Just like last year, Octave & I spent Christmas morning at home and hit the road right after lunch to go spend the night in an old guard station in Washington State.
To access the cabin you usually need to park your car on the side of the road and put on your snowshoes. Once you get there, you have to build a fire as the house is usually cold (unless the previous guests kept it warm for you). There's no cell service, no electricity (but there are gas lamps) and no running water.
Without the distraction of our phones and computers, time slows down and we gradually adapt to the rhythm of nature (our bedtime quickly synchronizes with sunset).
This year, I packed this workbook in my backpack. I wanted to read its intro before the beginning of next year. So I sat by the fire, snuggled in my sleeping bag and entered the world of the moon and its cycles. It was a really magical time and I couldn't have wished for a better place to start this journey.
This little escape confirmed the feeling I'd had for the past couple weeks about what my one-word theme for the coming year should be.
But first, I wanted to share a little about how my one-word theme shaped the past year.
As you may know, my 2017 word was ROUTINE.
The past year has been a tough one - for many of us - and my theme has helped me keep afloat. Here are some habits that have given me a feeling of normalcy every time I came back from a trip or felt like I had fallen off the wagon.
Wake up at the same time every day - Besides the fact that it's basically a great idea, this allowed me to have one hour where I could be in touch with my clients in Europe before they end their workday.
Walk at least 5'000 steps a day. I know it's half of what's recommended, but it's a start. It gets me out of the house, plus, I know a route around my neighborhood that's the exact right distance and allows me to listen to at least one podcast episode.
Set up work dates with fellow freelancers - I am SO productive when someone is working next to me! And it's a great way to catch up and/or brainstorm.
Sign up at the gym and take classes 3 times a week - I joined a gym in September, after a hectic summer that was concluded by a major weight gain. It's the first time I love a gym, have fun in class, and even manage to go there and just spent 20 minutes on the elliptical! It gets me out of the house and I feel energized if I take a class in the morning or just calm after I take a class in the evening!
As the end of the year was approaching, I started to wonder whether one should just let go of their theme and make room for the next one, but a spontaneous decision confirmed me that ROUTINE is now becoming a part of my life.
I'll elaborate later but just wanted to put this here. You do not HAVE TO let go of an annual theme and replace it by the following year's. But you can if you want.
Now, let's talk about the future.
My one-word theme for 2018 will be LEARN.
While studying ways to improve my routine, I noticed that I came across a certain number of stumbling blocks.
Over the past couple years, I've started to rely more and more on Octave for certain things like photography, graphic design, and other fields. While he loves to help and clearly is more efficient than I am, I've sort of abandoned certain tasks or even stopped improving them. And that's something I'd like to change.
I also hear myself say a lot that "I cannot remember numbers", or "I'm bad with numbers". I cannot remember the population of Portland or what my measurements are in the imperial system. I don't know whether it's laziness, a social construct or just the way my brain has developed but I want to see whether I can change this pattern.
Along the same lines, I was to improve my memory. I am convinced that my phone is slowly gnawing at my memory and I want to make a conscious effort to memorize data and remember names.
I've also mentioned many times that I really want to improve my public speaking and storytelling abilities.
And then, I want to learn new skills. Here's a non-exhaustive list of fields of interest to me:
Fauna and flora
The moon and its cycles
Small business ownership
My intention during this new year will be to learn as much as possible, from the people I know, from the people I admire, from big and small organizations, from makers, teachers, mentors.
I'm planning on investing time and money, proposing to barter, hosting gatherings, organizing retreats.
So this is my intention for 2018. I hope you'll follow along and get something out of it along the way.
Now, I'd love to know, if you had to choose one word, or a short phrase, to sum up what you want to focus on in the new year, what would it be?