For the last 7 years I've done what I call an "Annual Review."
I've done it so many times now, I've got it down to a ceremony of sorts. It takes after Chris Gillebeau's version, but with it's own Emily-twist.
It's kinda involved.
I basically look at my entire year financially, relationally, time-wise, artistically, etc. I get out old receipts, look through the whole calendar, scan through emails, and more...
All the while, I'm asking myself...
"What went well? & What didn't go so well?"
The first phase of this Annual Review I did tonight, while watching a movie with my friend's kiddos. I went through my calendar and wrote out the highs and lows from each month.
Woah. The year looked very different from how I imagined it would look.
Bottom-line: 2014 was the hardest & most unexpected year I've lived to date.
A year ago I evicted myself from a beloved apartment (it sucks having clients not pay their invoices) and found myself living in a spare room of my good friends Scott and Jen Haydon.
Remember this: Even in the midst of extreme transition and preparation, I was well-fed and loved.
Scott Haydon is my favorite West Coast photographer - HANDS DOWN. Jennifer might be my favorite cook on the West Coast, and their little first-born was the cutest roommate I've ever had. They are such generous examples of what it means to be a real friend.
I could gush about them for days...
Winter held roller skating for the first time since jr. high school, weddings, performances with friends and lots of preparation...
I had the honor of going through some Julia Cameron books with my singer/songwriter friend, Tara Washam. Julia Cameron is one of my artistic heroines. Her books have been like my inner-artist's fairy godmother. Complete with pink tulle skirts and wands waving about.
and I got to see Tara perform a long-awaited concert of vocal jazz! It was so beautiful to see a friend shine like that.
Winter was a sweet, sweet sacred preparation for my Artist Residency...
Spring started with TEDxTacoma. I was so nervous.
I spent the first quarter of 2014 watching my hand shake more and more every day. I was well-aware that being stage-fright is not conducive to managing an Essential Tremor.
My neurologist had prescribed me some serious heart medication to help with the tremors. I'm off the medication now, but I am grateful to have had it during my TEDxtalk. Still, I think you can see my hand shake a couple times during my talk.
The day after TEDxTacoma, I left.
for 6 weeks.
I spent them in the mountains of central Washington at the Grünewald Guild. They awarded me an Artist Residency. I'm still floored to have had that opportunity.
The Grünewald Guild was the cornerstone of my 2014.
and perhaps my career.
The aforementioned my inner-artist fairy godmother, Julia Cameron? She literally visited me while I was there. and I do not take that lightly.
Get this: this lady only travels a couple times each year. She came all the way out to Leavenworth to give a lecture and a workshop, both of which I was able to attend! Every time I remember that weekend I have to pick my jaw up off the ground.
I attended the Grünewald Guild's Songwriting Retreat in March. The artists in residence get a discount on class attendance. I paid the last $100 to my name to attend the weekend class.
I really struggled over that purchase. Like struggled with a cosmic amount of force...
Jan Krist (my new fairy godmother) led the class and led me right into flat-out falling in love with music. After all I had been through, I needed it bad. [You should read this post. It'll make more sense.]
So there it is.
The first half of 2014 held homesickness, acts of bravery, gorgeous scenery, visits from my fairy godmother(s), lots of music, grief, ashes, and growth.
...What any good Winter & Spring should hold.
(Stay tuned for Summer and Fall's review tomorrow...)