Reflecting on 2018, the highs and the lows, and setting a theme for 2019!Every year I set an intention or theme for the year to help guide my goals and where I spend my time and energy. In 2017, it was explore. For 2018, my theme was brave the wilderness (yes, shout-out to my girl Brene). The last couple years that I’ve set a theme I look back at the year and am pretty amazed by how my theme played out in many different ways. That’s the beauty of themes. They are driven by the heart, not the ego, and so we tend to keep coming back to them (as opposed to resolutions, which tend to be ego-driven and guided by some external standards).
Braving the wilderness with my career.
After exploring intuitive eating and HAES in 2017, I decided 2018 was the year I would start speaking out on my social channels more and braving the wilderness against diet culture and weight stigma. And that’s just what I did. I wrote blog posts here about why diets don’t work and why calorie counting doesn’t work for weight loss, and why I don’t include the nutrition information for my recipes.
I also braved the wilderness with getting my own office space for my private practice. It wasn’t an easy road and involved multiple leases, an (almost) landlord with identity theft, and major shuffling for both myself and my clients. It involved me waiting in limbo for three months while everything got sorted out and I found a new space. But I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that I was truly meant to be in the space I am in now. I still remember the feeling I had walking into the office on my first day working there and it felt like a second home. It was me. I also took the first steps for an exciting project that’s underway right now and I can’t wait to share it with you in a couple months! Stay tuned.
And last but not least, I made the brave move of taking a step back from my business earlier this year when I needed to for my concussion recovery. It didn’t come easy or natural for me. It was hard AF because my business is my baby. I’ve worked so hard at building a business I love and am proud of and I didn’t want to press pause indefinitely. But I’m really proud of myself that I put myself and my health first. And yeah, perhaps I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to with my business this year. But my biggest accomplishment of all this year was overcoming that accident and that 6-month concussion recovery.
Braving the wilderness with my concussion.
Navigating post concussive syndrome was definitely the wilderness for me. And certainly my lowest of lows for 2018. I’ve talked about my accident, post-concussive syndrome, and my recovery a bit on the blog already so I won’t go into a ton of detail in this post. But I will say to not feel like myself for 6 months was the hardest thing I’ve had to cope with to date. To sit with the uncertainty of not knowing when or if I would ever feel like myself again was excruciating at times. The recovery made 2018 feel like a bit of a blur TBH. Because that was basically my focus from May to October. In November, I took a restorative yoga class while I was in Denver and the teacher had us go around the room and say what our biggest challenge this year was and why we are grateful for it. I (obviously) said mine was my recovery and that I am grateful for it because it forced me to work on practicing patience and practicing faith. It was nice to be given the opportunity to reflect on what that hardship gave to me – it also gave me time and space to focus on nurturing other areas of my life more, self-care, joy, and relationships.
Braving the wilderness with my personal life.
I was extremely lucky this year to be invited on a sponsored trip to Japan to learn about umami and MSG. I took advantage of the trip over to Asia and extended my stay by a few days to have some alone time to explore Japan on my own. I’ve traveled solo before but never to Asia and I was pretty nervous. I’m so glad I did though because it was one of my highest points of 2018. As much as I love sharing my travel experiences with others, I also really enjoy traveling by myself. It’s empowering and I have a different level of presence and introspection and perspective when I travel solo because it’s just me and my thoughts; no one else to distract me from the moment or the experience. One night I was dining at a countertop at a restaurant in Kyoto and the Chef was saying a few things to me in the limited English he had and asked me if it was my first time to Japan and I said yes, and then he asked if I came alone and I said yes. And then he said to me “you very strong.” And in that moment it hit me. Hell YEAH I’m strong! Sometimes we need to be reminded of our strength in broken English by a stranger. 🙂I had lots of other amazing travel this year – trips to Vermont, Sacramento, Florida for my grandma’s 80th, Cleveland, Buffalo, NYC, D.C., Denver and Italy!
Italy was a high too; although, unfortunately I was still recovering from my concussion so I didn’t feel well the first half of the trip but regardless I could still shovel down pasta so it was fine. Steve and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary while we were there and it was really nice traveling with my family. My Mom, Dad, my sister and her boyfriend joined us for the second half of the trip (to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday) and despite my anxieties about us traveling for 10 days together, it was really great to spend some extended quality time with them (and my sister and I only fought once :)). Having lived away from my family for the past 13 years, I really only get to enjoy their presence for a long weekend at most at a time so it was a nice change to have so much time together. Lots of laughs. Delicious food and wine. Couldn’t ask for a better family vacay.I also braved weekly therapy for a whole year this year! Mental health is extremely important to me and as someone who identifies as having anxiety, therapy is invaluable. And honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done without the weekly support during my concussion recovery. There’s more work I want to do in therapy in 2019, which brings me to my theme for 2019…
I tried to think of a more profound word than grow but this was the one that summed it all up for me, both personally and professionally. Professionally, I’d like to grow my team and my offerings for you all here. I want to give you more support and resources. I’d like to continue to grow this community so that you feel heard and supported. And I’m ready for some personal growth too. I want to focus on nurturing my spirituality and faith practice and discover what spirituality means to me and looks like. I am also ready for some physical space growth and Steve and I may be moving this year to create more space. Growth is hard. Growing pains are real. Change has always been scary for me and sometimes I still feel like the little girl who threw a temper tantrum when her parents moved her bed to the other side of the room (yep, that happened). But growth is also a value of mine. And so while a part of me fears the change, another part of me thrives on pushing the envelope and stepping outside of my comfort zone. One of my mantras on repeat is “I can tolerate discomfort. I can do hard things.” And so if your intention for 2019 evokes some discomfort, repeat that mantra to yourself. You are stronger than you think.
Thank you for continuing to hang out in this corner of the internet with me. It means the world.
Happy New Year, friends! xoxo
Tell me, what’s your theme or intention for the year? (ps. it’s okay if you don’t have one!)
Looking for more New Year’s inspiration? Check out my posts below!
I’m a nutrition coach and yoga teacher helping people to learn to love food again. I love cooking, taking pictures of my food and traveling around the world. Follow my blog for delicious, seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more yoga and mindfulness into your life. And check out my e-book to learn how to improve your health through nutrition and yoga. Show me what deliciousness you make! Tag me @karalydonRD on Instagram.