A look back at 2017, the highs and lows, and my intentions for 2018.
2017 was a blur. It was a fast-paced blur with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I wonder if every year as I get older will feel faster and faster. I sure hope not, because I don’t know how I could possibly keep up with a faster paced year than last.
I looked back at the word/intention I set for myself for 2017 last week, not having looked at it since I set it one year ago and I was like oh yes, of course that was my word having lived the year and seeing how it played out. My word was exploration. And that word basically sums up my entire 2017.
Exploration with my career
I started to explore new paths for my business. I immersed myself in continuing education around intuitive eating, HAES (health at every size) and eating disorders. I became a certified intuitive eating counselor. I started to see more private practice clients. And I started to apply the principles of intuitive eating to my life – aka intuitive living.
Intuitive living does not come easy for me. I’ve been a type A perfectionist for as long as I can remember – always making decisions based on shoulds versus wants. Heavily weighing other people’s opinions about my life more than my own. Well this year I saw a huge shift in my mentality around making life decisions, which I attribute to immersing myself in intuitive eating work. One of the biggest decisions was letting go of the PR consulting that I was doing as part of my business. I realized that I was doing this because I thought I should – it paid well, it provided stable, consistent paychecks – but not because I wanted to. My heart wasn’t in the work. I finally accepted that it was OK to listen to my gut and to take a leap of faith with transitioning to more private practice, something I’ve been wanting to do for years now. So, I lept and guess what, the net appeared. I started out January 1 with zero clients and ended the year with an almost full part-time client load. And I LOVE the work. It’s challenging, but in the best way.
Which leads me to one of my challenges for 2017, which was being okay with transitions. Man, oh man. This is a tough one for me. I hate transitional periods. The transition of letting go of one line of work and not knowing what was going to happen with my business caused so much discomfort and anxiety for me. But this is something I’ve learned about myself over the years as I’ve gone through different transitions and it’s something I’m continuing to accept/work through.
Exploration for pleasure
Ya’ll know I love to travel. But I definitely set a record for myself in 2017 for the most travel, which is one reason why I think it flew by so fast. But when I think of my “highs” for the year, I definitely think of the trips I took and the places I explored.
Steve and I went to Vietnam and Laos in the spring, I met my family in Turks & Caicos in May, went to Quebec for work in June, and traveled to Europe in August, hitting up Copenhagen, Prague, Berlin (where Steve met me!), Munich and Salzburg.
Not to mention all of the domestic travel – San Fran x2, Napa, San Diego, Scottsdale, Vermont x3, Hudson Valley, Buffalo x4, Portland, Newport, NOLA, Chicago and NYC x2.
Here are some of the highlights from my trips this year!Luang Prabang, Laos. AKA MY HAPPIEST PLACE.
Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfalls outside of Luang Prabang
Riding elephants at the elephant sanctuary in Luang Prabang
Eating all the pho and noodle dishes throughout Vietnam
Eating my way through Copenhagen, one of my favorite foodie cities
As much as I love traveling, I can get burnt out. After my fall travel, I had a couple opportunities to travel in November and December (in addition to holiday travel to see family) and I said no. All I wanted to do was hibernate in November and December and I told Steve that I think I want to travel less this year, which I think was code for can we just make time slow down a little bit?
In 2017, I experienced some of my lowest lows. At the beginning of this year, my family coped with my Dad’s cancer diagnosis and then his decision to pursue surgery to treat it. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and his PSA levels still remain at 0, but god those first couple months of the year were so scary and full of a rollercoaster of emotions.
And then at the end of the year, on December 14th, my grandfather passed away at 94. This was my last grandparent on my Mom’s side and it’s such a void to no longer have the foundation, the rock, of your family around. The holidays this year were definitely sadder than year’s past as we grieved his loss but it was comforting to be surrounded by family at the same time.
Living with injuries/pain in my body most of the year and not being able to move my body in the ways my body craved was another low. No yoga practice. No yoga teaching. No cardio. Just physical therapy. That was another hard transition for me. But I did take away some learnings from it and look for more about that experience in a future blog post.
In 2017, Steve and I celebrated one year of marriage! We spent our one year anniversary on Nantucket, which we decided is a little too pretentious for us, but we had such a blast regardless, eating delicious food, visiting breweries, riding bikes and listening to live music and cover bands.I also became an aunt! Steve’s brother and his wife (who also happens to be my BFF) had their first baby boy, Colin. It’s a pretty incredible feeling to be an aunt and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of this new role. We visited them in May a few weeks after he was born and then I spent time with him again during Thanksgiving and Christmas and I can’t believe how much he’s grown and how his personality has evolved in just 6 months! I’m excited to continue on this Aunt ride :).I entered a new decade – my 30s, which was a high and maybe a low too if I’m being totally honest. The high was all of my closest friends and family getting together and coming to Boston to celebrate with me. We had such a fun day hanging out at a winery, borrowing people’s 30 balloons for photo opps, going out to dinner and ending the night with some dancing. The low was saying goodbye to my 20s and again that whole “transition” thing I seem to struggle with. But I’m extremely grateful for all that my 20s gave me – a husband, a business, a career I love, amazing travel and more. So if my 20s were that awesome, I’m only hopeful that my 30s will be even better.Looking ahead to 2018
The word I chose for this year is wilderness, inspired by Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. Being a professional preaching non-diet and intuitive eating and HAES can sometimes feel like you’re braving the wilderness. Diet culture is all around us and the work we are doing definitely goes against the grain. I feel like in 2017 I committed to the exploration of these areas and now I want to brave the wilderness of it. I want to invest time in creating more blog posts and media articles on these topics, and more social media content to inspire. I want to shout body kindness from the roof tops! I want to build a strong community here. I want this to be a safe and brave place where we can share our stories and our struggles and inspire each other along our journeys. This quote by Maya Angelou which Brene Brown shares in her book really resonates with me. She says, “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” And damn straight, the reward IS great. Helping people to break free from diets and restriction and body hate is worth every second of braving the wilderness. Even if the price is high and we lose people along the way, the reward is great.And on a more personal note, in 2018 I want to continue to work on aligning my decisions with my values, putting my family, marriage, self-care and spirituality before my career. My grandpa’s recent passing has been making me reflect a lot on my values these past few weeks. He was a man who put his family and faith above everything else. He lived the simplest but the fullest life and it’s made me rethink what I’ve been prioritizing in my life versus what really matters to me.
I’m looking forward to traveling this year but spacing out trips a little more – Steve and I are already planning for a few weeks in Italy in September and are looking at trips to visit friends in Denver and family that’s moving to Atlanta next month.
As I write this, I just realized that I think what I’m looking to cultivate more of in 2018 is space. Downtime. Time to cozy up with a blanket and read a good book. Time to enjoy the presence of my husband and family and friends. And solo me-time. Time to walk in the park. Meditate. Take a yoga class. Or a hot bath. Less doing, more being.
What are you guys looking to cultivate more of in 2018? Is there a theme or intention that resonates with you? What were your highs and lows of 2017? And most importantly, what do you want to see more of here on this blog in 2018?
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.