I'm not sure I'm ready for 2015 yet, but ready or not here it is! It's January 2nd, a freezing cold Friday morning, and I'm sitting in my white fuzzy bathrobe going through all my photos from last year and remembering everything that happened.
Ben doesn't go back to school until Monday, and I'm taking full advantage of being able to set my own "vacation time" so we both still have one foot in holiday mode as we step forward slowly into our normal routine again. We're home from our Christmas roadtrip, and had a great time celebrating the holidays with both of our families, but we're also happy to be able to relax and spend some quiet time together before we have to kick back into work mode.
I love the significance of a fresh start, whether it's a new week, month, season, birthday, or year. Having New Year's arrive at the end of the week is kind of throwing me off, but I'm ok with the slow transition. I'm focusing on cleaning, organizing, reflecting, and planning until Monday, when it's full steam ahead! I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing year full of growth and opportunity, but before we get too far into it I want to look back and re-cap 2014, because I think it will go down as one of the most monumental years of my life.
Career change, personal growth, weddings, friends, challenges, discovery, courage, chaos, joy, overwhelm, gratitude.
2014 will always be defined in my mind as the year of the polar vortex. Snow, ice, early morning workouts and brilliant sunrises, obsessive weather checking, wine nights with the girls, working from home in front of the space heater, big "cold day" breakfasts, vitamin D pills. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I truly want from life, and what success means to me.
It was a hard winter, but I discovered an inner determination to focus on positivity no matter what, and at the end of February I reached a personal tipping point and decided to sign up as a Team Beachbody coach to share that determination and take my health and fitness passion to the next level.
The snow and ice finally melted. I distinctly remember the first day in late March that I was able to see bare sidewalk again.
Ben and I visited my family's booth at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, the first taste of spring in the city.
I pushed my mental and physical limits and completed the 21 Day Fix, reaching the best shape of my life and highest level of body confidence.
I painted a little, reveled in the green of new plants and buds, spent my 27th birthday in southern Illinois at an environmental education conference, and celebrated Easter with the first al fresco brunch of the year.
May is always a bipolar month in the midwest, and we took full advantage of each warm day to live a little more spontaneously.
Late spring into early summer is my favorite time of year. I kicked off my wedding season with a circuit of bridal showers and dress fittings, went home for Memorial Day and Father's Day, ran the Steamboat Classic, took lots of lunch break walks around Lincoln Park's south pond, absorbed personal development books, and became addicted to frozen yogurt.
Last summer was a blast. After the long horrible winter, Chicago woke up and came alive, and we took full advantage of the glorious season of fun.
Ben and I spent our weekends playing tourist in the city, I mentored a new batch of high school interns at the zoo, ate copious amounts of tacos and cocktails, and celebrated a bachelorette party every other weekend.
I continued to embraceBeachbody coaching, swamped myself in the energy of online accountability groups, and started to sponsor and mentor my own coaches, women who quickly started to become some of my best friends.
It was a whirlwind of work and fun, and I started to really think about my career path and future. After weeks of inner conflict and obsessing, I ultimately decided that deep in my heart I needed to leave the zoo to focus on what made me the happiest, running my health and fitness business and Etsy shop.
I took the plunge, resigned from my full time job on August 29th, and immediately drove up to northern Wisconsin for a girls weekend on the shores of Lake Superior.
I don't really remember much about September, it was kind of surreal to be officially working for myself.
I spent a lot of time reflecting and thinking about life, and it was kind of an overwhelming time.
October into November. More whirlwind. Ben and I drove out to the Morton Arboretum to spend some time hiking and absorbing the fall colors. It was the first time I'd visited since I left my job there, which was two jobs ago now.
In early November I flew to Dallas for a Beachbody training conference hosted by my team. I got to meet up with a few of my own beautiful coaches and we spent the weekend listening to leaders in the company and experts in the fields of social media, marketing, and sharing your personal story. My brain EXPLODED and it was a big turning point for me professionally as well as emotionally. We also got to do PiYo live with Chalene Johnson, which filled me with so much freaking joy and cemented my goal to become a certified PiYo instructor and eventually teach it in fitness studios.
We also celebrated Ben's 29th birthday and I made a delicious chocolate ganache cake!
I'm slowly but surely developing a cohesive brand and style for my creative business, Anna Maria Locke, and created a few of my most popular scarves from plaid flannel and leopard print.
So typing all this out is making me realize why I needed a break so badly, whew! What a crazy whirlwind summer and fall. This December was great. I closed my Etsy shop for vacation after a very successful holiday season in which I made over $2,500 in sales, wrapped up my accountability and coach training groups, and made an intentional effort to relax and enjoy the season!
Ben and I decorated our second mini Christmas tree, I spent a lot of time thinking, reading, and planning for the year ahead, and we spent days driving around Illinois and Michigan to visit both of our families.
I've been attempting to maintain some semblance of balance between all the drinks, delicious holiday treats, and my abs by sticking with the brand new Insanity Max:30 fitness program. It's been great so far--I'm on week 3 now, doing 30 minute bodyweight circuits five times a week. It's a two month program, and I'll share a review once I hit the 30 day point!
Ben and I drove back to Chicago for New Year's Eve and for the first time in my life we didn't host or attend a party. Instead, we had a wonderful quiet dinner at a wine bar in our neighborhood, then came home and binged watched some Marco Polo on Netflix before crashing shortly after midnight.
Yesterday we kicked off the day with a delicious brunch of smoked salmon and bubbly, until a VERY UNWELCOME rodent visitor made itself known. Right now we're dealing with rat traps and poison, and frantically cleaning and organizing every corner of the apartment. Yuck!
ON THE HORIZON
I finally feel like I'm getting a handle on the work/life thing, and I'm really excited for everything that's going to happen in 2015! I want to be more intentional with my energy and time, and hopefully even out the emotional roller coaster ride I've been trapped on since last spring.
A few of the big projects and milestones ahead:
-a new website and blog !!!
-a more established health and wellness coaching business and team
-WATERCOLORS IN THE ETSY SHOP (finally, right?)
-a new apartment this summer !!!
I want to start writing and sharing more of my life again. I feel like I got sucked into the learning and absorbing vacuum this fall, became overwhelmed with everything I felt like I "needed" to know and do, and paralyzed myself with too many conflicting priorities.
2015 is going to be a year of FOCUS and intention. I have a lot of big goals and dreams, and I know I'm capable of making them happen. Thanks for reading along and letting me share my journey! Stay tuned :)