05 January 2015

2015 is Going to Kick My Butt


Whew.

I have a lot to do.

This is the strangest New Year's goal situation I've ever had.

My whole life I have been pretty ambitious and have always, always (even during my divorce) had good stuff cookin'. But for the first time ever, I don't know exactly what is in my future. I've been thinking, thinking, thinking. And at the moment, so much still feels very unknown. And it sometimes keeps me awake at night.

But this is what I do know...

-I am ready to think about a long term career and I'm exploring options. My whole life I never envisioned a long term career (which seems crazy to me now). This was partly due to cultural cues in my upbringing and partly due to the fact that I was having a hard time envisioning working full time with kids at home when I wasn't even pulling off picking up my dry-cleaning. So I saved enough money and worked hard enough that I could finance my own work-from-home venture and stay-at-home life with some kids. Ha. No dice. And so now I venture into the world of the unknown - what will I do for the long term? Not a side gig. Not a temporary gig. But what do I want to do with my life? I feel a desire to make it meaningful. Though I also have a desire to live a sustainable life and provide for this family. Still thinking. But I have a few ideas. 2015 will be my year. (Any career ideas? I'd love to hear!)

-I want to move back to Brooklyn. Yep. No surprise there. :) Moving back to the states is something that we knew would happen at some point, but we didn't know exactly when or where we would go. But Brooklyn is calling my name. I thrive there. My creativity is on fire there (it's honestly like a switch turns on and off when I'm here and when I'm not). I love the people and the community there. My roots are there. And, I think Sila would love the dog hours at Prospect Park. :) We'll see what happens as 2015 progresses, but I'll be working on a plan that involves Brooklyn. In the meantime, we'll be happy to have some more adventures in South America.

-I want to learn more Spanish before I leave Ecuador. It will really be lame if I don't. I've hardly cracked open a lesson (I'm saying that with my hand over my face.) OK, maybe I've done 20 lessons which is like the first 2 weeks of 7th grade Spanish. I have a long way to go. 

-I still plan to share as much as I can in this space. It has always been a miracle to me to be able to run this blog and to have something to say. Oh, to have something to say! It's really quite amazing to feel you have something to share. I've known that since I started. I hope to continue sharing here as long as I can.

-I want to invest in real estate again. Like in the worst way. I have a few good ideas for Brooklyn.

No small potatoes, right? Wish me luck!

If you have any ideas or advice on these goals, it is completely welcome.

And, I'd love to hear what you have cookin' this year! I send you all the good wishes I can muster. And do you want insights or help on any of your goals? Perhaps in the comments, myself and any readers could offer leads, ideas or just encouragement. It's so fun to collaborate.  xo, Mara



Also...

Martha Stewart Living wanted to highlight what goals Danny and I have as a couple. So nice of them to ask. :) It was a worthwhile evening to sit down and think of a few things. See what they posted here. To add to that list, we want to travel this year to Machu Piccu, the Galapagos, Lake Titicaca, Patagonia, and the salt flats of Bolivia. Oh my, we'll see if we can pull it off. 

[Photographer and dear friend, Melissa Hope, took these photos at Alt Summit. That's an original Harvey Faircloth skirt! And I can thank my dream team Rubi Jones and Aubrey Nelson for a good hair day.]


Retreat Update:

We are so, so, SO excited for the people that have signed up for our Body+Soul Camp. I think of them often and know that they are in for an experience of a lifetime. And, we still have spaces available. COME! There is no better time to focus on your well being, happiness, and health. If you're on the fence, let us know and we can chat about it. I'll probably tell you that your skin will GLOW like crazy and you'll look and feel healthier, stronger, renewed, and more powerful than you've felt in a long time.  :)

35 comments:

  1. If you don't mind me asking, what do you do now as a means of primary income? 2015 is my year to become location independent. I am trying to build readership and explore options (such as real estate investment) but it seems like I'm stringing together many small ventures. Any advice? Longtime reader and excited you're moving back to Brooklyn. I love reading about your adventures. My husband and I are a family of two as well (no fur babies yet) and love reading about other couples in love. Happy New Year!

