risk & romance.

a new year always brings forth feelings of excitement and hope - usually excitement over the prospect of new beginnings, fresh starts.. it's the chronological reset button that we all love to press. and even though i stray away from setting resolutions, i do enjoy designing my year with shiny, new goals.  another one of my most-loved practices is choosing a word, or overarching theme, for the next 365 days of my life. 

of course i tend to not play by the rules, and i certainly don't like limiting myself to just ONE favorite.  so, amongst the jumble of words swirling around in my head and calling for my undivided attention, i snatched two which seemed to light up every time they flashed by-

RISK and ROMANCE.

just reading the two words together give me a butterfly sensation that i haven't felt in the longest time (regarding my work and my personal life).  

now, when i say "romance," i'm not referring to a fiery, passionate, fairytale relationship with my man ('cause if i'm bein' real with ya, i'm lucky enough to already have that alive and well in my life).  this isn't to say that nurturing that relationship won't be a part of my focus this year, because it will. but to clarify, when i say "romance," i'm referring to the idea of living a romantic life- following your heart, finding a wild idea and chasing it, not abiding by societal expectations...

risk seemed to go hand-in-hand pretty effortlessly.  pursuing a romantic life is full of risk; that's part of what makes it so fulfilling and beautiful. when you're doing something that most people don't do,  there are bound to be many obstacles, tons of naysayers and a good amount of self-doubt, but stay true to your heart and stick to your guns, and you won't believe the amount of magic that'll flood into your life. 

two days after i chose my words for 2016, i found myself apartment hunting for my boyfriend, branno, who was planning on moving back down to san diego after spending six months about an hour and a half north.  i had been scouring craigslist and multiple other websites for weeks trying to find a decent place that was larger than a shoebox that also allowed animals to no avail (unless we wanted to live in barren east county suburbia). 

for whatever reason, but most likely due to my feelings of hopelessness and frustration, i decided to peek at how far our dollar would go somewhere else.  we had briefly chatted once about the possibility of relocating; san diego definitely feels like home to both of us (although it took me probably two years to get there), but it also started to feel too comfortable. 

so i typed "missoula, MT craigslist" into my search bar because i had heard my sister mention the town once before and how it was supposed to be kinda artsy, and i recalled the stunning videos and photos she had shared from her summer in big sky, MT.  

well, it wasn't more than 5 minutes before "idyllic cabin in the woods" captured my attention and had me clicking to learn more.  i saw my pocahontas/snow white real-life fantasy unfolding before my eyes (no dwarfs, just alllll the animals and most picturesque nature ever).  i immediately shared the link with branno, who jumped right into the log-splitting, bareback horse riding daydream with me. 

not allowing the excited energy we were both feeling to slip away, he called about the property the next morning, and the synchronistic, magical events began to unfold, ever-pointing us north to the simpler, more fulfilling lifestyle we both craved. 

it's hard to come up with a list of things a person wouldn't love about san diego, california- the weather is perfect, the beaches are beautiful, the different neighborhoods offer something for everyone, it's a crossroads for travelers from all over the globe...

and it may sound crazy, but it becomes hard to appreciate all of that when you become so accustomed to it.  just as you can't know ecstatic happiness if you've never known deep sorrow, a life without a change in seasons or challenges to your creativity can begin to feel mundane.  contrasts allow you to appreciate. contrasts foster character and growth. 

so push yourself. take a risk...even if that risk is going to get coffee by yourself (seriously...i had to be reminded of how that was way out of my comfort zone two and a half years ago when i first moved to california.) it doesn't matter what it is, just go for it. and if it is something wild and crazy that's calling to your soul, go for that too. 

if you've got enough of risk in your life, maybe focus on something else. i shared my words of the year with a woman i had just met the other night and she was stoked. she wanted her own word. she laughed and said, "well, i think mine is 'mindfulness' but that's so boring." but there's nothing boring about being mindful. how many of us go through our day-to-day not appreciating small moments or even noticing people or things we pass by all the time?  

so, pick a word, any word that speaks to you, and let it be your north star for 2016.