As students, we study history…lots of history. From social studies in elementary school to world history in high school (and whatever off-the-wall history class you took in college to fulfill your credit requirements), you’ve probably learned dozens of factoids and “important” dates.
At the time, these studies may feel silly or useless, but we are forced to learn it all since history repeats itself. I have an inkling that many people resonate with a specific era or type of history, and some of these classes and lessons plant seeds of interest that grow as we age and continue our human experiences.
I never was a huge fan of history class because I didn’t like the style of teaching. I didn’t enjoy jumping through eras in an order that does not make sense. From class to class and year to year, we jumped around so much that connections in timelines were not made, so everything was out of context.
However, I love learning about origins and tracing patterns in humanity, society, religion, language, and so forth, so even though I didn’t love history class, I love history.
When I studied in Italy in 2018, I gained a newfound appreciation for the Renaissance. Perhaps this is pretty basic of me, but I fell in love. If you think back to your history classes, you may remember that Renaissance means “rebirth.”
The Renaissance period was significant because the world came alive again after the dark ages. Time and resources were poured into making art and music. A new breath of luminosity was breathed into society. Innovation ran rampant.
This is how 2022 felt for me. I feel like I came back to life throughout this year. 2022 was my Renaissance.
Over the past year, I have poured so much energy into prioritizing my health and happiness. Boundaries have become increasingly important, and my desire to do anything that does not serve me has become nonexistent. My career has remained important, but maintaining my joy and zest for life has become even more important than that.
I’ve made the effort to study the things that I love and put time into things that fill my cup. I feel light and lively. I feel joyous, even in the face of adversity. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I want to scream that I have been reborn.
The best way to describe this transformation is that I felt like I was in overdrive and in fight-or-flight mode for years. I could not breathe because I was overworked and under-rested, so the smallest thing would knock me off the rails and send me into a spiral. The work I put in this year has allowed me to breathe.
I’ve identified the things that hurt me, and I’ve replaced them with things that give me life. I cut the hours that I work drastically, and I have filled that time with rest, relaxation, movement, and things that bring me joy. Yoga has played a huge role in this transformation.
I’ve also taken opportunities to use my voice and create great things with others, which has been a really amazing experience. My current roster of clients feels so right, and it’s great to work with organizations that I feel aligned with. I even had my first podcast interview with another woman entrepreneur, and it was a blast.
By putting myself first, it has made it easier to do the things that I don’t like or enjoy that much.
For example, simply turning a podcast on while I wash my dishes makes the experience more manageable. Or thinking about how much I enjoy a clean and tidy home makes the process less of a burden. Of course, cleaning is simply a small inconvenience, but maintaining this joy in my life has made the really hard things easier to deal with, too.
With all of this said, I want to share some of the things that brought me joy this year.
I went to Puerto Rico with my parents (they gifted me the trip for Christmas in 2021), and we stayed right on the edge of the rainforest. It was an absolute blast.
On this trip, we went horseback riding from the rainforest to the beach, and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
We celebrated one year with the Baby Kitty (formerly and formally known as Clementine), and the cats have become besties.
Baby Kitty is actually bigger than BadBad now, but she is still our baby.
BadBad is still as bad as ever. She is more mischievous than the baby.
I spent a lot of time up north this year, which was a welcomed change from South Florida. I love my home, but this season of life has called for newness. I did a lot of slow travel, spending several weeks in a few different destinations.
One of my frequent destinations was Georgia, and Matthew and I went camping (well, glamping).
I took my plant hobby to the next level and grew my collection by a lot.
I got a tattoo. It may be smaller than a dime, but now I feel like a punk. “143” means “I love you.” My cousin Patrick texts me “143” every morning. He learned it from his sister, Annmarie, that passed away this fall. He was really worried that we wouldn’t be able to say it anymore because she wasn’t here. I wanted to reassure him that we could absolutely still say it, and now it’s on my arm forever.
Last but not least, here is a picture of the sunset from my home. Simplicity was key this year, and in that simplicity, I found joy, beauty, and a renewed (or reborn) love for life.
The Renaissance period spanned hundreds of years, and I am confident that 2022 is only the start of mine.
My goal for this year is to get even more aggressive in my pursuit of joy every day. This past year has done me such wonders, and I am hopeful for equal or greater joy in the year to come.
Emily, how I love you! You are so smart, innovative, and creative. I admire you so much. When you were a little girl I knew that you would go places in this life! The world is better with you in it! I am sorry I missed you last month. Hope to see you again soon! Happy New Year! Hugs and prayers always! ~ Aunt Lisa
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A great read Emily. It’s nice to hear the soul searching and self serving has made such a difference for you.. I’m excited to see how great you can make 2023