    Kelly
    www.alovelylifeindeed.com

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    1. Dear Kelly, I've been wanting to write a post about this as others have asked. So, this year we have been living off of real estate and other investments. The blog had made some money but it is frankly so minimal that is not livable income. I started out not doing anything on the blog to really earn income. I just put all my time into posts. With the amount of tme I put into it (on my good days) I have found it to be very difficult to be both the business manager and the writer. Unfortunately this is the story for any small business owner! So my advice is to 1. Hire people as soon as you possibly can - while your passion and drive is at it's peak and before you burn yourself out. 2. Do anything you can to get some passive income. This is worth gold. It can be real estate, airbnb, selling ebooks, investments, apps, products, etc. 3. Do not rely on advertisers for your livelihood. Sure, you may get some deals but it may be erratic, it will be loads of time and work to get them, and you likely will need millions of readers for that model to be sustainable. Instead, focus on your own brand and generate income from that alone. Sell products. Sell events. Sell ebooks. Sell webinars or classes. Sell speaking engagements. This way you get to call all the shots and you get to interact with your audience in authentic ways instead of working for other big brands and pushing their products. Personally, I think that model has killed a lot of blogs. I've realized more and more that I can't scroll by a sponsored post fast enough. It just adds to the noise.

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    2. Amen, Mara! Such good advice. I have stopped reading so many blogs because 1) at first they were authentically written with interesting posts about what the author was passionate about and then 2) they slowly became all about the person earning money, selling ads, and sponsored posts. It's gross and a sell-out. And it's really obvious to the reader. It's also just disgusting after a while to see such product placement and to see how complimentary bloggers are in response to getting products for free.

      For future posts, it really would help a lot of women for you to go into details about finances - how you saved, how you lived below your means, what exactly your investments are and how you chose them, how you learned about real estate and exactly how you chose what to buy and how you bought it, etc. So many people are ignorant about these things. And so many people live in debt and financial ignorance. And this is furthered by money sometimes being a taboo topic in our culture, which it really need not be.

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    3. Thanks, Anon. Sad about the blogs, huh? (at least for people like us who enjoyed the super raw, super authentic voices being heard.) Though I think there's room for everyone. I think we as readers just need to be extremely diligent about filtering out whatever is "noise" to us and finding reading material that we truly enjoy or makes us feel good or is interesting to us- otherwise I think you can be turned off and bogged down in general by the internet. (For me, reading paid for commercials just doesn't feel good to me anymore. I love reading about great products, but truthfully it isn't as fun when someone is getting paid to tell me about it. I hate to say this as I'm also in this blogging world - and I have many friends who make good income doing just that. I guess I'm just being super blunt here with my experience as a reader.)

      And, thanks for the nudge to write more about our how we've gotten to where we are. You've inspired me to get it out there. Thanks!

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    4. I wholeheartedly agree about sponsored content. I know bloggers feel pressured to do it, but I find it such a turnoff. It's like seeing an advertorial in the middle of a magazine's editorial well, written by a staff writer. It makes other content seem less than honest, even if that's not the intention.

      Kristin

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  2. Happy new year Mara!!

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  3. Your new year goals sound challenging, anda I'm sure it will be a great adventure! I can see a similar setting for myself, as I'm also trying to find out a sustainable anda meaningful carreer path. I'm pretty lost still, but I know I want to work to expand the Kingdom of Love here on earth :-) I spent New Year's Eve singing and camping by a lake with a handful of people from 4 different countries... I think that forebodes adventure!
    Reading your blog has been an awakening to me, I'm so grateful for your dedication and vulnerability! If you ever come to Buenos Aires in one of your trips, I'd be ecstatic to meet you guys!
    Be blessed!
    Ailen

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    1. Ailen, you go girl! haha. That sounds amazing. A sustainable and meaningful career I think is so worth going for. Though I would say to be very, very kind to yourself in the process. Master your emotions. Learn how to live and breathe your happiness outside of the endeavor. This will lead to an incredible journey with less stress and feelings of inadequacy as you try to make this happen. Also, do things for REAL and in the right way - if you can! Take the classes or get the education you need to be successful. Bring on the right people WITH EXPERIENCE who can help you and advise you. Try not to "wing" too much if possible. Of course you'll need to from time to time. But try to find a mentor who can advise you so that you know you're on the right track. Also, get a small loan if needed or find some grants to start a business. I have found that trying to run a business without using adequate funds is a very rocky path. Alright, GOOD LUCK! And I hope you get to spread all that love to your heart's desires. :) The world can't have too much of it. All the best, Mara

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  4. Happy New Year Mara! Can't wait to see what 2015 brings you.

