the end.

This year feels different.

I know the beginning of every year always feels fresh, new. Like a new notebook on the first day of school. But this year feels new in a different way. Like I’ve entered not only a new year, but a new phase. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I feel like I’ve entered a distinctly new phase of life. Adulthood? Maybe. Or maybe we’ve finally accepted that––at least for the time-being––we’re here in DC to stay (at least for awhile). We’ve stopped looking for where the path is going to take us eventually and are trying to look around at where the path has us right now. We’ve stopped looking for the path and are trying to focus on making the path.

Which is why I’m excited to say that I’ve decided to stop blogging here at “talitha cum” and move over to a brand new site! It feels a little sad, as the close of any chapter does, but I’m also really excited.

For those of you who are following along via email updates, I hope you’ll click through to the new site (click here!) and, once you get there, click the “Follow!” button on the right to stay updated the way you have with this blog. The content will be similar––hopefully better!

For those of you who are visiting, feel free to peruse what’s here on this blog. I decided not to move it over to the new one (new phase, new blog, new content). But I do hope you’ll join me over here in my new online home: made by walking.

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a roadmap for the year.

Wow––January 11. Somehow that happened. In December, I had all sorts of high hopes for 2012 (as everyone does at the start of a new year, I guess) and how I was really going to get myself together here. Get on top of my life. Start doing the things I always say I want to do.

And now it’s the second week of January (“January’s already one-third over!” as one of my colleagues put it). I feel like I somehow missed the gun that indicated the start of the race and now need to catch up. I blame the fact that I was reading the Hunger Games trilogy, which was all-consuming for a week. But now moving forward…

Over the course of the last 6 weeks, I’ve been working to set goals for my Year of Presence. As I mentioned in December, I was using this Annual Review worksheet to help guide my goal-setting for the year. I identified 9 categories to set goals for:

  1. Travel
  2. Health
  3. Writing
  4. Learning
  5. Relationships
  6. Work
  7. Spiritual
  8. Financial
  9. Service

After entering those 9 categories into a spreadsheet, I had a look at my bucket list because I want my goals, for the most part, to point towards the things I know I want to do at some point in my life. And with that, I started making my goals for the year, identifying at least 2 things in each category that I want to work towards. I used the SMART goal methodology to help me set goals that are concrete and achievable, rather than nebulous resolution-type goals, and found it really helpful in making my goal list. Here’s a Top 10:

  • Visit friends in at least 3 other cities who I don’t get to see enough (travel)
  • Complete the “DC 25” list (travel)
  • Run a race (health)
  • Publish 2 blog posts per week (writing)––I know I haven’t started off well on this one, but I’m persisting!
  • Submit something for publication (writing)
  • Sign up for a photography class (learning)
  • Complete 12 DIY projects––1/month (learning)
  • Complete the 52 Book Challenge (learning)
  • Send birthday cards to my friends (relationships)
  • Make one new recipe per week and have a nice long sit-down dinner (relationships)

So there (some of) they are. My roadmap for the year. And even though it really snuck up me, I can tell 2012 is going to be a good one. The next step for goals is determining the first step is towards accomplishing each one (to make the goals bite-sized). I’m nearly done with that part, but still have a little ways to go. So that’ll have to wait for next week… 🙂

Question: Did you set goals this year? What are some you’re really excited about?

2012: the year of…

2009 was (unintentionally) the Year of Firsts. 2010 was the (undeclared) Year of Stability and Re-exploration. And 2011 was the Year of Intention.

When I got back from India at the end of November, I started thinking about what theme would sum up my goals for 2012. After I finished my 2011 annual review, I made a list of things I wanted to do this coming year (nothing too specific to start, just a general list of ideas). Here’s what I came up with:

  • I want to keep learning about intention, especially because I didn’t commit to the theme as well as I’d wanted to this past year. The idea of living with intention, of living everyday of your life, of being present in your own life––I want to keep these things at the forefront in 2012.
  • So many of my friends and family are scattered around the country, and increasingly the world. I want to find ways to be more present in their lives, even though we can’t be with each other in person.
  • I’ve lived in DC for 3 years now, and I’ve been pretty vocal about not loving it (I love my job, but DC as a city…not so much. Some call this Chicago-snobbery, but that is yet to be confirmed). Regardless, I’ve decided that I need to give DC a better chance. I need to learn more about it. Learn to love it. Learn to be where I am. Because it’s looking like we might be here a little while.
  • In college, when I was playing basketball, I was in the best shape of my life. And I’ve sort of let that….slip a little (or…a lot). I loved the presence and confidence that being fit gave me, and I want that back.
  • I want to commit to photography. I realized how much it means to me––how it centers and focuses me––when I was traveling this fall, so I really want to dive into it this year.
  • I want to watch less TV and read more books. Because TV is mindless, and I waste too much time with it (surprising, since we don’t even have cable…darn you, Hulu).
  • I want to volunteer in my community because we love the community we live in and we want to be an actual presence there, not just people who live there for a few years and move away without making an impact.

After I made the list, it was pretty clear what 2012 would be:

2012 is the Year of Presence.

It’s a year to explore my surroundings. To slow down and see what’s around me. To take advantage of opportunities, unexpected or untimely as they may be. To make more time for relationships and even for myself. To be present in my own life.

When I sat down to write out some of my specific goals for the year, I wrote “2012: The Year of Presence” at the top of the page. It was amazing how easily the goals came out after I’d established the focus. I’ve identified goals in nine categories (travel, health, financial, spiritual, family/friends, learning, service, work, and writing), as well as several potential goals. Many of them will help me work towards the stuff on my bucket list, though there are some new things in there too that feel appropriate for this season. Once the list is finalized, I’ll share it with all of you.

Cheers to a new year––it’s looking like it’s going to be pretty awesome.

Question: What’s your theme for the year?