Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Saying Farewell to 2017 (See You in 2018!)

We are so close to the end of the year, my friends! 

I do feel like I've made the most of this year. I am so grateful for all that I have, and I want to savor every last bit of it. 

I'm still brainstorming what I hope to manifest in 2018. I started writing a lot of different things on one single page: savor, being rather than doing, family goals, slow to say yes and fast to say no, sustain, friends/connection, ukulele, tennis, Saturday Suppers, starting an Austin chapter of Navigators, 40th birthday party, podcast, a weekend away with Matt, getting our will done, therapy, beautiful office. 

Then I started circling the things that stood out to me.

Then I remembered something I've been working on this year professionally--before I commit to taking on new things, I make a list of all the things I want to sustain because the energy/capacity we have to take on new things is connected to what we are trying to sustain. 

I want to sustain:
  • Leadership coaching
  • Vacations: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Two runs per week outside
  • Stopping work at 8pm so I have free time
  • Tracking expenses in
  • Family Goals
  • Saturday Suppers
  • Adequate sleep
  • Meditation/gratitude
  • Date night
That's so much already! Do I really want to take on anything new? 

So I went through my favorite exercise: asking myself what I need on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to feel fulfilled. 

  • A home cooked meal with my family around our table
  • Adequate sleep
  • Meaningful work that makes the world a more just, equitable, and peaceful place
  • Time to connect with Matt
  • A breakfast smoothie
  • A healthy lunch
  • Self-directed time
  • An organized living space
  • Exercise
  • Time to talk to my mom
  • Time to text/talk with family/friends
  • Blogging
  • Self-time in the house alone
  • Time to prepare for the week
  • Pedicure
  • Cheap massage
  • Saturday Supper
  • Navigators meeting
  • A cool adventure
  • Crafting
  • Date night with Matt
  • Time to reflect on progress toward my yearly goals
  • Therapy
  • Vacations
  • Birthday celebrations
  • A trip by myself
  • A trip with just Matt alone
  • Family rituals
So what's starting to emerge for me is this idea of Sustain & Strengthen or Sustain & Deepen. I'm already doing so many things I want to do and living the life I want to live. I just need to sustain what I'm doing. 

I'm going to think about this more over the rest of the holiday season and into the new year. 

I'm wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a rejuvenating new year! See you on the other side!

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Abigail said...

I adore your Sustain & Deepen lists - it's inspiring me to make my own! I'll be in my last semester of school from Jan-Apr, and I feel like last year I wasn't able to keep much of my needs in the forefront. I hope this year will be better.
May 2018 bring meaningful challenges and thoughtful conversation to you and your family!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks, Abigail! Wishing you the loveliest new year!

BabyD said...

I admire your planning skills. How do you make time to sit and plan things that take so long to figure out, like vacations?? Do you and Matt do it together? Do you just decide to make quick decisions and be happy with them even if you could have spent hours more looking and obsessing? I would love some words of wisdom. I'm not living the life I want. I'm in react mode and missing out on opportunities because I'm just managing the week. Thanks and love your posts! More Posts for 2018. (:

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, BabyD! I am both lucky and cursed that I am a planner at heart. I love planning! It's both a strength and a weakness. I've been stopping work at 8pm, so I then have 1.5-2 hours to myself at night. Sometimes I watch Netflix. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I play cards with Matt. And other times I plan! As far as vacations go, Matt and I work to plan where we want to go. We usually brainstorm that kind of stuff over dinner with the boys (it's never a straight and concise conversation when our children are involved, but because I start planning early, we can stretch the conversation out over several days or weeks). Then when it comes down to planning what to do on vacation, I usually do that part by myself. I just google, "Top Things to Do in XXXX." Or "Things to Do in XX with kids." Or "Things to do in XX on a budget." I make a list in my journal. And that's it! As far as making "quick decisions" and being "happy with them," I would say that I spend sufficient time thinking through stuff and then cut myself off. I remind myself that no one trip has to be perfect. And over-thinking things can lead to stress. Definitely let me know if you have more questions! In terms of bigger-picture life planning, I am a morning person, so it helps if I purposefully make myself get up before anyone else does. My brain is at its freshest in the morning. I don't do it very often (I might start doing it more in 2018), but if I'm feeling stuck about something (or "reactive" as you described), then those morning sessions can help. Wishing you the very best! Stay in touch!

BabyD said...

Super helpful. I guess for us, where we go is tied to how much it costs. So it feels like we have to research a lot before even deciding where to go. Sometimes I don't know where to start because Internet searches can be confusing and distracting (link after link distracting you). Not sure if that makes sense?

BabyD said...

Also I forgot to ask how far in advance you plan for trips? Or even weekend adventures?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, BabyD!

If your budget is the limiting factor, then that's exactly where I would start! I would make a list of the places that were within driving distance, which is the most economical. Then I would sign up for one of those flight deals websites to check out inexpensive flights. I feel like you can find relatively inexpensive housing options in a variety of places, so I would start with transportation first.

There's no hard and fast rule about how far in advance I plan, although the early, the better. We use AirBnB, so the farther out I start looking, the more options we have!

We already have Spring Break planned and are now starting to look at summer. I hope that helps! Wishing you all the best!

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