I’ve been meaning to do a little self-evaluation here halfway through the year, and since my word for the year is freedom – and you know, July 4th, that whole Independence Day thing… – today seemed like a good deadline to put on the calendar. (Who wants to read about freedom on July 7th? Right?)
As a refresher, here’s part of what I wanted when I set my intention for the new year:
Freedom to be whatever my soul desires. Freedom to find new love and new friendships. Freedom to travel. Freedom from self-judgment and criticism. Freedom from material trappings. Freedom from “what will people think?”.
So let’s not get carried away with the 4th of July stuff – we’re not exactly talking about freedom from foreign rule or taxation without representation. Although, I suppose you could say we are talking about the freedom to pursue happiness.
Here’s the thing about the New Year’s ritual, and the intention within it. See, I’d been putting off doing this reflection because I’ve been feeling a bit like a failure lately. Not Failure with a capital F, but, well… I’m stalled in my Retreat business, I fear that I’m wasting a lot of the free time I’ve created for myself, I’m in a bit of a rut with my personal relationships, and my house looks like I moved in over the weekend (for reference, I’ve lived in this house for almost two years now – boxes in the living room are not acceptable). And see? That last sentence there – I was supposed to be free of those kinds of judgments!
So I’ve been kind of grouchy lately. I wasn’t looking forward to putting all of that out there on the screen.
But then I look at that list and think about what my year has looked like so far. My 25 hours a week of finance work have gotten so comfortable that sometimes I forget I had to create that. I struggle with it, more than I should of course – I worry about what people think, especially when I describe my work to new acquaintances (I still haven’t figured out how to explain it concisely) or when I’m looking at the LinkedIn profiles of my peers. But then I remember: I work 25 hours a week. I’m doing what my soul desires.
Travel? I spent 3 weeks in Spain this spring. A year ago, planning a trip like that was unfathomable. I was surprised by a lot on that trip – it wasn’t all food and art and culture and vacation – but in a way, it was the freedom to do it at all that mattered.
My house is a wreck, sure, but that’s because I’ve spent the past few weeks clearing out too much stuff (material trappings) and figuring out how to make what’s left into an open, organized space that welcomes relaxation and community. It’s a work in progress, and I’m learning to be patient with myself along the way (letting go of self-judgment and criticism, hm?). There’s the dog hair, too – but you know, that’s probably a better example than any of my letting go of the rules I’ve set for myself (and so worth it!).
That’s intention for you – and also the value of taking time to take stock. Things are not as bad as they seem; progress has been made.
But there’s so much more that I want to do with this word of the year! Is it greedy to want more freedom than I already have? I want freedom from the fear that’s holding me back in my business. Freedom from bad habits whose upsides are rapidly diminishing. Freedom to communicate and connect the old-fashioned way. Freedom to try (more) new things. And all of the freedoms I was dreaming of at the start of the year, too.
So there’s my intention for the next 6 months.
I hope this wasn’t too heavy for a day that’s meant for hamburgers and fireworks. I’m done for now. I’ve gotta get going. Angie and I are about to exercise our freedom to watch a movie about male strippers. (Yay, America!)