My 2021 Intentions

Everyone’s said it, so I won’t linger very long on this one:

2020 was a whirlwind.

2020 felt both incredibly long and insanely short all at the same time. I feel like just yesterday it was March and the world basically stopped turning. But then the year also felt so incredibly slow, difficult, monotonous – you name it.

I’m a big fan of a stoic mindset and stoicism in general, even if I’m not always the best at it in practice. I’d like to think that 2020 sort of is what it was. Was it filled with so much unnecessary sickness, pain, and loss of both job and life? Yes. Absolutely. Indisputably. But stoicism teaches us “the obstacle is the way.”

I can admit that for me, 2020 was really complex and often left me riddled with guilt. Covid touched my family, but everyone is now healthy. My close family and friend circle has experienced little to no loss of job. I actually started a new job while in quarantine. My husband and I purchased our first home, survived a relatively loving first year of marriage, and ended up with more time together and with ourselves to discover each other and new personal hobbies. 2020 gave us the gift of time.

And so much of those statements makes me feel so incredibly guilty. I’m not ignorant our 2020 wasn’t the 2020 of most. I’m genuinely pained for the devastation 2020 has caused the world.

The biggest thing 2020 taught me personally is that holy shit does life just go. As much as we love to plan (I’ve been writing New Year goals posts since at least 2016) – you just can’t plan for life. What’s that one phrase? Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

2020 taught me that these set in stone goals and vapid New Years resolutions are honestly often hollow. At least for me. And apparently for many, which is maybe why most people “fail” their resolutions by January 12th.

So 2021 is the year of not setting goals, but reflecting on the time 2020 gave me and assessing not what goals I want to accomplish – but who I want to be as a person. Do I want to be a person who “read 12 books”? Or do I want to be a reader? Someone who reads as part of my life.

Here’s who 2020 taught me I want to be in 2021 and beyond.

My 2021 intentions

Be a reader again.

Lolz – did you see this one coming? “Read X number of books” was a goal of mine for 2020. Did I accomplish it? Honestly I have no idea, because I did a trash job of tracking my progress. What I can tell you I know is that I did not read daily because I loved it and it was part of the lifestyle I wanted for myself. I had reading as part of my checklist like any other task. And I don’t think that’s how I’d like it to be moving forward.

As a kid I was a voracious reader – without any hard numeric goals. I just picked up books and read like crazy because I loved it. Because I found books that consumed me and helped me escape whatever was happening in my life at the time. Reading was a blessing, it was a way to relax, and it came naturally. That’s the type of relationship with reading I’d like to get back to as an adult.

I’ve got it jotted down in my planner to read 20 minutes a day as a friendly reminder, so hopefully that helps me incorporate more daily reading back into my life.

Be a healthy & active person…again

“Healthy” and “active” can mean a lot of different things to different people. What it means to me has been a really hard thing to reflect on – but I know I’m no where near there right now. Primarily because I’ve been a healthy & active person in the past and I know how natural that felt.

In high school I played on not one, but two competitive soccer teams. I was an athlete as a person. I wasn’t a person “who worked out.” I wasn’t someone who scheduled my workouts or even tracked my workout session or any other metrics. I just was an active person. It was part of my day. It was part of who I was.

And that’s what I’m trying to figure out how to get back to. How do I become a person that isn’t just “someone who works out,” but is someone who is an active person? Maybe this means doing daily movement naturally – such as walking during the day, standing while working, or playing with our fur babies. Maybe part of being a healthy person means eating colorfully naturally – vs painfully meal planning with a specific weight loss goal in mind.

I’ve struggled with being an active & healthy person nearly my entire adult life. 2020 taught me that health is wealth. I’ve got to figure out how to BE the person who cares about my health.

Be someone who has healthy relationships

Another 2020 lesson: wow is it easy to let the time pass and not maintain healthy relationships! Relationships take work! Both those of the platonic and romantic variety.

Adult life can often be fast paced. Between work, running a household, and trying to squeeze in some ME time, there’s little left to give.

But I want to be a person who does give that time to those I love. I want to prioritize connection and relationships in 2021 and beyond. This means intentionally carving out time to connect with my husband. This means intentionally carving out time to reach out to family and friends on a regular basis, checking in on their lives and asking genuine, heartfelt questions about how they’re doing. This means remembering dates that are important to others (not just birthdays – but other life moments, too). This means taking the lead on organizing get togethers (virtual or in person).

If I get one life, I want it to feel full. Full of people, full of love. I can’t control what I get, but I can control what I give.

Be a content creator…full time

The “…” really encapsulates how I feel about this one. Scared. Nervous. Hesitant to even put this out there.

I’ve been so afraid to own up to this for so long.

I’ve wanted to run Blondes & Bagels full time since I started the blog back in 2015. From day one I knew “content creation” was my favorite thing to do in the entire world. I love the mix of creativity (writing, photography) and strategy (analytics, business management). I love the autonomy. As much as I enjoy working on teams, wow do I love and appreciate being the only one responsible for my success at this one thing. The wins and the losses are all mine.

I’m not sure why I’ve hesitated for so long putting this one down in a public space for people to see. I think it’s something I’ve only told those in my very inner circle I want. I’m not sure if I’m afraid putting this in a public space means it puts my day job at risk (“She wants to leave the company?! RED FLAG!”). Or maybe I’ve just been afraid that if I tell the entire world I want it – and it doesn’t happen – I’m a big fat fucking failure.

Ha, ha. Look at Kelsey. The wannabe full time “InFlUeNcEr.” What a joke. Couldn’t even do it full time.

Or maybe it’s that I’m worried to be full time, I need to sell out. No offense (but maybe a little offense) to the some other content creators out there. But I don’t want to be an “influencer” hocking brand deals I barely believe in because I need the money. And I don’t want to have to resort to some shady as fuck tactics to “gain a following.” Not naming names – but I know for a fact plenty of “big time” content creators who pay to be part of Kardashian giveaways (less common) and buy likes to keep their engagement up (way more common than you think).

Or how about the follow/unfollow tactic of gaining followers on social media? Or what about the loop giveaways loads of Instagrammers pay to be a part of? Or like – just flat out purchasing followers.

I’m not interested in being the “influencer” who just “pops on Stories” to tell you about the latest sale to buy shit you don’t even need – because wasteful consumerism is destroying the planet. Or the “influencer” who partners with skincare brands and legitimately can’t even tell you anything about the ingredients inside that product…it just makes your skin silky soft I love it so much!

Let me be clear. Not all “influencers” are full of shit. Not all brand deals are full of shit. There are more than plenty honest partnerships out there that are actually genuine. My past partnerships with brands like Olay, Noom, and my relationship with Bkr are a few I’d shout out as being insanely organic to me.

But do some content creators take on a lot of partnerships that seem dense, ignorant, and maybe even dare I say a little selfish? Absolutely. Because it’s how they make most of their money. And a girl’s gotta eat, right? Or like, support the addictive shopping habit.

All this to say – I’ve never fully projected into the universe that I want to do this full time. Partly because I’m petrified of failure. And partly because I’m cynical of this entire industry.

Gonna have to work this one out in 2021, lolz. But for now – I’ve decided to finally “own” up to this dream I have. Whatever the consequences.

Whatever your intentions are for 2021, I genuinely with you a year filled with growth and love. And I can’t thank you enough for giving me even a few moments of your precious time – because wow did 2020 teach me how valuable time is. What it means that you give me a bit of yours isn’t lost on me.

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