There is something about the idea of resolutions that bugs me. Maybe it’s just semantics, but the concept of the New Year's Resolution brings to mind visions of self deprecation and self loathing. The idea that you are somehow broken and when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st you will, powered by some expensive protein powder/fitness gadget of course, finally force yourself into a more socially acceptable mold. You will finally get smaller, be “nicer”, be more of a doormat for someone else's expectations.
Here’s the thing. You are not broken. You are amazing exactly as you are. You don’t need to change a thing.
However, I still find myself wistful in the week between Christmas and New Years. Thinking back on the year that is closing, and envisioning the year ahead of me that I hope to have. I have gone through an evolution in this process for myself. I’ve moved away from resolving and towards the idea of intentions. Focus words. Touchstones to return to when things get hectic. Words to remind myself of my priorities in the coming year. It’s less about changing who I am, and more about digging deeper into who I am to be more fully and completely myself.
At the start of 2016, as I was just beginning to get a handle on my mental and physical health after two years of undiagnosed postpartum depression and anxiety, I had two intention words. Health, for obvious reasons, and adventure. A combination of the pressures and constraints of new motherhood with the mental and physical annihilation of the health struggles I had been through had left me completely disconnected from the person I had known for 36 years.
So, along with keeping up my doctors appointments and following the protocols I had been prescribed, I started looking for ways I could begin to feel more like myself every day. Little ways I could reclaim me. Adventure was the way to do that. My husband and I both needed time to reclaim ourselves, since the previous years had been pretty rough on us both. We settled on one night a week for each of us to have the night off of parenting duties. A night to go do whatever would make us happy. Ride bikes, ride motorcycles, hike alone, whatever we wanted. We also committed to finding a weekend each month for each of us to go on a mini adventure of our own choosing. I’ve knocked off a few sections of the Arizona Trail, and visited Denver a number of times. My hubby has taken several long distance motorcycle trips. I tried rock climbing again for the first time since high school, started teaching ski school so that I’d have the opportunity to ski more myself and to take my son more easily. I started this blog both to keep myself accountable and to rekindle a life long passion for writing (this was rather unexpected). I’ve connected with other moms on a similar journey.
For the most part...It’s been working. I still have some health issues to resolve, but things are much better there. Most importantly, I feel a lot more like myself. I have been prioritizing self care through solo adventure and feel fantastic about it.
As 2017 is upon us, I hope to keep all of those wonderful personal adventure opportunities I carved out for myself. I don’t want that to slip away. I’m happy to report that simply taking time for ourselves this year has helped my hubs and I heal a lot of the hurt and frustrations of the previous years. We are BOTH happier and healthier because of it. Who knew? That whole “put the oxygen mask on yourself first” thing really DOES work!
This year the two words I’m adding to my intentions are community and connection. Now that we are on solid footing, my spouse and I want to be more intentional about returning to adventure together. More evenings after work to scramble up a pile of boulders and drink a bottle of wine at sunset. More weekends away together to remember why we are each other’s favorite adventure partner.
I realize that my spouse isn’t the only one I need to reconnect with. Under the best of circumstances, it becomes harder to maintain friendships in the transition to parenthood. You are so busy keeping your head above water that socializing and connecting with other people is honestly too exhausting and complicated. Add in crippling postpartum complications and well...I find myself realizing that I’m more isolated and disconnected than I wish I was.
I look forward to connecting more often with the local women from The Adventure Mamas Initiative group, as well as forging closer bonds with the founders and other board members of this organization. I intend to plan trips to visit dear friends that live in some far flung corners of the world to catch up after too much time apart.
In the spirit of building a larger and closer community of amazing women around myself I’m excited to announce a writing project I will be publishing throughout 2017. But maybe I should back up and tell you the story.
A few months ago, I made a trip to Denver partly to see my BFF and partly to attend a SheVentures event in Boulder. It was billed as a “Ted Talk” style line up of inspirational speakers focused on women in the outdoors. Just my kind of thing. Inspiring it was. I found myself nodding my head at shouting “eff yeah!” in my mind (and I think it may have slipped out of my mouth once or twice too).
Afterwards, I was lucky enough to be able to talk with some of these incredible women, all of whom had founded some pretty badass businesses or non-profits to meet a need they saw in the outdoor community. When I asked Jen Gurecki, founder of Coalition Snow what I could do to help promote her business she responded “Content is king. Let’s do an interview. The more content out there about our story the better.” I was thrilled to be invited to feature her! I also felt a little sheepish. My blog isn’t that big. I really won’t be able to get her story out to that many people. But that’s when it hit me. She isn’t the only woman who has a story to tell. There are many women founded companies with stories that go far beyond just making skis or coats. What if I set out to tell as many stories of these female founded companies as I could? What if I could pool the collective community of all of us to share everyone’s ideas and missions? If everyone I interviewed and wrote about was willing to share the project, we could collectively make a much bigger impact. Hence the “Women. Work, Wits” project idea was born.
I have had the incredible pleasure of interviewing 3 amazing ladies so far and have lots more on the list I hope to complete. With this project I hope, not just to introduce you to fabulous products made by companies with heart and solid ethics, but to tell compelling stories. To help you fall in love with the guts, grit, heart and hustle that makes these women, and their companies so incredible.
I want to be clear that none of these companies are paying me for these interviews. This is not glorified advertising. I’m not an affiliate of any of these companies nor do I expect to receive compensation in any way. I’m doing this because community is everything. Because stories are powerful. Because empowered women, empower women. Because I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats.
The plan is to publish two interviews a month, mixed in with my usual posts on adventuring how to’s and philosophical ramblings. If you want to make sure you catch all of the awesome that is coming your way on the blog this year, make sure you subscribe via RSS or email below. I wouldn’t want you to miss any of the good stuff!
And hey...thank YOU for being part of my community too. If there is anything I can do to support you better you can always leave a comment on any blog post, or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to be sure to catch all the interviews in this series, subscribe below. Or, bookmark this post. I will link each interview as I publish it here.
More Than A Hashtag: Putting An End To Shrink It And Pink It. An Interview With Jen Gurecki of Coalition Snow.
Empowering Females Worldwide: An Interview with Gina Bégin of Outdoor Women's Alliance