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  5. My husband and I are trying to get his first fiction novel published, so if you have any advice that would be great! I can't wait to read what 2015 will bring you. Have you thought about being a marriage/relationship/ well being counselor and hosting retreats like the one you did in Vermont? You would be amazing at that. And you should also take your posts and put them into book format. You would be successful there as well. No matter what you choose I know you will be able to see how all the little things in your life led you to that choice, and it will be better than you could have ever dreamed of.

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    1. Oh, I so wish I had advice on getting a novel published! Maybe other readers can chime in. How amazing that he wrote a novel. Truly incredible. I am really amazed by people that can pull that off.

      And thanks so much for the ideas! Really! It's so nice to hear them. I have tinkered with the idea of being a counselor. Though I don't always love the typical experience with a psychologist, so I'd love to do things a little differently and focus on the whole person - the physical, spiritual, and emotional well being. Really, the format we have at the retreats is pretty much perfect. I would LOVE for them to be full to the brim each time we have one as it would be a way to continue doing what I love. And then in between retreats, I'd love to be a "mentor" to people still working through the process of healing. Anyway, it would be amazing to get more education and experience as much as I can.

      And thanks for the idea to create a book out of the posts. I've thought of that before, but it's nice to have the reminder.

      Thank you so very much for your kind note. And may your 2015 be full of progress in whatever ways you desire.

      xo, M

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  6. Oh, Mara, it's so awesome to hear about your goals, questions, and plans. I love this kind of stuff!

    The what-next question has been all I can think about for the past six months or so. In April, I realized that I need MORE from my work (in a really messy, fell-apart-crying-at-my-desk sort of way) -- more meaning, more purpose, more service-based stimulation. I discovered the career coach, Laura Simms (www.createasfolk.com; click on the 'blog' tab for really great reads), through a newsletter and used all her free web resources until she returned from maternity leave in September...at which point I quickly enrolled in her coaching program, Your Career Homecoming. Holy Batman, it's been an enlightening bunch of months since. After a lot of soul-searching, I have next steps in place! :-)

    Before I could work with Laura, I was antsy to start *something*, so I began my own site, dedicated to learning about meaningful work from women who love what they do for a living. My most recent interview is with a Brooklynite and freelance writer you may already know -- Shoko Wanger. I've found that starting conversations about work and purpose is a really unifying thing; it's both reassuring and inspiring to learn how others are grappling with their hopes and wishes for their own legacies. Career-love is something I really believed was a myth, but I'm learning that most of us will change careers many times over the course of our lives...and maybe work-happiness is a better way to describe 'the dream'. Come visit! www.happyandheartworking.com

    A longtime reader, I can envision you doing so many things so very well. I really think you'd be an extraordinary marriage counselor or dietician/nutritionist/health coach. I mean EXTRAORDINARY. It seems to me that you'd really shine in a people and/or health (mental and physical) field.

    I'd love to talk more about this with you! :-)

    Happiest New Year to you & Danny,
    Helen

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    1. Helen - you are a GEM!! I am IN LOVE with your website! High fives and hugs and all of that for doing such meaningful work for the world. Seriously, women need your website. We need ideas and hope and we need to be able to envision ourselves having meaningful work that we love.

      And thanks for the career ideas. You're the sweetest. I do certainly enjoy those areas and perhaps I could pursue them further. THANK YOU. xo

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    2. I'm so glad to have found Helen's site through yours, Mara! I wouldn't have looked it up without your endorsement. I'm so glad I did. What a great site! I'm a grown up who's feeling lost about my career path & found it interesting to read about other women. I'm also a former high school teacher & I wish I could have directed my students to Helen's site when they asked me for career advice. Thanks!!

