Happy New Year girlfriends! I hope you had a relaxing break over the holidays. I’m back — tan, rested, and ready.
I love celebrating the end of the year and the start of a new one. Like the rest of the world I see the new year as an opportunity to set my goals and intentions for the coming year. My birthday also falls between Christmas and New Years so it gives me all the more reason to reflect on the year that’s passed and set my focus for the year ahead.
I’m a believer that the signs of the zodiac are telling of personality traits. That’s probably because I’m a textbook Capricorn. It’s well known that Capricorns like to have a plan. We need structure, organization, and for everything to be mapped out in advance. That’s me to a tee. We Capricorns are highly driven people and we put a lot of emphasis on our work.
I’m often asked why I started Lunch With A Girlfriend. Well, friends, the story behind this journey started a year ago. The last several years our family has gone on vacation between Christmas and New Years. I love going away at this time of year because it gives me an opportunity to relax, reflect . . . .and think. Capricorns are big thinkers. I’m no exception. I need this time away to make my plan for the year.
Last year at this time I was starting to feel a little restless. It was nine years since I’d left my full time job as a Congressional aide to become a full-time stay at home mom. I never looked back on leaving work outside the home — it always felt like the right decision for me. But, for the first time I was beginning to feel a little antsy. I hadn’t yet identified the source of my restlessness but it was there — laying just beneath the surface. I was uncomfortable in my own skin but I couldn’t put my finger on why.
That September my youngest started Kindergarten. My kids were all finally in school all day. I say finally because oh, how I anticipated this moment of complete freedom! It had always seemed just out of reach. While I initially cherished having some real time to myself for the first time in over a decade, I couldn’t brush aside the feeling of emptiness that was growing inside of me. I chalked it up to the feeling all moms have when their little chickadees leave the nest. Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my family was passing me by and I was rooted in quick sand. I was feeling trapped. I knew I needed to make a plan to break free of that feeling. Rationally I knew it didn’t really make any sense, but our emotions aren’t always rational are they?
Over our holiday vacation, in between the chapters of the novel I was reading poolside, I was racking my brain for the answer to the question that was nagging me. What am I missing? I think instinctually I knew I needed to find something new to throw my energy into. For nine years I had put everything I had into being a full time mom. All the energy and intensity I would put into my career turned into intense child rearing.
My kids were growing up and moving on and I needed to find another focus. Not that parenting ends when your kids go to school but I needed something that would fill my cup during those hours when the kids were away. What it would be I did not know. For the first time in a long time I was thinking about what I liked to do that would still fit within the confines of the familial obligations I was committed to.. What did I want from this next chapter in motherhood and beyond? I thought a lot about the future in that week lounging poolside. With every day that passed, my sense of peace was growing — the thinking and planning began to provide it’s usual comfort.
As we boarded the plane for our return flight home I was filled with a sense of dread that the peace I had gained that week thinking about my future would vanish once we returned home and slipped back into routines. I had a plan lurking in the back of my mind. I had yet to verbalize it but I knew it was there. I grabbed a pen from my carry on and began jotting down my thoughts on a cocktail napkin. I tucked the napkin into a notebook for safekeeping.
As I anticipated, the ideas that poured out of me with ease on the airplane slipped to the back of my mind after we arrived home. My attention again returned to the minutiae of daily life. Every so often my plan would pop into my mind. I wondered whether I would find the courage to take action. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that it can take me a long time to decide on a goal. Ideas come and go. The commitment is a big step for me. Once I decide on a goal and make a commitment to it — there’s no turning back. I’m all in. The fear of failure keeps me going.
The ideas I mapped out on my airline cocktail napkin ended up being my framework for Lunch With A Girlfriend. I had no idea then whether or not I would make my dream a reality. Or if I even wanted to! It was a big step for me. A new direction very different from anything I had done before. But as the months passed, my restlessness returned, and so did my resolve to make a commitment to take a leap of faith. Six months later the wheels were in motion to create and launch this website.
2017 was a big year for me. I stepped outside my comfort zone in a big way. Fear of failure still drives me. Some days I wonder why I am even doing this because it feels like it is going nowhere. Then other days I’m just so pleased to see that a tiny seed of an idea has materialized into something tangible and real. What a feeling! I want to nourish this project and see it grow. I will probably always be driven to put my head down, work hard, and dream to succeed. It’s the Capricorn way.
Looking ahead to 2018 I’m thinking of ways to get better, learn more, and grow this little plan of mine. What dreams will you map out on your cocktail napkin this year?
Photography by Krisztina Kovacs
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