Happy New Year!
It feels good to write this letter because I've been struggling to get words onto the page/screen. I'd write a 1000 words, then delete all my words, then start the process all over again. Write. Delete. Write. Delete. Needless to say, the writing process hasn't been fun.
My friend Cait Flanders helped me shift my perspective. Yesterday, I read Cait's newsletter and I loved the format!
In her latest missive, Cait shared "10 updates/thoughts written in just 100 words each." After reading her letter, I thought to myself: This would be a fun writing challenge. I'm going to "steal like an artist" and do something similar with my newsletter!
The style of Cait’s letter reminded me of Beth Ann Fennelly's book—Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs—and a writing exercise I did at the Paris American Academy. In our memoir workshop, we wrote mini memoirs. This style of writing provides a tiny snapshot of who you are in a very short format. It's a fun exercise!
With that, let's dive in …
100 Words on 2019
Words can't express my gratitude for 2019. I filled my year with travel, quality time with The Husband & friends, good coffee, cat snuggles, reading, and so much CrossFit. Also, Chico, CA is starting to feel like home (finally)! I did experience hard moments that were worked related, and I'm looking forward to the next phase in my professional life. In short, 2019 was full of learning opportunities and gratitude for the high and low moments.
100 Words on The Year of Food & Movement
Over the last few months, I’ve dedicated my leisure hours to cooking and moving. For example, I'm increasing my weight lifting power at the gym. We worked on 1 rep maxes recently, and I deadlifted 180 pounds and back-squatted 150 pounds (both lifts are PRs)! In addition, I've been making yummy recipes. My favorites include enchiladas, Pad Thai, and other vegetable based dishes (via Thug Kitchen). Meditation has also been on my mind. Currently, I’m doing a free mediation challenge (hosted on the Ten Percent Happier app). I’m over a week into the challenge, and it's been so helpful!
100 Words on Digital Minimalism
During 2018, I embraced digital minimalism. I also created new online sharing boundaries for 2019 and beyond. The changes helped start The Year of Food & Movement, read more books, and be present in my daily life. For example, I read 59 books in 2019, listened to lots of podcasts, and now I only subscribe to newsletters I love.
100 Words on Blogger Burnout
During the second half of 2019, I dealt with blogger burnout. I haven't posted words or photos on RowdyKittens.com for the past six months. I also unpublished 99% of my blog archive because it's time for a fresh start. The posts that are public are my favorites! In 2020, I'll continue writing this newsletter and sharing photos online. My biggest aim is: preventing another burnout episode.
100 Words on Work
Running my little business has been a blast, and it's time to pivot. I'm currently applying for traditional jobs and freelance opportunities. I'm not sure how my work life will transform in 2020, and the uncertainty is scary and exciting. It's hard to let go of my business, and I know it's time to experience new adventures in the work world.
100 Words on Money
Earlier this month, we met with our fiduciary for our annual investment review. We will continue to invest in Index Funds and put a portion of our savings into ESG Funds. We're excited to save more in 2020! If you're thinking about investing options, I recommend finding a fiduciary. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is a good place to start. They consist solely of fee-only financial planners and offer guidance to consumers. Do your research, and watch out for high fees!
100 Words on Travel
We will continue to invest in experiences (not things). Most of our trips will be in Northern California, and we are planning another trip to Europe! On average, I take an airline flight once a year. It's a privilege to fly, an adventure, and flying is terrible for the environment. I'm starting to research carbon offsetting for my flights. I'm also learning as much as I can about climate change.
100 Words on Climate Change
Earlier this year, I got to see Naomi Klein speak at CSU, Chico. Her talk (and new book) filled me with worry and hope; hope that policymakers and citizens will find a way forward. Also, the following two books offered helpful solutions to mitigate climate change:
+ In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World by Lauren E. Oakes
+ Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World by Josh Tickell
100 Words on Christie
Christie’s health declined in 2019. She started having seizures in late 2018 (right after Elaina died). On average, she has one seizure a month and they are terrifying to watch. They could be the result of her advanced chronic kidney disease or something else. Christie is on medication for the seizures. Also, she continues to eat her favorite “vet approved” food, Royal Canin D. I know Christie won’t be around forever and we’re savoring all her sweet cuddles.
100 Words on 2020
Gratitude, gratitude, and more gratitude. I could write the word gratitude another 97 times, but I think you get the idea. Gratitude is what I'm growing in my life. I'm excited about the year ahead, and I'm grateful that you've taken the time to read my words!
Wishing you a healthy & happy new year!
Good Reads & Listens
Finally, here’s a list of what I enjoyed consuming over the past few months:
Favorite Non-Fiction Books
+ Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale by Adam Minter
+ Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors & the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy
+ The Mind of the Leader by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter
+ The Valedictorian of Being Dead by Heather Armstrong
+ Unbound: A Story of Snow & Self-Discovery by Steph Jagger
+ The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes
+ The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Favorite Mini Documentary