2018 is Nearly Here! Looking Back & Looking Forward
Grendel pondering the future/looking out the window for deer.

2018 is Nearly Here! Looking Back & Looking Forward

Written by Emilie

Topics: Annual Review

Well multipotentialites, we’ve reached the end of another interesting year. That can only mean one thing: it’s time to publish one of my informal annual reviews/goal setting posts!

2017: The “Year of Rest”?

When I wrote up last year’s goal-setting post, I declared 2017 to be the “year of rest.” It was an aspirational goal–one I knew I desperately needed, and probably wouldn’t get for a while.

With the book coming out, a new platform in development for the Puttytribe and a couple big speaking engagements on the horizon, there was no way there would be much resting. I did what I could though. I kicked the year off by moving to a small island in Canada with my wife and I began going on daily hikes with Grendel.

In Putty-land, everything was still moving full speed ahead. How to Be Everything was coming out in the spring and I had a gazillion interviews and other marketing schtuff coming down the line. Things were just getting started.

The slower-paced island life Valerie and I had chosen was a nice contrast to my plugged-in, buzzing work life. If I couldn’t actually rest all that much, at least my environment could be calm and picturesque.

A New Book and a New House

How to Be Everything came out in American bookstores in May, followed by Canadian, British, and Australian bookstores. I learned that it will be coming out in Korean (check out this dope cover!), Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Simplified and Complex Chinese, and Russian in the coming months, too!

The book release was SO EXCITING. I got to launch it at the greatest bookstore in the world: Powells in Portland. So many friends, family and multipotentialites came out to celebrate. It was one of the best days of my life. I also did readings in Vancouver, Salt Spring and Montreal and met some lovely multipods.

Just to make things a little crazier, at the same time as the book was coming out, Valerie and I decided to buy a house. There I was, waking up at 4am to do half a dozen radio interviews for morning segments, writing up guest articles, filling out endless paperwork, and fielding calls from lenders, realtors, etc.

It felt like this non-stop train of work/life excitement was continuing on, despite my intention to “rest.” And as happy as I was about all of it, I was also horribly stressed out.

The summer was all moving house, traveling, speaking, book marketing. It didn’t really slow down until I took a full week off to go to music camp in August.

Thankfully, Things Slowed Down in August

When I returned to the island, I was determined to slow down. I had to. I started saying no. I said no to speaking offers and to interview offers. I said no to new projects.

I re-focused on the basics: Puttylike and the Puttytribe, which I finally had real time to focus on. I began swimming in the ocean every day. I got involved in my local community on my new island. I began making friends, going to potlucks, game nights, movie nights, bon fires… It was ironic that I was finding more opportunities to hang out with people on an island of 1000 than I’d ever found in any city. I had finally found the (in-person) community I’d been longing for.

Challenges and Inner Critics

It’s not like the Fall was perfect. I learned that when you clear a bunch of activity from your life, it’s very easy for whatever health & mental health issues you have to bubble up to the surface. My anxiety was pretty crippling in October and November. I was very sad at times, too.

There’s also definitely an inner critic that occasionally scolds me for being “less ambitious” than I’ve been in the past. It tells me I’m crazy for not continuing to ride the wave of a career that was starting to soar and for not striving for bigger and bigger things: MORE TED talks, MORE high paying speaking engagements, MORE books!!!

But thinking about doing all that makes me feel sick. And listening to myself–to what I really want to do–makes me feel awesome.

Trusting Myself

There’s an element of trust here. I need to trust that things will work themselves out if I just listen to myself and do the kind of work I want to do.

This impulse to listen to myself, even when my choices are at odds with the “smarter” or “more profitable” path, is leading me to interesting places. I wrote a pilot script for a TV show I developed, I launched a collaborative project called Puttycomps and put together a book of comics, I joined a singing group, I began dipping my toes back into coaching and found I’d been missing it. I’m also seeing the Puttytribe really flourish (we had 9 live events on the calendar just last week!) and I’m actually around to join in and help out, instead of scrambling to put together another speech and popping into the community when possible. I just generally feel a lot more free and a lot more like myself.

