While a year-end post has been on my mind for the last 2 weeks, I’ve had a hard time writing about it until today because I felt conflicted. When I get down to it, 2016 was a hugely positive year for me personally and I’m grateful for that…but it was also an incredibly difficult time for some of the people I’m closest with, not to mention an especially challenging time for the world.
Instead of doing the usual highlight-style recap, I’m switching it up with a mix of things I learned combined with changes I’m working on for the new year.
For me, 2016 was about awareness. It’s no longer okay to just hide in our little corners of the world. I found myself keeping better tabs of what was happening on a daily basis through the built-in news app on my iPhone, on Twitter, on the New York Times site and the Democracy Now! daily show. When I wasn’t doing that, I was watching history videos on Youtube and Amazon Prime and listening to stories on This American Life, which has years of archives. Public school glossed over a ton of subjects and I’m only now getting caught up on areas I missed. I’m looking forward to keeping this up in the new year.
2. CLEAN SLATE
Something I started this year and want to continue into 2017 is to clean out the clutter in my life. I’ve found that the more tidy my personal surroundings and digital digs are, the easier it is to concentrate. I’ve been using Unroll.me, a free service that makes it super easy to mass-unsubscribe from mailing lists and other items that clog my inbox. I also just deleted my Facebook Business page after being on the fence about it for ages. It feels so good to let go of things that no longer serve me.
3. REGULAR EXERCISE
I’m not as strong as I could be but exercising regularly has been something I’ve put off for years because all my clothes fit and I’ve never really struggled with my weight. Those two excuses have kept me from staying committed to anything and it’s a terrible mindset to have. At 35, it’s time to get myself on track. I’ve been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram and am joining her Sweat With Kayla app because 28 minute workouts are something that feels manageable. I’m ready.
4. SHARE MORE WORK
One area that suffered this year was taking the time to share my work. Graphic design fills up a big chunk of my day, yet I barely shared anything because I felt perpetually behind. Dozens of completed projects were simply delivered and then promptly dropped in the archives folder. That’s something I’m working on changing immediately and I’m back to blogging regularly on Branch, which I really enjoy doing.
5. KEEP IT LOCAL
While I’ve enjoyed traveling over the last 5 years, I definitely missed out on exploring all the great places in my hometown. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making up for lost time by visiting NEVER Coffee Lab, the Russian tea service at The Heathman, Italian dinners at Pastini, baguettes and magazines at Oui Presse, drinks at Accanto, Chinese food at this amazingly decorated restaurant in Gresham, Mexican food at Nayar Taqueria….and probably a bunch more places I’m forgetting. 😉
6. ENCOURAGE CHANGE
This year, I was reminded of the obvious: the things I don’t agree with won’t just change on their own. Standing up is more important than ever and we can influence change through our daily interactions and decisions. I started donating to a few organizations I believe in and hope to continue to do so. I’m also getting better about speaking out when something doesn’t sit right with me. Going into 2017, I want to step it up and get more involved locally.
7. MORE ADVENTURES
Some of the best times I had this year were when I was traveling. I visited Palm Springs twice, Las Vegas twice, Miami once, New York three times, and London, Marrakech, Milan and the Amalfi Coast once. Those sometimes crazy adventures (all night pool parties, early morning walks along mountainside towns, windy boat rides) gave me the inspiration and drive to come home and work hard in-between. While I’m traveling less in 2017, the big trip I’m looking forward to includes a few weeks of exploring Italy and Morocco with my aunt Shannon. I’m excited to visit more museums and take things slower this time around.
8. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
My mantra is usually “work hard, play hard” but in 2017, I’m instead focusing on “quality over quantity” with everything I do. I’ve never felt good about rushing blog posts, client projects, conversations with friends or much of anything just to hit a so-called finish line. One of the first things I’m doing is going deeper in this space – less posts but more meaningful content. My Friday posts are condensing into a monthly review and longer link roundup. I want to use that time to instead share the content that’s been on my mind for ages that I never got round to. First up: a tour of my closet and how I keep it organized (which has only been on my list for a YEAR!)
9. MINDFUL PURCHASES
Did I need everything I bought this year? Not even close. Going forward, I want to work on buying less junk. I’ve been watching videos on minimalism and while that’s not exactly my lifestyle as a whole, I want to be more mindful about what I spend my money on. Over the holidays, I got a jump-start by spending Christmas with Joey cleaning out cupboards and closets, gathering bags of items for donations. That felt really good….and I want to keep the momentum.
Thanks for joining me in this space, whether you stop by regularly or occasionally. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to visit and wish you all the best for the new year. Let’s do this! —Shauna
Photos: Made U Look