I’m not waiting until 2018 to get back into this blog business.
Nearly four years of daily content generation for my day job left me burnt out to write/reflect/opine/spurt out random information into the Internet void through this blog. And, I lacked time. Or, I had time, but I had to use it for other things and responsibilities; responsibilities that I no longer have starting now! (actually, some of these responsibilities still linger but I’m doing my best to cut cords).
So let’s dive back into what it takes to make radical change in our communities, systems, relationships, and selves. I’m no expert, but I’m certainly someone willing to put myself out there and share what I learn and experience as a nonprofit professional, wife, friend, vegan, and all of those other identities that ebb and flow over time and space.
One of the goals I have for the new year is to make reflection part of a regular practice rather than a once-in-a-blue-moon event.
The end of the calendar year is an easier time to start this habit, as it goes naturally with the myriad of lists put out by various social and cultural thought-leaders (“Best Songs of the Year”; “Best Memes of 2017”; “Best Commercials Featuring An Artist You Thought Would Never Sell Out in 2017”).
All jokes aside: I am drooling over NPR’s Best Books of 2017 list but where does one find the time to read all of these?!
Back to reflection: for me, 2017 was the year to say yes. But, not in the vein of taking on more projects or responsibilities: it was the year of once again saying yes to possibilities.
I felt like I had lost my sense of imagination; I found myself early in the year on a road of unhappiness, filled with regret, disappointment, and self-loathing. In hindsight, part of this came from the looming presence of infertility and its larger-than-anyone-ever-wants role in your life (more on this topic later).
Another contributing factor to my emotional turmoil was that I had become detached from a sense of fulfillment, particularly in my career. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with my job or the work; I loved the mission and fighting for stronger, more just environmental policies in the political arena. It was the means of how I carried the work out that created this disconnect.
In my role as the director of digital strategies, I spent most of my time behind the computer (shocking?!), which used to fuel me with energy as I fired off sassy tweets and advocacy alerts with strong theories of change. But, then the fire faded, as I realized how much I missed face-to-face human interaction in the daily grind. My core responsibilities and my desires were, unfortunately, incompatible and leaving me grasping for other means to fill my need for people time.
So, part of this year was, for me, being open to the possibility of looking for another job, which was not on my radar back in January. I would never have thought that I would pursue a full-time fundraising position, or even be interested in the field. But, one major gifts training and some sprinkled in confidence from others about my abilities gave me the courage to reach out to my incredible network and start asking for help. And help they did. People never cease to amaze me, and most of the time (fortunately), it’s from their generous spirits. All of the doors opened and conversations led me to accepting a new position for 2018: Development Director with the Me Fine Foundation, an organization that speaks to my values and a staff that will provide me the chance to grow and learn in ways I cannot yet predict.
Saying yes to possibilities this year also meant me stretching outside of multiple comfort zones: from getting more involved in grassroots organizing, showing up for causes that I believe in — from #BlackLivesMatter to the Women’s March in D.C. to immigrant rights; to literally exiting the country to immerse ourselves in cultures both familiar yet foreign in the countries of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
Saying yes to possibilities this year also meant letting go of my need to control elements of my life, marriage, and body. Some of this came as a result of forced learning (such as my recent episode of food poisoning — yay for learning via bacteria!) but also to opening up to advice from friends who could see parts of me that I simply couldn’t (or didn’t want to). Some of this came from getting back up with a therapist; others from a job coach. For me, 2017 was the year that I told my internal voice to be quiet and made intentional space to truly hear what others had to say. That doesn’t mean I took everything to heart; but I became a willing participant to open myself up to other possibilities than what I had in mind.
Oh, the control freak in me shakes even writing that lat sentence.
There will be more to unpack in the weeks, months, and years ahead from 2017; but, for now, I leave you (and me) with reminders of what happens when we say yes to possibilities.