Well, Ladies and Gents, it’s here: 2016. Thank goodness it arrived during a weekend as well, partly because I got to spend a longer time away to relax in the Outer Banks, NC and be an active participant in quality time with friends, read (finished A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and started James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room), do some writing and a bit of work, just a tad, but most of all finally begin organizing my life. When I say life, I mean my Financial Life. I’ve finally set my intentions on getting this part IN ORDER. You see, when it comes to numbers, spreadsheets, balance sheets, basically anything that has to do with accounting (a subject that terrorized me and in which I had my worst grades ever in both high school and college), I freeze, then sweat, then run the other way. Most people would hire a professional life organizer, but I did what I do best: Procrastinate.
Then one day I woke up and smacked my head in a “I shoulda had a V-8″ kinda way. Hello, get this done. Thus, this became part of my 2016 Mission List, this doing what I fear and loathe the most. As I’ve grown older and hopefully more mature (though the jury is still deliberating on that), it’s become more satisfying to take on life projects that will not only alter my future in a positive way, but also build a foundation on which to layer the next life project. The “lose 10 lbs” is meaningless to me now. Since 2014, I’ve chosen to mindfully make a decision to make myself a bit more uncomfortable, but with good intentions and lasting effects.
I dove into 2014 with physicality and fitness in mind. I would have more endurance, flexibility and strength. I would do so by committing to Pure Barre and Zengo Cycle classes, every day. I would even walk to the studios in the freezing winds and sub zero temperatures. I knew that once I finished the workout, I would be able to high five myself and say “Look what you accomplished!” That carried into 2015 and into this year, but let me tell you, as someone who never used to work out at all, I am very proud that I stuck to it. My health (and body) has changed greatly. I have befriended some of the most wonderful like-minded people in class and the studio staff is like family. My energy is high and I’m grateful for the ability to exercise.
But, at the close of 2014, I found myself in a depressed rut. Without going into detail (I only have myself to blame and it was pretty awful), I finally realized it was up to me to get out of this sinkhole before I sank any deeper. Luckily, I have a strong support group and was able to spend some moments with family and alone in order to reflect on my life and plan. A strategy was hatched.
I told my family: 2015 is the year of ME! (I always have themes.) “When is it not the year of you?” a few of them teased me. But it wasn’t meant to be about Me. Me. Me. in a selfish manner. Rather, I would listen to my mind, body, and soul and say no without guilt, change my priorities, challenge myself to make my life better, really take care of myself and start to face reality. This reality is one which I hadn’t really wanted to face in previous years. I also wanted to be “all about beauty in addition to health and fitness.” Throughout the year, this was done on my blog with posts and with new beauty/spa/salon sponsors, but it carried over into my everyday personal life. It was about time I started a real self-maintenance routine. After all, I was 42 years old.
On top of the beauty mission, I dared myself to stay put in the D.C. market, to be present and engaged; to not “run away” to L.A. or New York, or anywhere I could so I wouldn’t feel the strain and stress of having to be solely responsible for myself. I’ve been up and down “denial” river so many times I have it memorized. I’ve fought the battle of being alone, of feeling lonely, of feeling unloved, of feeling unlovable and even worthless. I’ve blamed others, I’ve blamed my upbringing, I’ve blamed life, I’ve blamed the market, my clients, my friends, timing, the world, but more than any of those, I’ve blamed myself. I’ve felt the shame and sadness of defeat and rejection both in my personal and professional worlds. I’ve been manically motivated and the next day devastatingly depressed. I’ve eaten and I’ve drunk my way to momentary bliss only to find the coming down and the crawling out is hell on earth. Then I’ve done it all over again because I was scared to actually feel. To face reality.
But with baby steps and day by day intentions, I began to achieve my small goals from working out to self-maintenance. In other words, taking care of myself. I became stronger physically, healthier overall and living in happier state of mind. Believe me, it’s been no picnic. Every day for anyone, including me, can be a struggle to stick to goals. But I trudged on, cheering small rewards, celebrating with friends, any victories.
The next step was to build on that foundation and glue myself here all year in 2015. There was no L.A., no NYC, no island hopping, no desert spas. These former fabulous and fun hiatus trips were replaced with several very hard months in my apartment. My addiction to “not being here” was slowly detoxifying out of my body and mind. The first 90 days were the most difficult. Then I made it to spring. I started to see some of the benefits of being truly present and engaged here, again professionally and personally. But it was hard hard work, with an exorbitant amount of energy expended daily and nightly. My new and old clients and partners were closing the wagon around me, there was no escape, but suddenly, I felt safe and confident within the circle. This is where I’m meant to be, at least for now, I concluded. I developed a fresh and appreciative perspective of D.C./VA/MD and all that it had to offer, especially the PEOPLE and what they are doing to make this market great. We even changed the format of the blog, focusing on profiling such leaders and innovators, versus the events.
Then May came and just like that, I was a new single puppy mama. Talk about life being turned upside down.
Then I really had to stay. I took off once at the start of August to visit my niece and nephew in Las Vegas, leaving Frasier Simone behind at Dogtopia of Alexandria. I missed her so much and as soon as I held her in my arms, decided I wouldn’t fly away again, not for a long time. The rest of the year seemed a blur, a never ceasing calendar filled with a flurry of activity, all of which had to accommodate my schedule and my puppy’s world. In December, I garnered the drive to #Finish2015Stronger than how I’d started it by upping my Pure Barre and now SoulCycle classes and booking as many client meetings/lunches and gatherings with friends that I could stand. Then Christmas came. And the Outer Banks road trip with Frasier and friends came. Then New Year’s Eve came.
So it’s 2016. It stares directly into our eyes, teasing, provoking, but encouraging and inspiring. This year, I have chosen my mission to be 2016: Strength of Body, Mind, Spirit & Heart. I will Be Fit. I will Work Smart. I will Give My All Everyday (even at the end of the day/night when I want to be just done, find that one ounce of energy, one more idea, one way to get something done). I will Embrace Real Relationships Openly. I will Get My Life Organized. I will Never Stop Laughing.
This can be done, but with a plan every day, every week, every month, every quarter. That’s the only way to make it happen.
After being gated in the yard in 2015, I am allowing myself to take off on trips, but not until much later in the year. I’ve earned several new major consulting clients with huge opportunities with whom I MUST realize success. I’m committed to them. I’m giving myself no choice. In addition, I’m starting to work on writing a book. This process is as scary as it is therapeutic. More to come on that. It’s nice to finally feel like I have direction and purpose. Without a doubt, sweet little Frasier Simone has been the hugest part of this difference and I’m blessed to have had her brought to me that fateful day.
Life is fleeting. Life is a gift. Life is short. Life is long. Life is scary. Life is challenging. Life is funny. Life is ironic. Life is love. Life is loathsome. Life is sad. Life is beautiful. Life is magic. Life is a roller coaster. Life is invaluable. Life is a mystery. Life is what we make it. Life is TODAY.
May you make your 2016 all that you can. Whatever life sends your way (because it will, we know this, we are seasoned humans) I wish for you that you have the weapons to fight on and the support you need which comes in the form of family, friends, faith and fortune.
Happy New Year! Love, Pamela
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.