful and asking myself these questions: What am I doing for me today?  How does it feel? What do I need? What does it mean to love myself? How does loving myself look/feel like?   

This is the year, I’m focusing deeper within by taking more time to acknowledge how I feel, what I want all while honoring myself. Taking the time to appreciate myself and LOVE myself for all I am, being comfortable with where I’m at and continuing to work towards a more incredible, amazing, talented me. This also means loving the aspects of myself I don’t always embrace or am not so fond of and allowing those characteristics to be nurtured.  

Chasing my visions:

Twilight at Baker Beach, SF

I’m a big dreamer.  I often get lost in thought and day dreams, envisioning grand ideas… but can get easily overwhelmed on where to start. This year, I want to hone in on what my new small and BIG dreams are and figuring out how to make them happen, whether it’s finding a supportive community to help me realize them, have a mentor,  chip away at it slowly or all of them and more.

What’s the saying, every journey begins with the first step. 

What do you hope for in 2014? Any advice or suggestions for what I’ve mentioned I want for myself this year? Can you relate?

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6 thoughts on “Visions and desires for 2014!

  1. This is outstanding Lauren! I think it’s great that you’re putting your thoughts “on screen” – that why you’ll be able to often remind yourself of what is really important to you this year, and continue to grow as new goals come your way. Here’s to you writing more and worrying less! Well that goes for the both of us : )

  2. That perfect opportunity will come along eventually, I just know it. You seem pretty motivated enough and I can tell it will happen for you. And you seem to be keeping busy doing so many things–doing a much better job reacclimating than I did when I came home.

    Also a potential book about your African travels? I’d buy that!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I believe it too. It’s nice to know that from the outside you can tell I’m motivated. There has been a lot of movement but sometimes I fall pray to looking at the result (which is still no full time job) but I’m growing, learning and gaining more insight.

      I’m doing my best to acclimate. Weirdly, I don’t miss Spain as in I wish I were there. I often think about, man, I’ve been home 8 months now, what would another 9 months have been? but alas, I know I can’t continue with that thinking or cycle… Making a big change takes time, patience and transition!

      Ah, how sweet. Feels so nice to hear you say that about “my Africa book.” I do need encouragement and to commit myself to “just write!”

      And I owe you an email!

  3. Beautiful, Lauren! “What you said!” I think we share very similar goals this year, thank you for putting them into words, and all the best to you. Go for it!! Xxx And I want the first copy of your Africa book!

    • Thanks so much for reading Sarah! I appreciate it.
      Nice to know others have similar goals and working towards them.
      And thanks for the encouragement about the book. I can envision the finished product but I just got to start writing…

    • Thank you Sarah! It definitely helps putting them into words and nice to know others, like your beautiful self can relate!

      And thanks for the support, motivation and encouragement. I need it! Sometimes I get lost in my own head about all the various things I feel I need/should be doing. I get overwhelmed and then I think, damn it’s going to be even tougher when I have a “full time job.”

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