2018: The Year of…Me?

That brings us to the present. My goal for 2018 is to keep listening to and trusting myself, and to keep choosing the work that I want to do over the things that I supposedly should be doing.

I want to slow down and appreciate this new island community even more. I want more in-person connecting and more face-to-face connecting in Puttytribe huddles/events and possibly through coaching. I want to take care of my health and mental health and focus on true self-care.

I want to get outside more, read more, and continue becoming more self-sufficient and more “handy.” (Side note: we have a wood stove and have chosen to only heat with wood this winter. That means building 1-2 fires a day and splitting a lot of wood. At first, this was a huge challenge for a city kid like me but I’m getting good at it and it’s quickly becoming an enjoyable part of my routine. I want to feel a greater sense of mastery at these sorts of things, especially since I’m now a homeowner in a rural area.)

So, that’s where I’m at! I’m feeling good about the direction my life is taking and I’m excited for the new year. I don’t know if I’m actually “resting” more but I am spending more of my time doing the things I want to do, especially in my work. And that feels pretty darn refreshing.

Thanks to all of you for your kindness, creativity, support, and sheer awesomeness this last year. I love this community so much.

Happy new year, multipods!

xo Emilie

p.s. If you’d like more visuals to go along with this post, feel free to check out my Instagram.

Now it’s your turn…

What are your goals for 2018? What direction would you like to move in?

Emilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike and The Puttytribe, where she helps multipotentialites build lives and careers around ALL their interests. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is the author of How to Be Everything (HarperCollins). Learn more about Emilie here.


  1. Andrew Martz says:

    Great work Emilie. You are an inspiration!

  2. Eric Blaser says:

    Thank you for sharing. My life is very similar. I moved to Island in the San Juan’s where i bought a home. Cocooning and preparing for the next phase of my life. Certainly along similar trajectories as I ready myself for a new phase of life.

    Wood heat, learning carpentry skills participating in local island life is rich beyond belief and cherished everyday. Writing a book about the experience leaving a busy life of Portland, OR to rest and deal with the demons inside kept at bay by business! Oh what a surprise it was! A perfectly laid out plan that crumbled to reveal the life that was waiting there all along. As joesph Cambell says,” one must give up on the life planned for the one that’s waiting for you” I couldn’t agree more!

    Here’s to a life worth living!

    • Emilie says:

      Our lives have taken similar turns, haven’t they! I left Portland, too. And the Gulf Islands are basically the Canadian continuation of the San Juan Islands. Enjoy, and happy writing!

  3. Laura says:

    The Year of Us!
    Ah, Emilie. That was Such a good post. I quit my job in oct to listen, have more time, and be more me and be more for myself and surely for others. It is going quite Well.
    2018 will be all about:
    Being brave
    Playing the harmonica
    Failure (aka Learning)
    Resting when needed
    Making a Living (in Real life, not naïve)
    Or summarized. It will be all about:
    Living. Living my life.
    Happy New Year! Lets have an awesome time!
    Xxx Laura

  4. Adela says:

    Hi there!! great post. Congratulations en everything you have achieve. You inspire me!

    After accepting that I can be more than just one thing (or two, architect and mother). I did my masters un Positive Psychology. And right now Im in the process to mix both to create my blog and my own course for designing for wellbeing.
    So my goals for the 2018 are:
    Create and grow my blog: happierspaces.com (will be ready soon)
    Be able to give my first course in a design university (Architecture and wellbeing: designing with propuse

    These are big steps for me because I have been procrastinating a lot, maybe because of fear of failure. But Im doing it right now, so lets see how it goes.

    Emilie thanks to your TED talk I got inspired, and understand that is nothing wrong being like me and that we are a lot of crazy multipods out there, so Thank you very much.

