Happy New Year, my beans! We have entered a new decade, and I for one am excited about what’s in store. I’ve undergone so much change and growth in the last decade and am eager to see what this next one will bring.
Before I get into this year’s goals and all that jazz, let me recap a little bit of my holiday season. I sort of dropped the ball with my posting schedule on all platforms in December. There are many reasons for that, but mainly I think I wanted a vacation I didn’t plan for. And it’s a good thing I took that break, I feel, because it helped me handle the difficulties December brings for my family.
One of those difficulties was the bittersweet reality that this is the last holiday my husband and I will be celebrating while living in Miami. I don't know where we'll be next winter, or if we'll be able to come home for the holidays. And that is due to yet another factor that's been on my mind: my husband is leaving soon for basic training to start his career in the Air Force. The date is pending, but it may be as soon as late February. I have about two months left before he takes off and we start our new way of life.
Another heartache this holiday season presented was our family dog, Negra, falling ill on Christmas Eve. We took her to pet emergency where she was treated, but she died shortly after. She lived a long life and her little body couldn't handle the damage it had sustained, but the proximity of her death to my uncle's (New Year’s Eve 2010) was difficult. I was worried my grandma wouldn't take to it well.
But despite it being a dark month for my Abuela, she surprised us all with a peaceful demeanor. It’s a testament to how far she’s come since that awful day in 2010, and how strong she is as a woman.
And upon reflection, I realize that I’ve surprised myself as well. So many little things that used to bring me terrible anxiety or render me unable to function outside my home have had little effect on me this year. When a stressor came I instinctively knew what to do to take care of myself and handle it. No freaking out. No falling apart. It’s not to say that I’m cured of my mental illness, but realizing how far I’ve come in knowing how to cope in healthy ways makes me feel so proud of myself and my growth.
The last decade, for me, was a long season of growth. And I suppose that’s how it is for most people in their twenties. But thinking of the woman I am today at just about 28 compared to who I was at 18 is truly an incredible contrast. I can’t say it’s night and day because I am still very much the same loving and selfless person I’ve always been. But I am also someone with boundaries, self respect, and self love. And that makes all the difference.
I used to feel that productivity was the main measure of my worth. I was a perfectionist at heart, but I’ve recently learned to just let go. Careful planning and scheduling are important and valuable, but equally so are flexibility and allowing things to unfold as they will. I know now that I am worthy of love and support and comfort regardless of how productive I am, and my daily goals can include a checklist but should keep my peace as the top priority.
Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have major goals for this year, or what some would call resolutions. I do, and I’m excited to work on them. And I truly believe in the accountability that comes with putting things out in the open, so I am sharing them with you.
My top goal for January is to edit and begin illustrating a children’s story I wrote last year. I don’t know exactly when I’ll be ready to pitch it to publishers because I haven’t determined the illustrative style yet, but the latest I’m giving myself is June. That’s six months to get the book nice and presentable and ready to publish. And then I’ll have a publication plan to create in the second half of the year, be it with an agency or self publishing.
My second goal for the year is to edit and add to the poetry collection I put together last winter. I had set it up for a chapbook contest with Button Poetry but wasn’t selected. Reviewing it later on I saw how many of the poems don’t fit together but others can be put into a cohesive collection describing a specific narrative. My goal for this collection is to write out all the poems I want to include so that next year I can focus on editing and publishing it.
And finally, the simplest but most challenging goal I have for this year is creating a viable working and publishing schedule so that I can really keep up with Patreon and social media. Being a small business owner is a lot of work, and flexibility is a must. But I do need to have better structure so my work is consistent. This is perhaps the hardest thing for an artist to do!
This year will bring with it many changes and challenges, but I am excited about what’s to come. I’ve come so far in the last decade and am optimistic about what this next decade will bring for me as an entrepreneur, as a wife, and as a person.