Investing in the Journey

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

We’re almost 2 weeks into 2021. It’s around now that most well intentioned resolutions go up in smoke. I mean, I get it. In the dying hours of any given year, you’re wearing your foil tiara, and you’re thinking, “Well, I’m not doing *that* again. Next year will be different”. And it is, right up until it’s not.

Every year, I think I’m pretty mindful – I don’t think any year is the Worst. Year. Ever. Even with COVID in 2020, there were challenges (waaaaa-aaay fewer gatherings of my squad and La Famiglia; muted holidays from Easter through to New Year’s Eve, the generally heightened anxiety, the 283 days of March Break). But there were also really stellar gifts. It was hard in some regards, it was blessed in others. But I can say that from a pretty privileged place – I have worked from home since March. My finances and housing were never at risk. I even got my university/military child at Duty Station Casa di Swears since April. When he left for basic military qualification (serial 1 for officers) I didn’t think I’d have him in my house for more than a few days in a row, maybe, when he’s on leave, ever again. But he’s been studying and training here. And it’s been a delight. My (currently snow- and ice-covered) garden now has a shady nook, there’s a solar light installation, and my pollinator garden has never looked better. So yeah, not as bad as some people had it, for sure. But I could say that every year.

So. To 2021, then.

This year, I have some good opportunities stretching out in front of me. I’ve been nominated (and accepted into) a leadership training program at work. I’m taking some very concrete steps to improve my physical health by losing some weight and no longer taking anti-seizure meds. I’m going to sleep better and wear more comfortable unmentionables, and ferment red pepper sauce and read more and tech less. January always has me squinting at a year calendar deciding how I want to sprinkle and schedule my vacation days throughout the year. But this year, I feel like there is momentum for me to achieve a lot. Last year COVID quarantine gave me the opportunity to evaluate what I need. This year, it’s time to drive toward those things. I know, I know. It’s only day 12 of a 365 day year – not even 1/26th of the way in. But yes, I feel very encouraged at my ability to get things done.

Still, having hand-wavey goals isn’t really mapping where I want to go. Saying I want to go to the moon is all good, but unless I figure out how to get there, it’s just words. And I don’t really want to go to the moon. I don’t even know if that soundstage is there, anymore.

Oh… bad SwearyMissMary.

Seriously though, I used three particular tools this year to sleuth out my guiding principles:

My thinkythoughts and 5 drafts resulted in INVEST as my word of the year. I broke down things that I wanted to achieve based on the segments of the Wheel of Life. Then I thought about what I need to INVEST so that the payout is achieving my goals. I invest, I get dividends, right? My final  planning results look like this:

When the Wheel of Life meets the Word of the Year
My personal INVEST prospectus, kinda.
20 (of the eventual 21) goals for 2021

Seems ambitious, but this a high-risk, high-reward kind of INVESTING year. I mean, some stuff might fall off the actual list, but you can’t decide to cross the ocean with the idea that maybe you’ll just give up when you get half way. You can’t cross the ocean unless you’re willing to lose sight of the shore.

A week ago, it was Epiphany (or 12th night). It was the day when RC kids believe that the Magi, having followed a star on a spiritual journey, arrived at the stable. Regardless of my yearly ambitions, Epiphany is a time when I think about what my truth is. What gifts do I bring to my friends, my family, my colleagues and community? I am set up for an amazing journey this year, measured not with flightpaths and odometer readings, but in dividends.

May 2021 provide amazing journeys for all of us. I’m glad all y’all here for the ride-along.

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