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.
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!
p.s. If you’d like more visuals to go along with this post, feel free to check out my Instagram.
What are your goals for 2018? What direction would you like to move in?