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On Dreams and the Choices We Make

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions, and this year is no exception.

However, I have reached a point in my life when I’m ready to bravely name what I truly want, without apology.

I stopped dreaming for a while. During that time I learned the value of acceptance and surrender. I know who I am now and what I need, maybe that’s why I woke up on New Year’s Day with a deep hunger running through my veins.

So I took some time to consider what I want from 2018 and beyond. I closed my eyes and ears to the world and finally listened to the message my beating heart has been trying to deliver for far too long. I dreamed dreams far bigger than any I’ve dared to dream before. I began by writing a list of all the things I wanted to commit to this year; you can see that list below. Then I made a second, shorter list of all the things I dream of doing with my life. The kind of things that will cause my heart pain and leave a huge sense of loss if I don’t do them. 

So often our dreams are simply abstract thoughts. Writing them down is a powerful exercise but as I’ve learned, big dreams can get lost amongst the smaller day-to-day goals, which are often distractions. I looked at those two lists and for the next 48 hours I experienced a pounding headache I couldn’t relieve. Until I finally understood: I’m going to have to make some choices.

I’ve become adept at saying no to things I don’t want to do, but there are so many wonderful things I want to say yes to. Also, just as we all do, I have things I need to do to maintain a happy and healthy life: Sleep, nourish and move my body, be present in my relationship, stay on top of ‘life admin’, work and so on. Which really only leaves a small sliver of time to bring the big dreams to life.

One of the biggest dreams I’m committing to this year is to begin writing my book.

Which means I’m going to have to choose what I want the most, for example:

  • Write a letter a month to a family member or friend, or use that time to make notes of ideas and questions for my book?
  • Complete 30 days of yoga, or spend that time writing 500 words a day, which would equal an incredible 15,000 words by the end?
  • Learn how to create and edit short films, or use that time to do research?
  • Start my ‘Unconventional Women’ series, or spend that time writing my book?

And so on. You can see how this works and writing a book is just one example.

There are so many choices you need to make if you don’t want your dreams to get lost in distractions. Sometimes those choices are hard and sometimes they’re easy. Sometimes those choices will disappoint the people you love the most and at times you’ll be disappointed when you need to say “No” to someone or something, in order to say “Yes” to your heart’s greatest desires. 

The important thing is knowing you are choosing, otherwise you risk going through life forever busy, exhausted and always striving, yet never quite achieving what you truly want.

I’ve obviously got some choosing to do, so I’m leaving all the things I put on my 2018 list right here so I can look back in a year; I want to remember the choices I made, and where they took me.

  1. Live a life that reflects my heart’s greatest desires, rather than the life I’m expected to live.
  2. Bravely name what I truly want, without apology.
  3. Make a bold move. (I know; this is an ambiguous statement. I’m doing something later this year that I’m not quite ready to share here yet, but I will soon).
  4. Strip my life bare/back to basics, as much as possible. (In my home, with my health, beauty, wardrobe, even the people I share my time with – do more things that make me feel alive/spend more time with people who expand my perception of what’s possible).
  5. Continue to reclaim my time: make space, set boundaries and say no.
  6. Stay committed to living a wildly beautiful and fulfilling life through the daily and weekly rituals that bring beauty and joy into my life now.
  7. Complete Gabby Bernstein’s ‘May Cause Miracles’ in order to identify, better understand and overcome my fears.
  8. Sort and organise my journals.
  9. Put even more care and effort into my relationship; ask David what he needs from me, nurture what we have.
  10. Get a new tattoo over my old one – I’m no longer the woman I was when I was originally inked.
  11. Write a letter a month to a family member or friend.
  12. Stay in touch with each member of my family more consistently.
  13. Continue to let some friendships go in order to create space for the ones I hold close to my heart.
  14. Figure out how to streamline my communications with friends.
  15. Continue the body-loving journey I’m on, remembering that this is my personal timeline and trajectory, continue to write about it to capture and share what I’m feeling and learning.
  16. Continue to pay close attention to my four ‘building blocks to health’: Sleep, hydration, food and exercise.
  17. Continue to explore my relationship with food: Keep a food diary to get a true picture of how much fresh fruit and vegetables and also sugar, I’m really eating each day, in order to make small, sustainable improvements.
  18. Continue with the weekly meal planning and preparation, be even more ethically/locally minded and keep experimenting with new vegan recipes.
  19. Complete 30 days of yoga.
  20. Continue to focus on increasing my strength rather than decreasing my weight.
  21. Continue sourcing natural beauty products.
  22. Chop my hair off and donate it to The Little Princess Trust.
  23. Get a new pair of glasses – I’ve had the same frames for around 12 years now!
  24. Continue to streamline my wardrobe into a true ‘capsule closet’.
  25. Continue to simplify our home, thus life, and continue to live with less, thus wasting less.
  26. Fix, improve and purge those final few things on the home improvement project list.
  27. Continue with the money mindset work I started in 2016.
  28. Set financial goals for remainder of this financial year and for 2018/19.
  29. Write my financial goals down daily.
  30. Surrender my earning capacity over to the care of the Universe and let go of my need to control. Show up and do the work, taking action from a faithful state.
  31. Write a will.
  32. Sort out paperwork – physical and on laptop – and create a new system for capturing/storing paperwork, finances, ideas and inspiration, goals, writing and photography.
  33. Sort out all of my passwords and save securely.
  34. Become more tech savvy. Ugh.
  35. Take more photographs – improve my photography skills.
  36. Finish the PR course I’m doing and then no more academic/business-related courses this year. Instead, put what I’ve learned into practice.
  37. Learn how to create and edit short films using my GoPro and iPhone.
  38. Create an actual list of books I want to read (I currently have multiple titles saved as notes on my phone). Find authors to read who do not look like me and who are leading different lives to mine, in order to increase my knowledge of other people’s worlds.
  39. Thank the people who already support my work and my writing: Take time each day to be grateful for what is already thriving in my life.
  40. Begin writing my book and learn to love the process of writing it, because this will take a while.
  41. Blog twice a month, consistently.
  42. Create a portfolio of written work.
  43. Start my ‘Unconventional Women’ series.
  44. Create and release the two courses I’ve been talking about for far too long.
  45. Connect with women I admire for their work and their writing and the way they share it with the world; leave comments on their social media feeds and blogs, send them emails, even send thank you cards. Do not be a silent observer.
  46. Finish my swim/walk/bike London ‘Ironman’ adventure project.
  47. Produce another body of creative work – a series of paintings, an art journal, a visual representation of my gratitude practice?
  48. Have some of my existing artwork turned into post cards.
  49. Contribute a set period of time to a volunteer project – project TBC.
  50. Get better at asking for help and offering to help others. Can you help me with any of the above? Is there some way I can help you?

Previously: 44 Things I Know At 44 Years…

Next: Spring Equinox Dreaming, Writing A Book…

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4 Comments

  • It is eerie, but wonderful, how your thoughts and ideas so often mirror mine. Thanks for posting your list – most of which I could have written! – and for your thoughts on balance. I, too, have come to see that we have to make choices. Here’s to growing and choosing!

  • Hi Ellie,

    How wonderful to read your words! Thank you and I’m with you, here’s to growing and choosing! It’s not always easy, but I’m so ready to free up more time for the things I long for the most.

    Esther xx

  • Such a beautiful list Esther. As always we are walking a similar path with our desire’s for a simpler more heart-led & live-filled life. You are a constant inspiration xx

  • Hello Jo! So lovely to ‘see’ you here and thank you for your words. I love that we’re walking a similar path and am so grateful for the way you inspire – as well as support – me too! Much love, Esther xx

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