    Goog luck to you and all the multipods for the 2018!!!

  5. Lianna says:

    The year of ME!
    Listening to my insides.
    Grounding down in stillness.
    Creating from within.
    Reaching out with an open heart.
    Making room for space.


  6. Richard says:

    Great post, Emilie. A lot of it resonated with me – in particular, the crippling anxiety in oct/nov and the way giving yourself space can unearth a host of mindset issues.

    I’m yet to finalise my focus areas for 2018, but ideas so far include:

    Making my life sustainable and repeatable
    Staying in a positive headspace
    Becoming the ‘bite-sized multipotentialite’

    All will be revealed on the tribe, with further explanation, once I’ve settled on a full list.

  7. Craig says:

    Emilie! I love the slow down revelations and decisions you made in 2017- I’ll be chewing on that as I go through my process which I’m working on now. I usually select 5-10 top goals and also choose an annual theme. This year it’s “FOCUS”, which means I’ll likely have fewer goals:) Here’s what the process looks like if you’re curious – http://www.creategoodmornings.com/a-simple-guide-to-goal-setting/

  8. Larissa Lim says:

    Great post, Emilie! I just wanted to say that I’m beyond glad to have found your TEDx talk and book (and later, Puttylike!) at the start of 2017. I actually first learned about you through your featured episode on my favorite podcast, “The Limit Does Not Exist.” I am so grateful for all the work you’ve done with embracing multipotentiality! I’m a senior in high school currently applying to colleges (in the US), and I’m happy to say that my multipotentiality has been the subject of many of those admissions essays! See ya in the new year!

    • Maryske says:

      Seems to me you discovered multipotentiality just in time, Larissa! I hope you’ll be able to follow your heart in your choice of studies. For really, no matter what you study, as a multipod you might end up in a totally different career anyway :-)

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Larissa,

      Thanks so much for the comment. I too LOVE The Limit Does Not Exist. Such a smart, inspiring podcast. And that was one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done.

      Good luck with college admissions. I don’t know anything about what you’re looking for so definitely take this with a grain of salt, but if I were applying to colleges in the US right now, I would check out places like Evergreen State College and Goddard. I’ve heard from several people that they are essentially dream schools for multipotentialites. But if you’re leading with your multipotentiality (in those admissions essays), I’m sure you’ll find something great, wherever you end up. :)

  9. Maryske says:

    I’ve got a postcard here that says (in German): “Most of the time, we should simply do what makes us happy, instead of doing what might be best.” Your entire blog post here reminded me of that saying!

    I’m afraid I don’t usually do any goalsetting for the new year, but considering that I just got a new job (or rather, I got my old job back until the summer, only this time in part time version, which I expect will be a major improvement!) and at the same time got pretty much a job offer to start at any time I can find an affordable place to live in the Stockholm area (which is a bit like finding an affordable place to live in NYC, but still, it’s a promise!), I’ll share one dream for the coming year with you.

    For honoured as I may feel about that highly interesting Stockholm offer, it does feel a bit stifling to already know (ahem…) what I’m going to do after this present job. And to be honest, I had been hoping to get some serious info on going back to university next year and figure out how to finance my life while indulging in that. I’d really like to try out the route I would have loved to take back when I was 18, if I hadn’t been talked out of it by a combination of parents and school’s dean that this was not something from which you could make a living unless you were extremely talented: choir conducting. (Okay, as a multipod I had a zillion things I wanted to do, so at the time I certainly wasn’t too unhappy about going into geography and education instead, but still…)

    Ever since I learned from Jens that studying in Germany is fairly cheap at the moment, I’ve been taking a regular look at their offers. And choir conducting seems to be a pretty major field of music study in Germany: bachelor’s and master’s courses are available at over 20 universities and conservatories. I’d need to find out exactly what each of them offers, what the entry requirements are, and where I’d have a decent chance of actually getting in and learn what I want to learn.

