2013, the year in Review
We were invited by a friend to attend a party for the AONC crowd last week. For those of you who don’t know the AONC (we didnt), the Art of Nonconformity is a book (and website and now large following) focused on how to change the world by achieving personal goals while helping others at the same time. Its odd how many different people, after hearing our story have directed us to the AONC over the last few years. Considering that the movement is based here in portland, its amazing we haven’t made it more of a focus. Last night it was in the form of a party- so we did. I saw the event around noon, purchased the tickets five minutes later and by 7pm we were meeting more like minded people than i can remember in one room. So much energy.
Networking/mingling isn't my strong suit (i'm working on it) and we didn't get to meet everyone, but those we talked to were awesome. All focused on improving their life for the better, traveling and following their dreams. Fun chats. We also ran into an old friend and a few old coworkers and somehow ended up shutting down the event and then at the karaoke afterparty...it never fails.
Inspired by the group of people around us last night, we decided to do a bit of goalsetting and review our last year. We are still trying to dig out our goals from 2 years ago to see how we did. My guess is that half of what we accomplished wasn’t on the list and half of what was we didn’t get to. What went well in 2013
- We went after it! We completed our trip to mexico and central america. Oddly that was done in the first quarter, so it seems small now in hindsight... We spent 3+ months traveling through 8 countries this year. Wrapped into that is the fact that early in 2012 we reached our savings goals, which allowed us to take the leap of faith and run away to find ourselves.
- Freedom. We broke the cycle. We rarely wake up to an alarm clock, we get to spend all our time together, and we feel more free than we can remember at any point in our lives.
- Followed our hearts when they told us to run away. Followed again when they told us to return home, and were still listening.
- Creativity. We allowed creativity to drive us wherever it wanted us to go. We made a teardrop trailer from scratch, we made several pieces of handmade reclaimed furniture and art, and we designed our future home.
- Put ourselves out there. I overcame a lifelong history of being afraid to show my work. I entered an art show, we displayed our work in a gallery, started an etsy store and listed our furniture for sale online. We continue to follow leads for more exposure.
- Spent good time with good friends. this was a huge missing link for us in 2012 but a true win this year.
- The blog. Not only did the blog accomplish our goal of having a photo diary of the trip, it has connected us with many amazing and interesting people. It also provides a bit of self-therapy for my crazy brain.
- Simplify. We had the fear that returning to society would make us pick up the habits we once had. We have successfully been able to maintain a lifestyle of not shopping, not adding “stuff” and living simply. less is truly more.
- Charted a path to living in our hometown and favorite neighborhood rent/mortgage free (that path should be complete with the remodel in january).
- Savings. We still have some.... Not as much as we’d like, but considering we haven’t had an income in 1.5 years, that's still something to be proud of.
- Relationship. We can not only say we lived in a van together for a year without killing each other- we can honestly say we might be closer than ever.
What didn't go well in 2013 this is more difficult as we feel like were riding a huge high, but there are alway things we would like to do better. Without being realistic about them, we have no way to improve them.
- Balance. Driven by passion and creativity, and for all the right reasons- but we still found ourselves way too busy (and occasionally stressed) for our tastes.
- Social Proactivity. We moved home to be around friends and family but still didn’t spend as much time as we’d like with those outside our closest friends. We’ve always been good at saying yes to offers, but we’d would love to be more proactive in suggesting/planning events. Hopefully having a home base will make that a bit more likely.
- Health. Okay, this one is mostly just me as jen’s already started finding her groove recently...but we took almost no time to workout or get healthy. The simple price of a gym/yoga studio membership makes it easy to talk ourselves out of committing. We no longer can count on sweat alone to keep us lean, and my metabolism is going to (sadly) catch up with my habits at some point. We truly want to be more active.
- The general topic of health has other areas for improvement that happen to also make us happy. We didn’t rock climb, backpack, scuba/snorkel at all in 2013 and we didn’t surf, play volleyball, hike or even make love as often as we’d like. I also didn’t cook enough...still waiting on that creative passion to resurface. More of all these things that we love and that make us feel good going forward.
- Money (budget). We seriously misbudgeted. We were way under on our ballpark of what the garage renovations would cost us. We also didn’t really factor in the fun category upon our return. Things like football tickets, parties with friends, beach volleyball league, road trips and even materials for furniture weren’t figured in and hurt when we realized them in course.
- Money (income). We didn’t have any. We spent our savings, and fast. We have set a plan in motion that will stop the bleeding but have yet to gain (or have a plan for) income of any kind. We still need to find a way to fund our perfect lifestyle and a combination of home and travel.
- Travel. Okay, so we traveled the entire first quarter of the year, but since then we seem to have a limited drive. Right now we’re homebodies and loving it, so the remainder of this years travel consisted of only a few trips to BC and a weekend at the coast. We would like that to ramp WAY up both locally and afar.
- Ocean dream. This one's tricky. We made a choice away from a piece of land in mexico to return home. We are glad we did...but somewhere deep inside we still wish that piece of land had been looking out over the ocean. If it had, our path might look a lot different right now. We still have a dream of spending much of our time on a beach and still have no plan/answer for that.
As we look back, it seems like 2012 was the year of the leap for us, breaking the mold to search for what we truly wanted. 2013 became the year of homecoming, and we're hoping that 2014 turns into the year of balance...where we figure out how to live our current lives for as long as we choose.
Here's to an amazing year ahead! We recommend taking a look back at your own year and the one to come. If there is any way we can help you simplify your life, follow your dreams or plan the course to get there please don't hesitate to ask.
We happen to be pretty passionate about the subject.