This time last year I set a goal for myself to write more, and frankly I don’t think I met that goal. Technically the bar was set extremely low due to the fact that my blog was started shortly before I set that goal so any writing was more writing, but I can’t say I reached my fullest potential with Forest Tourist in 2018. I intend to change that this year.
So starting this month I’m going to have monthly recaps where I talk about what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been enjoying, and what I have planned for the future. There was another motive for this monthly recap series, but I’ll get to that later.
For now let’s jump right in!
What went on:
December was a whirlwind of activity. I graduated from Florida State University with an English degree – whoop whoop! – and now have to figure out what the heck I’m going to do next. But y’all already know all about that if you read one of my recent posts.
As soon as my schoolwork died down my small independent business Westward and Woven took off; the middle of December was filled with entire days spent knitting in order to keep up with the numerous orders. Over the holidays my shop went from a meager 10 sales to a whopping 38 sales, which is something I’m extremely proud of. I was also fortunate to attend two farmers markets in Tallahassee and meet so many interesting people from the community while sharing my talent.
Oh, I’ve also had to deal with Koda attempting suicide not once but twice by eating foods that are toxic to dogs. He’s fine but we’ve got a lot of training to look forward to in the new year.
As the month of December started to wind down I went back home to Dade City, Florida in order to spend time with my family over the holidays. I celebrated Christmas with an amazing group of friends and family, and on December 26th I packed up my bags, picked up my boyfriend, and took off to the airport with my parents and brother for a family vacation to Ireland. I won’t say much about the trip now because I’ve got a fairly long travel guide in the works, but I will say that it was one heck of an adventure.
What I’ve been digging:
I am completely obsessed with The Wild Reeds. This band of badass female vocalists is otherworldly. Give them a listen, it’ll change your life.
In December I finished reading The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton and I cried like a baby. In 1985 Ray was falsely incarcerated for murder and was sentenced to death. For 30 years Ray was forced to call death row home until his innocence was finally proven and he was set free. This book brings to light the injustices that exist within our legal system and sparks a discussion on the morality of killing another human being. It’s a truly moving read.
With all the driving and traveling I did in December The Moth podcast has been my best friend. The Moth puts on storytelling competitions all around the world where individuals are invited on stage to tell their true stories without notes of any kind. A handful of accounts are handpicked each week and compiled into an hour-long podcast that is available on Spotify. The episodes range from funny to heartbreaking to inspiring, with everything in between. This is one of my favorite episodes from December.
One of the main reasons I wanted to start this monthly recap series was because I want to start setting monthly intentions.
Intention setting is something that I have always been intrigued by; I would often dip my toe in the water by coming up with intentions at the start of each new year but I never followed through with them. So instead of taking a broad approach I want to narrow my focus and set a few achievable intentions for each month. Sharing them here on Forest Tourist is a way for me to hold myself accountable and to make sure that I follow through.
Before we get any deeper I want to talk about why I think intentions are important. When you set an intention for yourself you are purposefully focusing on something that you want to achieve. By writing them down you are openly admitting that this is something I want to work on. You are focusing your mental energy on something and reminding yourself of your goals.
You might have heard of the Law of Attraction which is the philosophy that a person’s thoughts beget their experiences, or essentially that if you think positively then positive things will occur in your life whereas negative thoughts will attract negative experiences. I’m not too keen on this way of thinking because sometimes bad things happen regardless of your attitude; however, I believe it’s worth noting that how you think and perceive the world plays a role in how you interact with the physical world. Think of the “half glass full” and “half glass empty” analogy.
At the end of the day setting intentions for yourself on a short term basis can help you focus your mental energy on a goal that you want to achieve and to live a purposeful life. I was inspired to set intentions by my friend Brooke Neal and by Lee Tilghman, who both set monthly intentions on their blogs and social media, and by Annie Tarasova who talks about the benefits of intentional living and the Law of Attraction on her Youtube channel and instagram.
Here are my intentions for January 2019:
- Reinvent your timeline. Ever since I was a kid I thought the natural order of the world was high school then college then a big girl job. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that real life doesn’t work that way, and that’s okay. I want to take some time this month to figure out a timeline that works for me.
- Get outside everyday. This seems silly but I want to purposefully get outside for at least an hour every day this month and to appreciate nature during that time. I’ve noticed that lately I’ve been so caught up in big outdoor adventures – weekends spent climbing or hiking or at the beach – that I’ve forgotten all about how important the tiny moments are; moments spent taking Koda to the dog park or exploring local trails or even just enjoying my breakfast on the porch.
- Invest more in others. 2018 was the year of investing in myself. I focused on finishing up my education and starting my business and staying in a positive mental state, and that was good. But this month I want to turn that attention and energy onto other people and start investing in them too.
- Stretch. Stretching is so so so important. My injury-prone boyfriend is well aware of the benefits of stretching, and he has converted me to stretching before every climbing session. In January I want to try and stretch for a couple of minutes every morning, and even go the extra mile by stretching other areas of my life. I want to stretch my creative side by making more art and reading poetry, and stretch my compassion by working on intention number 3.
- Mindfully budget (weekly, monthly, yearly). The only thing I did in 2018 to accomplish my goal of budgeting was downloading the Mint app and then ignoring it for the rest of the year. That’s not gonna fly in 2019. I need to budget and budget hard, especially since ya girl is currently jobless.
So there you have it, my very first monthly recap. I know this one was long so thanks for bearing with me and I promise the next ones won’t be so wordy.
Have a wonderful January everyone!
What are your intentions for January? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos in this post were taken by me.