I look back at 2017 and I see a year of massive upheaval. I’m not just talking about our country and the globe, but personally. This time last year, I woke up in Versailles. We celebrated the coming year with our good friends, Peter and Martina and their boys in France. We had a great time – but I knew that something was missing. But how do you remain grateful for what you have, while knowing it’s not what you want?
I’ve spent the last year answering this question. I’ve learned a few things along the way.
- It’s OK not to covet the trappings of the American Dream. In the past 18 months, we’ve sold a home and downsized like crazy. And in the next 60 days we will have 30 boxes, 2 bicycles, 2 sets of golf clubs, one motorcycle and a couch to our name. Shhh – don’t tell, but my Louboutins will be hiding in one of those boxes. Some semblance of civilization and order must be maintained.
- It’s OK not to want the career you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It was a long time coming, but I had not only become bored with all the corporate speak, I wasn’t doing what made me happy – writing. These days I carve out time every day to write and I’m wickedly happy doing it. This past year, my creativity has blossomed and I love it! I wake up every day and hop out of bed – most days I’m ready to take on the day.
- Gratitude is essential, but it has to be real. I spent so much time before 2017 telling myself I needed to ‘just be grateful’ for the things I had, even though they were just ‘things’ and they didn’t make me happy. I was happiest traveling light and seeing the world. Learning new things, making new friends and being open to new experiences. I like looking around corners and getting lost!
- Sitting in a conference room is like a slow death. No kidding, I would rather break rocks in Alcatraz than sit in a conference room discussing retail trends, Ad nauseum, with an unimaginative American executive team. It’s not that I don’t like corporate innovation – that was my biz, after all. But I’m innovating in a new way now – my own life. And I find I like that focus a lot more.
- Getting comfortable being uncomfortable takes practice. It’s always easier to migrate back to what we know. It doesn’t take any effort. The wind will blow you there if you just let it. All of a sudden you’re discussing taking a job like the last one you had. And you do discuss it for a couple of weeks with a friend who has something that might be interesting. And then you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t get back to sleep. And all of a sudden you realize what you’re doing. You’re stopping your forward progress. You’re moving away from what you really want. And it takes a conscious ‘No’ to get you right again. Whew! That was close!
- Sometimes you gotta burn the house down. People say ‘less is more’ and they’re so very right. As I’ve inventoried my life in the last 4 months, I don’t need most of it – except the Louboutins (OK, and maybe my black Celine tote) – and I’m lighter than before. Carrying all this stuff created stress. The stress to maintain it all. And I’ve watched the joy on people’s faces who come to our house to take our stuff. I’m thrilled for them. And I bet they’ve seen the joy on mine that I don’t own it anymore.
Last night, we added some rituals to our annual New Year’s celebration. We ate our 12 grapes for good luck, like they do in Spain. Emilie struggled with this one since she’s still recovering from her teeth pulling. And I opened the back door and let out the old year, and opened the front door to let in the new.
It’s funny, in the past I’ve often been happy to see an old year pass; looking forward to a better year to come – praying that this was the year I’d find the answer. But as I opened the back door last night, I felt a little sadness for the first time ever, in saying good bye to the previous year. 2017 was very good to me. I learned more this past year than any other 12 month period in my life. It’s the year I learned to choose authenticity and happiness – in all its forms. A great foundation for 2018.
So, my friends, here’s to a new year for all of us. Filled with new horizons, new friends, and continuous learning. Here’s to getting my book published and seeing the world. Here’s to scrumptious food, good friends – old and new, and toes in the Mediterranean. Here’s to traveling lighter through this world and to living the life we love. This year, what I’m most grateful for, is that you’re all on this journey with me as I figure it out. Happy New Year – Namaste.