2018 was very good to me. It was the year that I made a conscious decision to monetize and start this blog. I decided to transform my piece of the internet from merely just being a way to preserve memories into a venue where I can help financially support my family. I started 2018 with the goal of simply being invited to press events. I am so proud to say that I achieved that goal and went into a direction that I never could have imagined.
There’s something about that statement that makes me take a pause. “I am proud.” I think that there is still a lot of shame that comes with the industry of being an “influencer”. Even the word “influencer” makes me cringe a little (for me, I don’t like to assume that my opinion carries enough weight to change the way someone else makes decisions). There is a certain stigma that comes with sponsored “#ad” posts and you can almost feel the eyerolls and the threat of the ever powerful “unfollow”.
A quick aside: One of my ongoing goals is to live a life of transparency, and I will be honest with you if I am being paid to talk about something. I do not want to hide my bias. Instead of being ashamed of the “#ad”, I look to it as a badge of honor. To me, it represents a successful business collaboration that I worked really hard to achieve.
Here’s the thing. I AM PROUD. I am proud of the work I accomplished in 2018. I am proud of the goals that I set for myself, and how I continually set the bar higher because I’m reaching those goals. I am proud that I am learning more about myself and what I can accomplish. I am proud that I am doing something for myself that gives me autonomy and achievement. I am proud that I am showing my daughters that with hard work comes great payoff (even they have learned what it means to get a job done, and I am so very proud of their work ethic, focus, and attention).
With the start of the new year comes a season of cleansing and renewal. It seems that everyone has been bitten by the “Konmari” bug and we are all asking ourselves, “Does this bring me joy?” I’ve taken this mentality and extended it beyond physical things. My goal is to only keep things in my life that bring me joy. This is true with everything–friendships, potential work commitments, expectations of myself. If a person is not bringing me joy, I have to thank them for their contribution to my life, and let them go. I often find myself saying yes to too many events, but if they are not bringing me joy, I am giving myself permission to say no. I’d like to be the type of mom who feeds her kids really cute bento box lunches, but if it’s not bringing me joy, it’ll be another day of sun butter and chocolate sandwiches in a fold top plastic bag.
My word for 2019 is “refine”. I used 2018 as the year to get my foot in the door in the social media blogging world. I still barely know what I’m doing. I’m going to use 2019 to hone in on my craft, what I want to present, and how to present it well. I have found that I respect and invest in people who share content about things that obviously bring them joy (Stephenie‘s Brene Brown posts, Jo‘s unfiltered musings on motherhood in the special needs world, Mindy‘s unapologetic take on blogging). I hope to do the same. While this list is ever changing, here are the things that bring me joy:
- Bringing together bloggers/social media-ers and building a supportive community–brainstorming, talking shop, inspiring, networking
- Making costumes for my kids (whether it be from scratch or curated from clothing basics like primary.com)
- Going to places and events in Orange County and Los Angeles (and sharing tips on how to make these trips less stressful)
- Theme Parks
- Finding tips, tricks, and deals and sharing them with you. On the same wavelength, I love taking in a big piece of information, process it, and present it to you in a more manageable way. This is where my “Kids Guides” come in.
- Live entertainment and performing arts
- Toys. So random, but I love toys. Always have. New toys, vintage toys, toy storage, toy reviews, I just love toys.
It will be interesting to see how this list expands and pares down (hence, the refining) throughout the year. When I was in high school, my teachers would ask me, “What do you want to do as a career?” I didn’t have a specific profession in mind, but I vividly remember thinking that I wanted to tell people about new and exciting things, and share how they can get the most out of them. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized that I am finally achieving my childhood career aspirations. I want to spend 2019 refining what brings me joy, and focus on those things. I hope to continue to learn more about myself and how I can hopefully inspire and help other people. I feel like I’m just an ordinary mom just like many of you. Anything that I can do, you can definitely do also. My hope is that I inspire others to get out there, set goals, and create an extraordinary life. Cheers to 2019.