2021 Reflection: The year I went self-employed, nomadic, and got married
BY EMILY FARAONE
Most years go by, and there isn’t too much change in my life. I think that’s normal? I’ve never been a huge new years guy, and this is honestly the first year I’m setting any goals. I don’t think the new year needs to come with this pressure to “up-level,” but I appreciate the reminder to reflect on the past year. I realized that my life actually did change a lot this year. In 2021, I quit my job and went fully self-employed, we moved out of our apartment and have been living nomadically in Airbnbs, and I married my best friend. None of this was on my “goals for 2020” list… that list doesn’t exist.
From the outside, that is a lot of change, and it is. I’m proud of all those changes, especially for someone who historically doesn’t adapt to change well. When I sit back and think of all I have done this year, I get a little bit of imposter syndrome. Did I really do that? It didn’t just happen. All of it took intention and real work. Being self-employed is scary. Going from a steady paycheck to growing a “for fun” side business into what pays for my life took a lot of tears and late nights. My income is solely up to me. Living in Airbnbs takes a lot of effort. We spent hours and hours researching cities and places to stay. Plus, once you get there, the research doesn’t stop. We have been in areas where nothing is familiar. Even just going to get groceries involves Google and GPS. And marriage? This, you could say, was the most consistent “goal” I have been working towards. It is an everyday effort. Growing a business and living in Airbnbs together in areas where we only know each other may have been the ultimate test of our relationship. If we can go through that having all the fun we have, I think that’s a good sign for our marriage. We each work every day to be intentional about supporting and bringing each other joy.
All those events were “goals” in a way. I never wrote them down on a list, but they are all things I had thought of and hoped for myself. As a holistic health coach and mentor, I often talk about “making your dreams your reality” with clients. That’s the “big picture” goal, right? Make your dreams your reality. That really happened for me this year. In my day to day, I’m constantly dreaming about what’s next and can get weighed down by the work and effort that it takes to live this life. It wasn’t until I sat down to reflect on this year (literally right now) that I realized what I had accomplished. Me even one year ago would be in disbelief. Stop looking ahead for a second and reflect on how far you have come. Sit in that. It’s great motivation for the future.
I’m trying to place… what made 2021 different for me? How did these dreams go from being dreams to my reality? There have been times in my life where I felt like life was just passing me by, and I didn’t have control of my reality. What gave me the courage to pursue these things? I wish there was a “secret sauce” that I could share with you all. If I had to make a secret sauce recipe, it would include constant dreaming, the mindset that anything is possible, not saying no to yourself, and actionable steps of real work. The combination of mindset with intentional, actionable steps is the main ingredient.
Your mindset is a tool that you can practice and get better at using. Like any skill, you can practice and see improvement. Working with a health coach helped me work on my mindset, inner dialogue, and breaking down goals into actions. The most valuable part of working with a health coach is having the scheduled time to sit and reflect, talk about my life, and make plans to change it. For change to happen, you need intent. I had attempted to do similar practice on my own, but having a scheduled time and someone to hold me accountable and guide me helped me progress much further. In my first session with her, I learned that if I don’t show up authentically and address what’s going on in my head, I’m only disserving myself. I’m paying her for this time; I need to get the most of it. I have a sounding board for my inner monologue with my health coach. Having someone question my internal dialogue and offer a more positive mindset has resulted in my hopeful and abundance mindset. That mindset motivates me to take actionable steps. Practicing this in my sessions has given me the tools to do this outside of my sessions.
Change in our lives starts with inner work. From the outside, my life has changed a lot in 2021. The exterior change is a direct result of the interior change. Investing in yourself gives you the best returns. Sure, a coach helps and may expedite things for you, but it isn’t necessary. Taking the time to reflect is the best first step. I challenge you to reflect on this year. Write it down or type it out. This blog post started as “2021 Reflection,” and I have come to these realizations while writing. You don’t need to share your reflection, but if you do, send it my way– I’d love to read it.
On the Deerly Collective Instagram, we started a series, “22 Thoughts to Shift Your Mindset in 2022.” Here are a few we have shared. Do any of them really click with you? Save it, write it down, and use it as a reminder. Want to change your life? It all starts with you.