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Sweet '16, a Clean Slate & New Focus

Ali

The beginning of a new year brings excitement, (a healthy type of ) anxiousness, and a clean slate. Most of us spend time reflecting on the previous year's tango of ups and downs, and meditating on what we want and expect of the new year. I've done my soul-searching, and established my goals for the year. My list is intentionally practical, but every goal is a vital component of my growth.

Self-Care

Like many people, I have a horrible habit of over-extending myself. I love supporting people, spending time with everyone I love, showing up, being present, networking with new people, pursuing new opportunities, etc. What happens is the more you say "yes" to everyone else, the more often you end up having to say "no" to yourself. My number one goal this year is to prioritize myself the same way I prioritize the things and people who are important to me. I will still be supportive of my friends, colleagues and their endeavors. However, I'm committed to learning how to tend to my own emotional and mental needs with as much conviction as I care for others. Self-love and self-care have to be prioritized. 

Reading Rainbow

I actually have no legitimate reason for using the phrase "Reading Rainbow," but I felt obligated to pay homage to the series that had all of our inner children excited about library visits and finishing books. After college, I fell into the habit of only reading when necessary, or only on design blogs I follow and think pieces found via social media. Last year was the first year I made an intentional habit of actually reading books. You know... the physical things with real pages and cool covers with interesting stuff on them. I did read a few books last year, but not nearly enough. I started with business and design strategy books that opened my entrepreneurial mind to new perspectives and possibilities. That was amazing and yielded real-time results in the successes of my ventures. The best "consequence" (for lack of a better word) was the mental clarity reading gave me. I'd read for at least 30 minutes before bed, and it became the perfect way to decompress and unwind. I slept better, had fewer nightmares, slept through the night without interruption and actually woke up rested. I'd say that's a hell of a list of perks. My goal is to carry that trend throughout 2016, adding a few fiction novels into the mix. 

Make More Stuff

2015 was a pretty good year for me in regard to personal projects. I got to collaborate with some really talented artists, stylists, models and even a chef. The Black Girl Magic fashion shoot was the first style editorial I'd ever done, and it was so much fun. It happened so organically and everyone on the the team was just down for the process of creating something dope. I was also sporadically successful in getting back to drawing for fun. I created the Urban Influence project, which is an ongoing series of drawn, freehand portraits of inspiring people who've significantly influenced my work. Drawing —whether it be lettering doodles in my sketchbook or portraits like the afore mentioned project— is one of the most therapeutic processes I've ever experienced. It's like a mental detox, and I'd like to do more of that this year.  

Show & Tell

I'm not sure if it's an artist thing or just a "me" thing, but I am one of the world's worst at putting myself out there. My friends do more promoting than I do, which is awesome but it also gets me in trouble with them. They genuinely and wholeheartedly believe in me and my talent, which is why I get in trouble for not promoting myself as much as I should. I've always been really annoyed by braggadocios people and my efforts to avoid being that person push me too far down the other end of that spectrum. Though I won't be the lady waving self-promotional picket signs on the side of the street or in Facebook feeds, I will make an honest effort to be more vocal about my efforts and projects I'm a part of.

"Running Out of Pages in My Passport" - Drake Proverb

Okay. Perhaps, that's a little drastic. I should probably start by getting a passport; that's a nice first step. And maybe I'll start by seeing more of the country as a means of pre-gaming for international travel. We never travelled much growing up in Georgia, and whenever we did  it was for church or school. Neither of those entities really encouraged exploration, which makes sense because parental consent only permits so much. The farthest "west" I'd been before moving to Seattle was Mississippi. (I know, I know. It doesn't count. Hence, the air quotes.) Needless to say, there's much more to the world than that little southeast corner of the country. I got to go to LA for the first time last August, which was such an amazing change of scenery and dynamic. I have to make my way back to do more exploring, but I'd also love to see Chicago, the Oregon Coast, Brooklyn, Charlotte, the Grand Canyon and some random places in between. I'd love for my first international trip to be in Bali, but I have no idea where to start (after I get my passport). If any of you have any resources that'd be useful for first time international travelers, please share them in the comments section. I'd love to hear about them. 

More Big Ol' Smiles.

That one's pretty easy to check of the list. Happy New Year, Internet Homies! Let's take it one day at time, and kick some butt for the next 12 months and beyond. <3


Please post book recommendations below! I'd love to know what some of your favorites are, and what you folks are reading. I'd also love to hear about some of your resolutions. 

 

Thanks for reading!  - Jessica Rycheal :)