New Year. New Thoughts.
Hey! It’s me!! Yeah, I am back, refreshed, and ready to tackle 2015 with a whole new perspective and a whole lot of clarity. Since posting our last post for 2014 on Christmas Eve, Mike and I have been in a quieter and more reflective space in order to relax, look back, and move our eyes forward. To be honest, during this time we did very little. We went to the art museum, we planned out the house decor, we stayed up talking late into the night, we spent time with our friends without the stress of tomorrow’s deadlines, and we really truly relaxed for the first time in a long while. I believe these last few weeks have been some of my favorite weeks of 2014… well at least my soul says that anyways… 2014 did have some pretty amazing moments as our recap shared. This time has been so good for our creativity, our relationship, our souls, and our bodies. We thought about taking a trip during this time-off, but instead we opted to save the air miles for a time we really needed that trip, which we know will come this year. We realized, right now, we needed to be in one place, in the quiet, in the stillness, and to truly enjoy what it means to just be.
Incase you didn’t know, the act of just being is possibly the most difficult thing for an entrepreneur. During our everyday, my head and body thinks if I am not working I am not earning. The go-to thought is that every moment needs to be spent improving and bettering your craft or you will become complacent, stale, or washed up. So, to settle into a state of stillness and relaxation was uncomfortable, at first. What resulted was some amazing, and way over due, talks about what we really need as a couple and as individuals. As we found, when the noise of client projects quiets down you are left to hear the noise of your own needs, and that is where we found ourselves. It was exactly what we needed, in all the most positive and life-giving ways you can imagine.
Looking back to 2014, we made the word intention our focus for the entire year. I am a strong believer in the idea of choosing a word to help direct the goals for each year. I am someone who needs a checklist, an overarching idea, and a mindset. I think of each year similar to how I think of a client project. I see it as a new chance to define myself, and an opportunity to become a little bit better version of myself. So how did it go?
In our year of intention, we found a lot of success. We bought a house, launched the Wild Measure website and gave TFE a massive facelift. We traveled to Spain and Portugal, got healthy and pretty darn fit, spent a summer in Northern Michigan, learned to sail on a bigger boat, and grew our company in many ways. So in a lot of ways, you could say the year was nothing but success. And overall yes, the year was a success, but that list was our external list. There was a lot going on outside on the other side of the lens this year that tested us more than any year of our lives.
In all honesty, I spent much of the last 7 months of 2014 remaining safe and predictable, both out of a need to survive and a fear of failing. What resulted was anxiety and insecurity on a level I could never have imagined. Mike and I found ourselves in our own worlds just struggling to keep our heads above water; one in the studio and one in the blog – simply out of survival. We found ourselves losing our creative drive, vision, and understanding of ourselves. I saw myself becoming lost in a sea of predictability and self-expectation in my work. There were bright moments, but for the most part I no longer had a firm place to stand on or to root myself in order to know how to take creative risks like I used to. In a metaphorical way, I was in this giant ocean trying to keep my head above water while searching for a base to stand on. It is difficult to take risks in that environment. I knew if I failed I had no idea where safety would be. October and November were some of the scariest, darkest, and ugliest months of during that time. It isn’t something that can always been written about with clarity in the moment, and I wish it was something I could have talked about in a real way in the moment, because I know this may sound like a shock when you see a different story in this space. But often times it just takes some time away to gain a real perspective on a situation. As any blogger will tell you, you can find a way to focus on the beautiful things, and stuff the difficulties of life away into neat boxes far out of sight. The thing is that you cannot escape that forever, so we opened those boxes over the break and more or less organized, cleaned, and took a new perspective over our break.
After some hard moments, good talks, and family and friends who I now value more than ever, Mike and I both found a way to let go of what had us bottled up in fear, anxiety, and insecurity that was keeping me at arms length from everything in life. As we ended 2014, I found myself refocusing into my word for the year by intentionally focusing on letting people in, giving everyone I can the benefit of the doubt, and letting myself find solid ground again. It felt good. The day we left for Asheville, right before Christmas, I could feel myself getting closer to that place of safety and firm footing again. I found my head space again, and I felt a release of so much fear I had felt within myself creatively.
I am sure you are learning as you read this, that no one is perfect, no matter what an Instagram, Blog, Facebook, or Pinterest will show you. We have heard this a hundred times, but what is real is that those spaces are where we all find escape and release of sometimes the scary reality of what lies on the other side. I don’t think that is bad, and in fact for me it is something I need as an introvert. The issue, or problem, begins when we find ourselves more us being more present in these online spaces than being at a dinner table with family, enjoying a glass of wine with an old friend, or laughing in bed with your better-half. That “non-presense” in life is where the breakdown begins. This is what we have to be intentional about, we have to find the balance of both the on-and-the-off. We are all different, but what I have learned about myself is that I need to be intentional about not hiding away my thoughts, out of fear or speculation of what people will think, assume, or misconstrue. Instead, I need to live in the present moment to become the healthiest, strongest, and most honest version of myself. In turn, I then will help move those around me in that direction as well.
It took the last few weeks of our break to truly come to realize all of this in a real and deep way. It was only after that realization that I had enough clarity to understand how to write about the last few months. After a lot of long walks, wandering drives, and staying up till 3 AM, to finally get to a place of clarity. Much of what we had found beneath the surface was fear. We had found ourselves caved to fear and second-guessing ourselves. We came to terms with the fact all of this fear of failure had kept us from having depth in a lot of our relationships and our own creative process. It is scary to say you succumbed to fear creatively, but it is reality.
Which is why we have chosen DEPTH as our guiding word for 2015. It is about pushing aside fear, and being our greatest creative selves and truly living an adventurous and fearless life. I know this may be a surprising thing to hear from us, but it is what will lead our year and it has us really excited. Like really excited.
Our plan is to dig in deeper to our new city, to set roots, to cultivate deeper relationships that inspire us to be better, to break down the walls of fear between ourselves as a husband-and-wife team, to talk more openly and honestly here about this journey we are on, and to bring more honesty and authenticity to the beauty than we ever have. Beauty is the easy part for us, but bringing depth is the harder more mature part, and it is the scary part. As an introvert and as someone who moved a lot as a kid I very rarely had the opportunity to have those lasting deep relationships. I always felt safer within my head and by myself. But this year, I feel it is time to dive in head first and let go of all my fears. I plan to embrace my wild and to inspire you and all those around me to do the same.
So, what does this mean for goals for 2015? We are planning on reading more, making purposeful times for meals with friends where we can be fully present, and we plan to blow your mind with creative work that is truly our best work. This means we plan to post a little bit less frequently in order to produce higher quality content for ourselves and for you. Everything from stronger grammar, to better writing, to stories you want to read again and again because they bring so much life into your world. We are going to take the time it takes to truly produce work that is our best and we are deeply proud of. More importantly, we want to find a way to be more open, real, and less fearful of sharing what it means to be a husband and wife creative team. This may mean at times someone will get offended or stop reading. That’s ok. We have to create and write for ourselves first and we hope that helps and inspires you to do the same. Our hope is to slow down and to take the hum out of the day to day in order to see our greatest work surface. What we can promise is that everything you have loved about our space will only become better. It may come a little bit less frequently, but hey we have 5 years of content for you to check out between posts :), in order to offer our best to you this year. We love this space and it has challenged us to live a more adventurous and more honest life. Many of you have emailed or commented that The Fresh Exchange has also done that for you, and we literally could not receive a higher complement than that.
So cheers to the new year of Depth! Do you have a word for 2015? And then what do you want to see on The Fresh Exchange this year? Serious! Give us some good answers we are ready to dig in and really hit all of it this year.