This is the time of year when people come out of the woodwork to expound on the benefits of starting a new routine, charting a new course, mapping out a new strategy. As the face of Hope Boulevard, I was a little torn this year on my participation on this trending bandwagon. On the one hand, I felt it was my responsibility to infuse ‘hope’ into your plans and goals; to join my inspirational voice with the throng parading through your social media. On the other hand, this year, I decided I’m not. Instead, I want to come to you from the sidelines, in a quiet voice, giving you permission to not stress about or frantically search for a PLAN.
I just simply want you to have joy; whatever that means to you.
2018 was somewhat of a chaotic year for me, both personally and goal-wise. Coming off the high of publishing my book at the end of 2017 I had so many PLANS! I researched, read articles, made charts and slideshows. I downloaded apps to track my every move and keep me motivated and focused. I discovered that I knew almost nothing about the ‘business’ of writing. I was doing it all wrong; from the titles of my blogs, to the length, to the hashtags, to when to post, to the 3.2 lists required to hold the reader’s attention. I made it a point to follow all the ‘rules’ on how to be successful, noticed, appreciated. And while I indeed did learn a great deal, I also lost a little in the process.
I lost my free time, some of my friends, and at moments, even my sense of self. “You have to be willing to sacrifice to see your dreams come true.” I absolutely agree with that statement. But anyone who tells you it is necessary to sacrifice who you are, or forsake the downtime required to recharge and regroup your peace and sanity is wrong. (In my humble opinion). There has to be a balance in every relationship we have, even the one with ourselves. It doesn’t matter how lofty the goal or pure the intention, emotional energy does not spring from an eternal source. Burning the candle at both ends does eventually result in just a hot waxy mess.
So what am I saying? Have I jumped off the Hope Boat? Not at all! I love writing. I love the idea of inspiring a person I’ve never met on the other side of a computer screen. I love the thought that my middle name, HOPE, was divinely bestowed for a purpose. (Ok, maybe that was a reach, but hey, a girl can wish). What I didn’t love was having to formulate all of the above to fit into a box that ‘someone’ deemed important. So, I’m throwing the formula out the window! And I encourage you to do the same!
If there is something you have always wanted to do, do it! Not because it is 2019, and not because there is a mini cheerleading squad in your iPhone. Do it because YOU want to. Do it because it makes YOU happy, feel fulfilled, or brings peace. And by golly, if you are perfectly content with your life the way it is… don’t change a thing! Contentment is priceless, trust me on that one.
I am not advocating everyone abandon their dreams and drown their motivations. I just want you guys to be true to yourselves. Be happy with who you are, where you are. Love your family and friends. Be kind. Make a difference. Do little things with great emphasis and on purpose. Live your life; unscripted, unrehearsed, and sometimes (gasp) without a plan!
As for me, I will return to writing for the pure joy of it. If you guys like it too, that’s fabulous, but this is my fire burning within me and I’m going to let it out without the rules or formulas to fit into a mold. I don’t need a mold. And for just today, I don’t need a plan. I just need HOPE!
Have A Happy No-Plan New Year!
Hope With Abandon (Now that is one plan I can always stick with!)
J. Hope Suis is an inspirational writer and relationship specialist with over 20 years of experience in single-parenting, dating, relationships, and a phrase she coined as “Solitary Refinement”, which is simply a season of being single to grow and develop as an individual. She has been cited [...]