      Also- Mara, do you offer personal mentoring/coaching?

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    3. Hi! I've had lots of requests for this and it is one of the #1 things we wanted to get up on the site as an option. Ideally in the next week. If you want, we can set it up now! We were going to offer Skype sessions. Options: $150 for an hour. Or $500 for a month long package (1 hour call each week + follow up emails as needed.) Let me know and we can schedule a session if you'd like!!

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    4. Mara, thank you SO much for your kind words! Absolutely made my week, hands down. I'm just so glad if even a few women and girls find something on the site that resonates with them. Beneath the job titles, there are patterns in the attitudes of these women -- gratefulness for the opportunity to learn from others, understanding themselves better, being of service in multiple ways at once -- and that's been one of the best parts of creating the site; when it comes to seeking meaningful work and desiring greater purpose in the day-to-day, we all have more in common than we think! :-) Anyway, thank you for your enthusiasm about this project. It means the world to me to have such lovely supporters.



      @Tropicanna: Thank you SO much for your enthusiasm, as well! Oh my gosh, I'm delighted to know that you've found parts of it inspiring and interesting. And your taking the time to comment here? Made my day. :-D A heartfelt 'thank you' to you.

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  7. Happy HAPPY Happy 2015 Mara!
    Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerabilities about starting a new venture! It is so inspiring to read your blog and know we are never alone! Life threw you a giant curveball and instead of being bitter and resentful you are using your strength to change course and map out a new and wonderful journey! It may not look like what you imagined, but it will be beautiful too. I can't help but think that this knowledge and wisdom you have amassed won't come into play in your future... I know you inspire me with your LOVE of life, your LOVE of Danny and sweet Sila, your willingness to be so open with the hardest most heartbreaking moments of your life. It inspires me to see your ability to keep moving forward and sharing the challenges it brings. I am in your boat with you and I know how hard it is to not reread the past chapters of our life's journey, but it shows how strong we are if we can let go and move past our past. It inspires me to see you excited about writing new chapters of your life. I love that you caught the curveball, with Matrix style flexibility and an open heart. You are willing to believe your new path is beautiful too (it is). You are becoming better instead of bitter and I LOVE it! Taking everything from your past and using the knowledge to propel you into a richer existence where you mourn what you have lost, use what you have learned, and always remembering that love and positivity will makes you better! Whatever, you do in 2015 it will be AMAZING, because you are at the wheel xo
    With love from your boat mate PS this may be a repeat comment I had some issues publishing so forgive me if you heard this before! ;-) LOVE reading your blog Mara and Danny and I wish you all good things in 2015! Keep being courageous and brave, because you are contagious!

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    1. Oh wow - - this comment just makes my heart swell. Thank you so, so much. YOUR kindness and passion is contagious. And your encouragement means the world.

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  8. It would be interesting to hear what happened in the last four months as you seemed to have stopped blogging completely just as you likely would have a lot to say adapting to a new country. I recall your posting that designing furniture for your new home and gathering groceries took up the bulk of your time and so you couldn't blog? If you are returning, imagine the geographic solution wasn't all it was chalked up to be.. that would have been interesting to blog about. You can only vacation so long, perhaps...

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    1. I know! I've been wanting to write about it. But sometimes you just have to start somewhere and dive back in with whatever is of the moment. I actually have a gazillion posts that I want to write but it is always a matter of time and heart. I'd love to back up a bit and share what life has been like as we've been settling in down there. The geographic solution actually HAS been all it was chalked up to be in the ways we had hoped - freedom, time, low cost of living, etc. That has all come through for us and we hope to soak it all up some more during 2015. But the use of our time down there has been different than we imagined. We have been traveling a ton, planning our retreats a ton, and trying to get "life" done in an extremely slow paced country. But blogging is still something I want to do. At times I guess I've needed to recover a bit from being here and there and also I've needed to recover a bit as I mostly do this blog solo. But I hope the pace of it will pick up more. :)

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  9. Nutritionist! If you really are free to choose a career at this point in your life I think that would be a great path for you. I find that your commitment to healthy eating is the most genuinely unique and impressive subject on your blog.

