New Year’s has a very special place in my heart. It was on New Year’s Eve 2012 that I made the decision to quit my chef job to pursue Instagram as a full-time career.
Leading up to the New Year, I had been receiving opportunities in my inbox for all kinds of cool things, including an all-expenses paid trip to Hamilton Island. But I knew I couldn’t continue asking for time off work in a kitchen of just four chefs.
Every time I took days off, one of my friends had to cover for me, and although that wasn’t my responsibility, in the hospitality industry, you work in close-knit teams and have each other’s backs. Your fellow chefs really do become your family. (As do the floor staff and ‘dishies’ usually.)
On December 31st, 2012, I arrived at work on New Year’s Eve and was first dismayed to see the list of bookings for the night and then very dismayed to see that our kitchen hand didn’t arrive for his shift.
After pumping out 100 or so meals with the team, I then had to wash every pot, pan, plate, bowl and set of cutlery too.
I remember that I didn’t feel angry or disappointed. I also didn’t miss the New Year’s celebrations because we always finished work early in that restaurant. What I did feel was done.
That night, I went home, cleaned myself up and went to a friend’s place for some drinks with Dreamboat. At midnight, when we talked about New Year’s resolutions, I was surprised when I heard the words come out of my mouth. “To quit my stupid job”.
And two days later, I did.
I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve had many over the years. With the exception of quitting my job in early 2013, though, I haven’t really stuck to any others.
It’s easy to look at my life and find all the areas where I am lacking, not good enough, not living up to my potential or otherwise needing improvement. Indeed, I only have to open Instagram to see hundreds of people living seemingly more creative and inspiring lives than me.
But a funny thing has happened to me this year. I’ve found that the happier, more contented, clearer and more aligned I am, the less I feel the urge to show up online to talk about it.
That’s not to say I’m not going to. I really, really want to share what a year’s worth of introspection and self-work has resulted in, but I don’t need to share it on the daily. (Not like I used to share when I was overwhelmed, anxious and out in the world with something to prove.)
In 2024, I don’t want to “fix” any part of myself. I accept that I am whole and complete as I am. I eat chocolate, I exercise sporadically, and I want to be a person who meditates, but often, days go by before I get the chance. (Actually, this is one I am adamant to change. Haha)
I start books and don’t finish them. (I’m currently reading Awaken the Giant Within, The Dream, The Journey, Eternity and God, Urban Tantra, Think Like a Monk, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents and Clear Your Shit.)
I don’t have a clue how to parent my kids and often end the day dead tired and ready for bed at 8:30.
Despite my very best efforts, and I have made a LOT of effort in this area, I STILL occasionally lose control of my screen use.
Sure, there are lots of things I COULD wish to change about all of this.
But this is not where I choose to focus my attention when the clock strikes midnight tonight.
We get what we focus on. And I choose not to focus on the negative.
Instead, I’ll be sinking into the gratitude I feel for all the areas in my life I am winning in.
In 2023 I:
- Spent the entire year not working by choice, undoing a deep-rooted belief I carried that tied my worth to my success. I am and always have been worthy, complete, lovable, deserving and enough.
I can’t describe how much I have learned to love myself this year.
- Started to exercise again after a long hiatus of 10+ years. Am I exercising enough? Not yet. But I’ll get there in my own good time.
I even have a personal trainer for half an hour a week. You have to start somewhere.
- Began visiting the beach for a swim every single morning. I’m more than three months in, and I go rain, hail or shine.
And I have barely any photos because I NEVER take my phone!
- Stopped drinking alcohol. I wasn’t a big drinker, but I’ve surprised myself with how much I don’t miss it.
It’s fresh juice, coconut water and kombucha for me these days.
- Took my SIM card out of my iPhone, downgraded my plan and started using a simple flip phone with an ABC keypad. Not only has this drastically reduced my screen time overall, but it means I can’t access the internet when I’m out and about (meaning I use my brain for directions and solving problems). It’s affected my interpersonal relationships, but in a way that’s created solid boundaries around me and my old “always on” mentality.
