new year

2019: Be Present

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2019!

2018 was a big year for me. I signed with an amazing art agent, got my first art licensing deal, sold some artwork to some pretty awesome companies, traveled to Canada and Hawaii, and got pregnant with our baby girl! I already know that 2019 will top 2018 because I’ll become a mom and learn to become a work-from-home mama. It’s such an exciting (and anxious) time!

My word for last year was “growth.” (Not gonna lie…I had to look up that blog post to remember what my word was…I didn’t do a great job of trying to apply it to my day-to-day life.) I definitely did grow last year, in my business, my relationships, even physically (have you seen my belly lately?! ;) )

For this year, I knew exactly what I want my mantra to be. I’ve been doing a lot of self-growth lately, reading lots of books and listening to lots of podcasts about how to be the best version of myself.

My word (or phrase, rather) for 2019 is “be present.” This phrase kept popping up everywhere I looked in the past few months, and I know that it’s something I need to strive for during this new year.

It started when I decided to really try to take control of my anxiety and stop letting my negative thoughts get in my way of being productive. My mind tends to be three steps ahead of where I currently am, always trying to figure out what needs to be done in the future. It’s always been hard for me to truly be present in whatever moment I’m in, even if it’s a relaxing, happy, or fun moment. I always catch myself thinking ahead. Does anyone else struggle with this? It’s so hard for me to truly be in the moment, but I desperately want to try in 2019. Having a baby is going to force me to be more present. I know that the only way to be a truly happy mom and raise a truly happy baby is for me to be fully engaged in whatever I’m doing at that specific moment.

I recently read an amazing book called Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke, and it introduced me to the idea of mindfulness. Nancy defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” It’s the practice of paying attention to all of your senses, being in whatever moment you’re in, and not judging your feelings, thoughts, and perceptions.

Obviously, this book is about getting through labor and birth while using mindful practices, but this mindset can (and I believe, should) be used in everyday life. I plan on reading more books about mindfulness and being present this year, and I’m excited to start doing some mindful meditations every day.

Basically, I just want to be able to slow down, breathe deeply, and be fully present in whatever moment I’m in. This goes for working, spending time with family, enjoying a vacation, even doing the dishes. Just paying full attention to the task or atmosphere that I’m in, and training my mind not to constantly wander to the future and what I need to do then.

I want to write about my journey throughout the year, and I’m going to hold myself accountable to this. I love getting my thoughts out, and I want to share more on this blog too.

So here’s to 2019! Let’s make this the best year yet!


fresh start

Even though changes usually make me a little (or very) anxious, I truly love the start of something new. Graduating from college was nerve-wracking, but I was excited to start my career. Moving across the country was terrifying, but I anticipated the chance to start over. Quitting my 9 to 5 job to chase my passion was (and still is) scary, but I'm feeling happier and more fulfilled every day.

I also always get this sort-of-anxious-but-mostly-excited feeling at the end of every year. Even though tomorrow is technically "just another day" it marks the ending of one year and the beginning of another. The end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. I'm a firm believer in viewing life as chapters, or seasons, always changing, never staying quite the same as the one before. This mindset has helped me overcome tough seasons and not get "too big for my britches" in great seasons. (Sorry, y'all...I'll limit myself to only one Southern saying for this blog post.)

2015 was a big year for me. I left my job in advertising to pursue my dream career. I still don't know exactly what I "want to do with my life," but I'm not wasting any more time just following the well-worn path of mediocrity. (That's not to say that the advertising industry is mediocre-I actually love the industry. It just doesn't get me as excited as design does.) I want to make my own path, and I began that process this past year. 

I'm looking forward to 2016 for several reasons, one of which is to learn more about design and illustration, and hopefully turn this into a lifelong career for myself. I also have many personal, physical, and spiritual goals as well. I'm not a huge fan of resolutions, just because they tend to be forgotten by the end of January (we all know it's true), but this year I'm going to be centering each month around a specific word. I don't know yet what each month's word will be; I'm guessing that I'll know when each month approaches. My word for January is "habits." This is a pretty obvious word because it's very broad, but specific in that I want to be able to focus on clearing out unhealthy or energy/time/life-draining habits and load up on new habits that will help me grow physically, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. They say it takes three weeks to break an old habit or make a new one, so this gives me a little over four weeks to set my intentions on this and make it happen!

Fresh starts can be starting a new job, going to college, starting a family...but without fresh starts, our lives would be extremely boring. Here's to a fresh start and an awesome new year!!