How I’ve “Leveled Up”

On December 24, I set some lofty goals for the new year. I admit, I was pretty frustrated. After reading about “leveling up” in the bullet journaling community, I realized my life was ready for an upgrade. I asked myself: Will focusing on fewer “trades” bring me true success?

I set these goals for 2017, intending to improve as a writer and a wife:

Good news! I have been rising to the occasion!

While I’ve been slacking on blogging, I have a good excuse: I’ve developed my professional writing in other ways. Soon after ringing in the new year, I landed a freelance magazine writing job for Guerrero Howe Custom Media out of Chicago. And as a result of attending GLVWG meetings, I met a fellow writer who offered me a full-time content writing job for Architect Marketing Institute. Both are creative work-from-home gigs, and I’m thrilled to announce that I can call myself a writer in daily conversation.

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I promised to contemplate my spirituality and my love of literature by memorizing a short prayer and reading it aloud once a month. Honestly…I didn’t do that. Instead I’m using the Calm app to meditate nearly every morning. Plus I’m ticking away at a new reading list. If anyone wants to get together to discuss The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, let me know! (Total coincidence that I quoted her in my Dec. 24 blog post.)

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Thinking more carefully about finances, I ask myself before spending: Would I rather a stranger hand me these pansies or $30? The answer truest to my heart lately is that I would rather have the flowers. The purple color scheme, coupled with pink and yellow accents, in my front yard is delightful. Worth every penny.

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As acts of love toward my husband Jason, I promote his faux finish painting and continue to meal-plan weekly. Thanks to my good friend Ashley who insisted on meal planning, this weekly routine added flow to our life.

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For spontaneous recreation, Jason and I have been spending more time in nature. Gardening feels more like work early in the season, but we’re confident that our landscaping will thrive throughout the year. We took a short trip to Spruce Lake retreat where he and my father-in-law were working for a couple days. Since all I need is Wi-Fi for work, I gathered my computer bag and headed up to the wilderness. In the evenings, we enjoyed chatting on the deck and exploring the walking trails.

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Since Christmas, I treated our home to several houseplants – a peace lily and many more – to clear the air. This week, I added a middle-eastern style table runner to the dining table and a vase of pink and white peonies, which we share with the neighbor. Jason and I already hosted two garden parties this summer.

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Acts of kindness that linger in my mind happened in my final ESL class at Northampton Community College. My students and I openly discussed my need (and our collective need) for growth after I revealed that they would likely be my last class. I told them how grateful I felt that my last group was so lively, friendly, and dedicated. On the last day, they threw me a huge party. I’m forever grateful to have ended my time at NCC on a positive note. We dined on homemade food from the Americas to the Middle East, danced and took selfies. Our personal trainer for the class, Fausto from Venezuela, said to me, “Teacher, remember this moment.” And Fausto, I always will. Thank you for focusing our attention on the present moment even in the face of career changes and grade point averages.

Perched in my new home office I’m still wondering: What brings true success? Comment below with your thoughts.

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One thought on “How I’ve “Leveled Up”

  1. I absolutely adore your writing style and always feel both relaxed and refreshed after consuming one of your blogs!
    True success is feeling good at the end of every day and living and working towards goals and growth!
    Keep up all your valuable talents and goals dear girl!

    Liked by 1 person

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