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A friend of mine recently recommended that I take some time to reflect on the past year of my life as it ends. As 2017 came to a close, I thought a lot about the best things I’ve done this year, and I wanted to share them with you. 

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  1. Started a yoga practice. This is far and away the best thing I did for myself this year. I started the year by doing a yoga challenge where I try to do a particular yoga pose every day for forty days. Forty days turned into nearly 365, as I’ve incorporated some sort of yoga into almost every day of my life this year. Not only did I begin a practice by myself, but I’ve shared it with others. Eli and I frequently do yoga together in the middle of our days or nights together. I’ve also started leading a short daily yoga practice with a few of my coworkers at the library. I have to say, taking that 10 minute break in the middle of the day has had a big impact on how much I am able to accomplish in my workday, and how I feel at the end of it. I come back from this break feeling energized, relieved, and ultimately ready to take on the rest of the afternoon. I’ve wanted to start a yoga practice for quite a few years now, and am so glad that it’s finally happened for me. I feel so committed and engrossed in my practice, and I love that it’s just that- a practice. Something I do every day, something I keep working at, something I'm constantly learning about, and that I reach for when I'm in need. 
  2. Began meditating. This one isn’t as huge of an achievement as yoga, but it is similar. My mom has been meditating for about four years now, and I would say that she has a practice. For me, meditation is still something that is infrequent, though it has become less and less so throughout this past year. It isn’t as much of a daily practice as yoga, but I’m still proud that I do it at all. It has become one of my favorite things to do on weekends or when I have a late morning at the library. Through this practice, I am learning how to be still, and how to give in to daydreams-- the flip side of all-consuming worry.
  3. I also started reading audiobooks, which is 100% the reason I read nearly 50 books in 2017. I started it because I had such a long commute from Cazenovia to work, but kept up the habit even when I moved. I read so much last year, and fallen in love with audible storytelling as well. (Podcasts too!)
  4. Fell in love with walks, with being outside. Eli and I started doing this simply because we had nowhere else to go to spend time together, but now it is part of our regular weekend routine. That, and naps. Both of which I can't wait to do more of in 2018.
  5. Started eating better. I now regularly enjoy: asparagus, yogurt, kombucha (!!), cashews, etc. For someone who previously thought of "healthy eating" as baby carrots and onion dip, this is a big deal.
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Finally, the very best thing I did in 2018 was finish my freaking book. This was so hard, so much work, and there's still more to go- but I did it. 

2017 was a year of revamping my health. I learned how to set boundaries, to say yes to myself and no to others. This was a year of hard truths coming to light. But I think I'm ready to be stronger now, to fight harder for myself. To stand up for myself, and say "f*ck you" a little bit more.

It’s so easy to sit here and say, "New Year new me." But honestly, after the 2017 I had- full of struggle and self doubt, I think I have every right to say that. I am going to be channeling my inner Gina Linetti this year. I’m going to be following what I want to do, instead of what I feel I have a duty to do.

As my therapist told me at the end of last week: “Do you wanna be a real person or do you wanna be nice?”

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This year I intend to: 

Stop over scheduling myself

Stop taking responsibility for other people’s feelings

The first intention is pretty obvious, but the second one is something I realized in the last month or so of 2017. After spending one too many nights and weekends worrying what other people were thinking of me, and generally thinking I was worthless if other people were unhappy when I guess I technically "could" fix it (at high cost to myself, however), I realized-- F*CK THAT. It was doing no one any good, and ruining my down time, which I really only care to spend: taking naps, walks, making art, and watching TV. So that was it. I'm done taking responsibility for other people's feelings. If I've done all that I can reasonably do, and someone is still unhappy-- oh well. That's their problem, not mine.

My goals are different from my intentions. I want to travel, I want to do a headstand in yoga, I want to graduate college, and the scariest thing to say that I haven’t officially said but I’m saying now because the universe can’t know unless I write it down: I want to get an agent, and get my book published. 

Thanks in advance, universe. 

I hope you all had a wonderfully reflective and intentional New Year, and that this year brings you the strength to do all that you desire.

-Fran