If I don’t text you back, this is why. Haha
- Learned to trust myself. I no longer dole out my trust to so-called experts. Nobody knows me like I know myself, and I trust what I’m a yes or a no to.
I know myself. I trust myself.
- Despite not working, and with a finite pool of money to fall back on, continued to invest in myself through personal development, travel and beautiful clothes. I deserve it.
Getting ready for the Spiral.
- Shared my birth trauma story and attracted a new group of passionate women into my sphere. This has led to podcast opportunities, deep conversations and a lot of healing.
Attending a birth trauma awareness event in Lennox Head, 2023.
- Started to pay attention to and heed the earth’s natural cycles. (I’ll talk about this more in its own email, but I love Jane Hardwick Collins’s app Spinning Wheels.)
Preparing for a full moon ritual.
- Rediscovered a love of photography and travel, and got really and truly honest with myself about the life I want for myself and my family. The clarity is back.
Oh that’s right, I take photos.
- Implemented systems in the kitchen, allowing me to budget, shop and cook family meals with a lot more structure and ease.
Meal planning = game changer.
- Accepted my body for once and all. This body has been a great body. Through all the times I have mistreated it, it has performed admirably and bounced back readily. This body has gifted me with two beautiful babies, the second birthed powerfully on my lounge room floor as I roared and fought. It feels amazing to walk down to the beach each morning in my bikini and give zero fucks about what people think.
It’s a great body.
- Created my own journal practice that allows me to HAVE a journal practice despite having two young children and very little time for an undisturbed morning routine. The practice landed out of my brain and onto a page during one memorable morning brain dump, and it is EPIC. This practice allows me to spot where I’m operating from old conditioning, gives me reflection time, and allows me to pass my days intentionally.
Working on my journal practice.
Man, just writing this all out gives me a beautiful feeling. I feel so grateful for everything that 2023 has given me. There’s been no great upheaval or drama like 2022. There’s been no jaw-dropping personal realisations. There have been no outward success milestones – I haven’t taken 100 flights, worked with 50 brands, or been featured in huge publications. And yet, I’d say that 2023 has been my best year.
Slowing down has been the greatest gift. Choosing to step off the treadmill and find ways to BE that allow me to thrive, follow my intuition and trust that I’ll still create everything my heart desires is extraordinarily powerful.
So, no. There will be no New Year’s resolutions for me this year. Maybe some goals once I hit the ground running in January, but no resolutions.
Because I’m doing the best I can, and there’s so much to celebrate.
I guess what I want to say is this. It’s okay to want to change parts of yourself and your life. But if you don’t balance that with self-acceptance and gratitude for where you are, you’ll always strive for more – no matter how much you have.
Life is such a fragile gift. I listed my big milestones of 2023, but I could have easily filled a whole email with reflections on how I’ve found joy in walking barefoot or watching storms. I could have spent time this time telling you about the pleasure I’ve found in creating without pressure. I could have shared the hundreds of small ways I’ve healed my soul this year and remembered who I am.
Loving, healing, FEELING.
We are so fortunate to be here, connected to all things, loving and being loved. We are so lucky to have flowers to pick and pools of water to swim in. We are so blessed to have our creativity and the means to express it. Being human is the most extraordinary journey of all.
So, I hope you find time in this season to reflect on all the good stuff in your life, trusting that the areas of your life you want to improve are not the areas that define you. YOU are already whole, complete, and so, so perfect.
Happy New Year.
P.S. If anyone is interested in the journal practice I mentioned, I randomly had a printing bungle that saw me with seven spare copies. It’s like the universe was telling me something, it is literally still a prototype. I’ve decided to guide seven people through that practice and share what I’ve learned about breaking patterns and living an intentional life.
It will be $777 for the practice, including five one-on-one sessions with me. (An introduction to the journal and how to use it, plus four weekly check-ins for the first month of the practice.) If you’re keen, please email me any questions. I won’t be offering this again; this is a once-off to work with people in a mutually beneficial way. I’ll invoice if you want to participate, and we can set up our times then.
I will probably send another email about this in the New Year, but once the seven spots are sold, that’s it. I’m calling it ‘My Practice – The Awareness Journal’. X
** Originally published to my email database on the 31st of December 2023 **