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    1. Oh, that's so nice to hear. I *DO* think health is KEY! I never took it that seriously in my twenties. But now I can't shut up about it as it really has transformed my life in my 30s. A nutritionist could be a really good fit for me. Thank you for chiming in!

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  10. Hi!! I just wanted to say welcome back. I've missed your uplifting blog posts and I'm really enjoying you popping up in my feed again. You and Danny are definitely a source of inspiration in my life!
    Thanks!

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    1. Awww, thank you. Glad to know we were missed out there. When I'm not able to write, I miss all of you, too.

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  11. Hello Mara, what about becoming an acupuncturist. That is where your journey started when it comes up to love. I mean you could heal people and share your wisdom. Your blog is so inspiring. Thank you so much!

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  12. It can be tough to figure out "what's next" and "what do I want to do with my life." I need to work on the same thing. In your case, you can at least be certain that you'll be great at whatever you choose. And I do hope it's something that involves helping people and maybe even social justice, as you have so much to give in this area and the world needs it.

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  13. Maybe this is kind of random, but I could see you having a lovely shop. I always enjoyed reading your holiday gift guides and there are so many ways one can make a store special -- importing unique items, hosting events, etc. (Even selling my artwork! :) Kidding...) And since you have a talent for real-estate investment, perhaps you could buy the space so you wouldn't have to worry about the insane rent increases that plague many small businesses in New York. Just a thought! I often fantasize about owning a store when I see empty storefronts, but I'm no businesswoman!

    Kristin

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  14. Thanks for sharing your 2015 plans! And welcome back to the blogosphere! You were definitely missed. :) My 2015 is a lot like yours in that... I have no idea what I'm doing. I think it might be because I just turned 30 (and you know, that whole Mormon and single thing), but I'm sort of freaking out about what I should be doing and where I need to be.... Ha. Also, in another post, you shared an article on how to end the dating game. Thanks for sharing it! I'm currently in a situation where I thought we weren't doing that, and apparently, we are (or rather, he is). Gosh, dating is the worst... Now I'm just rambling. :) Anyway, thanks again for sharing, and umm, can I join you on your trips to Macchu Picchu/Patagonia/etc etc? K, thanks! ;)

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  15. Hi Mara!!! So glad to be back to reading your sweet and loving words. I was going to suggest coaching for you as well. I started my own coaching business about 1.5 years ago, and have truly found my calling and passion. This year for me is focusing on doing retreats and workshops, so I LOVE reading about your workshops and retreats. I spent 10 years in HR as a trainer, so and really feel I find my voice every workshop.

    Every year, I pick a word of the year, and this year mine is "game-changer". Excited to see where I'm heading this year. Wish you all the best!

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  16. Hi Mara - could you talk a little bit more about your ideas for investing in real estate in Brooklyn? I'd really love to know!

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    1. I'd love to buy a multi family building as an investment. I've got my eye on a few neighborhoods. I've just had so much good luck with NY real estate and I think it's one of the best investments ever. I would so love to pull something off sooner than later.

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    2. Also, I have a post about real estate coming up soon - likely this week!

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  17. Patagonia is absolutely beautiful. I went & hiked what they called the "W".

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  18. I'm in the same boat of being culturally raised to work until a family, and then have side jobs/work from home career if necessary. I'm now 35, divorced/no kids, could go into menopause any moment according to the Dr. and I'm in this limbo place of "what have I done with my life (wasted time?) and what do I want the next 30 years to look like? What career am I going to own? What impact do I want to make and in what field? Retirement? Gotta start saving for that.

    Anyway, nice to hear I'm not the only 35 year old woman who is questioning our career contributions.

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  19. You guys HAVE to go to Machu Picchu for sure! My husband and I went in Dec 2012 and it was incredible. I can't even describe how amazing it was. The place is a must see as well as the rest of the sacred valley. I'd go back in a heart beat and I HIGHLY encourage anyone interested to go ASAP! :) I already read the real estate post and I am love it too. Unfortunately my area is pretty sucky for real estate, we've been trying to sell a house for over a year with no luck :( fingers crossed for a showing we have tomorrow!

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