Confessions,  Thriving

Letters to a New Year (Dani 2020)

Dear 2020,

Well, it’s hard to believe that the time has come for another Letter to a New Year! I have to say that the calmer, quieter 2019 I had envisioned certainly passed in the blink of an eye. It makes me question if it’s silly to ever expect a quieter year or if with every passing year we simply get faster and more chaotic. I hope that’s not the case, but I suppose one never can tell…

Anyways, 2019 was beautiful in all its glorious chaos! I finally made a big trip back to the US and had the honor of introducing my husband to many new corners of my native land. If we’re being honest, most of 2019 before May felt like a build-up to our big trips to the UK (my husband’s homeland) in May and the USA in June. Then the summer also flew by in a flash! I can’t believe I somehow spent three months ‘back home’ without feeling like I had time to see all the people and do all the things I had hoped. Come September, I was back in Spain…building up to the next trip to the USA for my American wedding celebration (which took place on our one-year anniversary of our marriage here in Spain).

As everyone who has ever been part of planning a wedding before can imagine, yes—this was as stressful and crazy as it sounds!! Thankfully, my parents were able to organize and deal with so much for us while we were abroad and we were able to attend many of the meetings and arrange a number of the details in person while we were in the USA. Still, the past autumn and winter were relatively consumed with wedding preparations from afar and December was complete madness for me as we brought to life the vision of our dream wedding. It was a beautiful event and I was overwhelmed by the love radiating from so many chapters of my life on that one day.

Still, with all of that now behind us, I have to say that I am looking forward to a quieter year (which, yes, I realize I said last year, but hear me out): I’m looking forward to a clearer vision. Twenty-twenty vision, if you know what I’m getting at! I want to get clearer on what’s important to me. To hone my skills and feed by passions. This blog is one of my passions, but it’s not the only one and I think that will everything going on in my personal life this last year I’ve let most everything else slip into the wayside. In 2020, I want to be more honest with myself and others about how I want to spend my time.

Pursuing Passions

I plan to focus more fervently on reading and writing. I want to read more of the authors that inspire me and read more of the stories that challenge me. I want to expand my repertoire to writers of other languages and in turn learn more about other countries, cultures, and histories. I want to write more creatively and put to paper all of the stories, musings, and ideas that come to mind. This can be as simply as jotting something down on a post-it note or as extravagant as publishing a book but I want to DO it. I want to stop dreaming about tomorrow and instead living for today.

Living Life

I’m ready to take the plunge and make bigger changes in my lifestyle, my focus, and my day-to-day. I’m ready to take advantage of this beautiful place I live in. I plan to take more trips abroad as we find them at reasonable prices, because it’s such a privilege to live in Europe where so many other countries and cultures are at our fingertips if we just watch flight price. I plan to explore more of Spain as my husband and I take advantage of our ability to work remotely from anywhere, allowing us days filled with both work and tourism. I plan to take more day trips and really soak in the local area, venturing to different corners of Andalusia and even just different areas of Granada!

And last but not least, I plan to invest more in my HOME* here in Granada. I don’t know yet exactly what that will look like but the plan is simply to open myself to whatever possibility presents itself. The past year allowed me the beautiful opportunity to return to my home country not once, but twice, however this also shook me a bit. It churned up questions about the word ‘home’ and had me doubting myself a lot. However, I know what home means to me and that is enough! This year, I plan to live my life in accordance with that clarity.

Consciously Changing

The truth is, I have no idea what 2020 really has in store for me and maybe this time next year I’ll be looking back and laughing the way I do now at what I had hoped for 2019. However, this is the vision for right now. I have taken the time during this first week of the year to be more deliberate, measurable, and clear with what my goals are for the coming year**. As I go forward, I plan to sit down to check in with myself (at least quarterly) on how I’m doing with those goals. I will allow myself to be flexible and rewrite them as I see fit. It’s easy to feel frustrated with ourselves at the end of the year when we look back and think “I didn’t do x, y, or z!” but the reality is that we often make a conscious decision to change those goals along the way. And that’s okay, that’s good, that’s healthy! What we want in January isn’t always reasonable or even exciting come June and especially come December.

That’s why this year my theme is a clear vision (I know it’s cheesy, but that’s kinda my style). A clear vision doesn’t necessarily require a consistent vision. Instead, it requires careful consideration and continuous (re)focusing. And that’s what I will do for myself in the next year! I plan to stay true to my real wishes, which means checking in and allowing myself to tweak or completely change course as necessary. I think that’s the truest gift I could give to myself in this new decade.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this Letter to a New Year is lacking the phrase “I hope” and that was completely intentional. Unlike in years past, I made a conscious effort to go back and change any such phrasing I found in this piece to a “I plan” or “I will” instead. Language matters! We’ll talk about it more later this month but if I could give you one piece of advice as you go forth into 2020 it is to be affirmative in your word choice. I will absolutely allow myself the grace to change plans if I so choose later but right now I will stand resolute in them as they are truly what I want and I plan to act on them.

Will you act on your goals? Let me know how you choose to plan out such a course. You know we love to hear from you!

Sincerely,
Dani

*I promise I did not steal this concept from Yoga With Adriene’s 30-Day Yoga Journey’s theme this year, but I take solace in the beautiful coincidence and am so enjoying sharing the theme with a community I love!

**If you’re interested in doing the same, I highly recommend Year Compass. It is definitely a commitment (which took four hours of my time) but I believe it was time well-spent and allowed me to work towards the clarity I was so deeply seeking.


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couple Graceland mansion


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couple cutting cake


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couple smiling flowers


family holding signs


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