Mandy Boyle

NEPA Girl with Moxie. Writer. Nerdess. Practically Balanced.

Looking Forward to the Year Ahead

New year, big things, lots to think about and be grateful for.

I’ve always been fond of taking time to reflect on the past, revel in the present, and delight in the future on New Years. All too often, we find ourselves feeling like we need to be better, do better, and change so much in order to make the most of the year ahead. Looking at 2014 head on, I can honestly say that there aren’t many drastic changes or hardcore resolutions I’ll be making. 2013 was a hear of overwhelming joy, surprise, loss, laughter, challenge, stress, discovery, and so many other things. Each year is a new adventure and it’s what makes the start of it so exciting. There’s a blank canvas to be painted. And like all great artists, your technique gets cultivated with time.

I’ve learned a lot from the past year, and one of the biggest lessons was to focus on the small to get to the big. I’ve let myself down in the past by making promises – grand ones – to myself and then not living up to it. So, keeping that in mind and also taking into account what I’ve experienced in the last year, I’m thinking about small ways to take care of myself.

So, instead of making a New Year’s resolution, this year, I’ll be giving myself 14 reminders (it is 2014, after all!). When I’m feeling lost, out of balance, or unwell (like I am right now, presently nursing a hangover from a little overindulgence that came with one of the most fun and soul-warming NYE celebrations I’ve ever been part of), I can refer back to this list to keep me on the right path. There’s no one goal, just the promise of  feeling good and living, as Oprah would say, my best life.

Here are my 14 points I’ll be reminding myself of this year:

  1. Eat real food, in moderation. 
  2. Breathe deeply. 
  3. Move more. 
  4. Say “no” more often. 
  5. Make more time for relationships. 
  6. Tickle the brain.
  7. Remember to laugh.
  8. Get some fresh air.
  9. Be gracious and grateful.
  10. Align what I do with what I value.
  11. Decide.
  12. Learn from it all.
  13. Take breaks.
  14. Serve, both yourself and others.

Beyond these, I’m also excited about all of the things that will be happening in the coming year, like:

  • Returning to the Classroom: This time next week, I’ll be teaching again. Teaching is one of those things that I sort of fell into but enjoy, since I feel so strongly about having students learn things they can actually apply. It’s how I like to teach and it’s how I’ll approach my spring semester course in Web Presence Development. So, if I have any students reading this post, I just want to say that I’m very excited to be back – and I can’t wait for what this semester has in store. 
  • NEPA BlogCon 2014: SO MUCH AWESOME. That’s all I can say. We have BIG plans buzzing around in our brains for the next NEPA BlogCon. EEEK! More to come!
  • Writing a Play: I’m taking a stab at channeling my inner Moliere. I’ve never written a play before – most of my experience with theater is as an actor. I’m looking forward to trying something new and seeing what sort of characters I have hopping around in my head. But, I’ll give you a clue about what I’m writing: it’s a funeral and a comedy ala Death at a Funeral, but not quite.
  • The Vintage’s 5th Anniversary: The Vintage is truly one of my favorite places. I serve as the Chairperson on The Vintage advisory board and I’m thrilled to be in office during this time of celebration. The Vintage will have spent 5 years this January bringing art and culture to the region in ways I never would have dreamed possible.
  • Finding a Wedding Dress: Wedding planning is going well – I’ve got some post ideas cooking that will share my experience so far, but one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to in 2014 is hopefully finding a wedding dress. I’ve got my first appointment under my belt and I now know more about what I like and what I think looks best, so we’ve got progress!
  • Enjoying Another Season of Fresh Produce: Brent and I were generously gifted with another season of produce from our friend and favorite local farmer, Farmer Jon. His produce kept us rich in taste and nutrients all last summer and my mouth is watering just thinking about what might appear in this year’s harvest. YUM!
  • Taking on New Challenges at Work: I sometimes refer to my job on here, but if you’re not sure what I do, don’t worry – it’s a tough thing to explain. Let’s just keep it simple – I work with a team of internet marketers specifically geared toward helping small businesses succeed online. I enjoy my job and 2013 was a time of growth, change, and challenge. Looking ahead at the coming year, I’m excited at what plans we have in store and I’m so thankful and grateful for my coworkers, my team, who make coming to work each and every day wonderful.
  • Moving into Our First Home: Yes, indeed! Brent and I will be officially homeowners later this month. In a serendipitous turn of events, we’ll be making a family homestead our own. The house, which now belongs to my grandparents but will soon be Casa de Boyle-Pennington, has been in my family since 1946. It’s a cute Cape Cod with a lot of history and a lot of love. We’re so excited about this big leap, especially since this is happening so quickly, but it’s one of those moments that just sort of worked out for everyone in a way that can only be divine.

So, lots of good stuff going on! What’s on your plate for the upcoming year?

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