    To be honest, I’m not sure I’d last even for a full bachelor’s degree, but the one 1-week course I ever took in choir conducting was about the best week of my life education-wise. I’d love to give it a shot for real. Which would also require to finally stop procrastinating and sign up with Flexjobs for real instead of just thinking about it ;-)

    But at least for this coming term I’ve got a job – and a part time one, which will hopefully leave me with enough energy and time to go after this German music dream!

  10. Emilie says:

    Hi Maryske,

    Yes!!! I am fully in support.

    You’ve got part-time work now, so it seems like a good time to get going with Flexjobs and get stuff in place for Germany. And who knows. Maybe you’ll love choir conducting and end up doing it for years or maybe you’ll study it for a year and feel like you’ve gotten your fill, but end up discovering something else through the program. Or maybe you’ll fall in love with Germany. You just never know where it’ll lead. Seems like an impulse you should follow though, particularly since the financial stakes aren’t too high. Exciting. :)

  11. It really seems like you got very little rest this year! But living on an island must be peaceful :)

    I’m new here, this being my first post on any of your articles. For the new year it’s going to be a new start for me – instead of focusing solely on my boring desk job and how to get promoted, I’m going to start dabbling in my hobbies again and try to spend more time with my 2 young kids. My 1 new years resolution is to maintain a blog – I’ve rebooted an old blog from college, which I’ve left a link to in my post. I hope that it’ll act as a focal point for all my different thoughts and activities and help lessen the guilt I feel when I drop something I’ve been doing because I’ll at least be consistently sharing these changes in direction through the blog :)

    I’d also love to thank you for… all of this? I’ve spent my life wanting to do so many different things and then feeling bad because it’s impractical and not good for putting food in my mouth, and now my kids’ mouths.

    I’m hoping I’ll nab a place in the puttytribe in January (but living in GMT central, the time zones mught be against me!) But I’ll stay in touch through your articles at least and I hope I’ve finally found a place where I’m not crazy for deciding to entirely drop a fiction piece I’ve been writing to move onto a business plan for my husband :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! ^_^

    • Emilie says:

      Haha yeah, I didn’t rest so much in 2017, it’s true. :)

      Welcome to the community, Helen! Have fun with your blog. Hope to catch you in the Puttytribe soon! There are loads of British and European puttypeep in the Tribe so we have a good number of events at times that aren’t in the middle of the night for you. :)

  12. Lisa says:

    Emilie thank you for being you, being brave and sharing your year. It has really inspired me to look at my intentions for 2018. xx

  13. Emily N Faulkner says:

    Thank you for your blog posts! They’re a great read–and you put a lot of thought into it. As a student in a really involved, tiny liberal arts college with a strong culture of busyness, I totally get what you’re saying. and how easy it is to get sucked into what you supposedly “should” be doing. But if those supposeds are set by other people, and not your own sense of what is right to do, then you can say no!
    So thanks for helping me think more about it :) I want to learn to listen more to myself (and God, Love) this year, too.

  14. Danya Nissan says:

    Woooow Emilie!!!! I found you this couple of days through coincidences of the universe !

    You have no idea how each and every word you say resonates with me !

    This part : “But thinking about doing all that makes me feel sick. And listening to myself–to what I really want to do–makes me feel awesome.” I can relate to
    It to so many things that happen in life!

    It’s so good to know that I’m not alone, that I have been very greave in trusting my gut and fighting my fight as well as becoming a lover.

    I’m so happy to be here ! So so happy to be home again in new ways !

  15. Sara says:

    Thank you Emily!
    This is the kind of truth about entrepreneurship that people also needs to know. How to learn and think about balance and trust.
    Love your post for the new year!
    All my best!

  16. Ismael Barrera Hernández Ismael says:

    Hello Emilie, I enjoyed your article, because it is as a reflection for people. You helped me unsdestand that we should give time to ourselves take advantage of our time, and not be stressed out with only the work or other things.
    An article in which we learn to take advantage of our family, friends and our personal time.

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