After skipping my annual vision statement exercise for 2022, I am back at the laptop, compiling a list of what I’d like to do and how I’d like to be this year.

I experimented last year with just going with the flow. I’d read Michael Singer’s The Surrender Experiment and I found it fascinating and a bit terrifying. Don’t plan your life? I’m a Virgo, that’s like telling me not to breathe. But I did take a step back from my normal long list of goals and opened up to what the Universe had to offer. 

The two goals I had for last year were 1) figure out where I’d like to live after I became an empty-nester and 2) perform my show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which I had previously committed to, at the end of 2021.

Fast forward to now, the end of 2022, and I’m happy to have accomplished both of those goals. I decided to live in Manhattan for a “gap year” so I can be closer to my family and tap into the creative energy of NYC. I had a fabulous run of my play in Scotland and I learned what worked well and what I’d like to do differently in the next version of the show. 

However, there were many times during 2022 when I felt lost and anxious. Maybe I’d swung too far to the other side of the “planning” pendulum? 

For 2023, I’m going back to creating an annual vision statement because I’ve found the structure is comforting to me and still allows me to be open to unplanned possibilities. So here goes!

It’s December 2023.

What a year in NYC! I made a decision about whether or not I’m extending my stay here and will include that in my 2024 Vision Statement. Being here on the east coast made it easier for me to visit my parents frequently and see my brothers and their families more often. I also saw Julia at least every other week and we started a tradition where she and a couple of friends come over, do their laundry and we cook dinner together. I helped my dad self-publish his book about leadership, something we worked on together for much of 2022. We celebrated my Mom’s 80th birthday with a fun weekend at the beach together. I’m grateful that they’re all in good health.

Despite living in a tiny 650 square foot apartment, I figured out how to host dinner parties and enjoyed having friends over. I met so many new neighbors and kept in touch with my dear friends from California, several of whom I saw when they visited the city. I enjoyed going with friends to concerts, including Crowded House and Metallica, two of my favorites.

I am happy that I’m back to working full time and having a great impact with a group of people I love working with. I’m proud that I published my second book, a self-help/self-coaching book, which I thought I was going to do in 2020, but oh well. It’s fulfilling for me to hear that it’s inspiring people to work through their fears and live lives that they love. 

Part of getting the New York experience was volunteering in my community. I enjoyed being able to meet new people and devote my time to a cause that’s meaningful to me. I also continued my pro-bono coaching that I’ve been doing for the past couple of years for clients from historically marginalized communities. 

This was a year of increased creativity for me. I developed my one-woman show into a more theatrical piece that I’m super proud of. I performed it at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June and at the November United Solo festival in NYC. I hope to go back to Edinburgh in 2024.

I started writing again in 2022 and had submitted an essay to the NY Times Modern Love column but it was rejected. No worries, I kept going and eventually used the story as the basis for my first novel, which I self-published in 2023.

I was sad to have to give up encaustic painting for a year because of my limited space and ventilation in my apartment, but I made up for it by making 100 acrylic abstract paintings. While encaustic will always be my favorite medium, I’ve really enjoyed this year of experimentation and exploration.

A couple of years ago I had a goal to be able to play piano while singing along, and this year I finally did it! I can now sing three songs with my own accompaniment. All in all, it was a super creative year for me and I’m inspired to do even more in 2024.

I’m grateful for another year on this planet. I aspired to be compassionate, curious, and patient in 2023 and I’m proud of myself for having had an open and loving perspective this year. I hope I inspired others to do the same.