At this time of year, blogs and magazines are littered with advice on all of the things you should do to improve yourself. Upgrade Your Life! Find Inner Peace! Change Direction! Plus all the usual preaching about losing weight and saving money by forgoing your daily coffee … blah, blah, blah. (Each title has to be punctuated with a screamer – what we used to call exclamation marks when I worked in publishing.) No thanks. I’m good. I did all of that (ok not the nixing my daily latte but everything else) and it led me right back to where I started. And in the chaos (moving, packing, purging, crying, changing my mind), I learned that what I needed most was a simpler quieter approach. 

Photo by Tara West

My biggest lesson was to cut myself some slack. I made a lot of decisions in an attempt to live up to impossible standards that I set for myself. I still can’t believe that a year ago I was settling into a new home across the country and starting a home-based business. I felt like I had to do something big and bold. I was afraid by not plunging headfirst into something exciting and challenging, that I would fade away. I felt that I had lost my creativity and work passion. It wasn’t long in Vancouver for me to realize how much I hated my new home and that solitary freelance lifestyle. A few months later, I packed up and moved back across the country with a great new job. In hindsight, I should have just taken some time off to imagine my next step. I’ve always operated on overdrive as I raced towards monthly publishing and retail deadlines. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was. But moving forward at full throttle is my go-to speed and once I moved across the country, I learned that what I needed most was time to myself – to travel, to read, to sleep – an unstructured life without deadlines for once. And so while that didn’t happen – I went back to Toronto for a fantastic job – I learned that it’s ok to change one’s mind and go right back where you started.  

Now that I’m back in Toronto and in a new corporate stream, I have vowed to simplify my life, and allow more time when making important decisions. I’m living in a rental for the first time in more than a decade. I love not worrying about everything little crack on the wall or weird noise on the roof. I pay my rent and that’s it – no extra monthly fees or renovation costs.  I sold my car so I get around by subway and UBER. I’m buying a bike in the spring.

My New Year’s Resolution is to continue down the path I’m on. No major changes. No New Me. A calm drama-free year is what I crave … I have a feeling that won’t be the case though! I wish you a joyful prosperous 2018.