This is a new tradition that I am imposing on myself - taking a self portrait(s) every year. The goal of this is to 1-allow myself to capture the moment, and 2-spend time with myself. Not like I do when I'm on the couch passing time with TV and/or scrolling through my phone. But really be with myself.
It also allowed me time to reflect on the past year.
A year with some of my greatest highs - I stood before a small group of friends and family, while I shared personal vows to the love of my life, and vice versa. We honeymooned in Paris. We bought a house together to allow for a (hopefully) growing fur family.
This year also showed me some of the lowest lows in my adult life. Brian and I said goodbye to our little Linus after we couldn't watch him slowly dying anymore.
I also got a jolt back to reality the day after we returned from our honeymoon - that mom had breast cancer. She needed a double mastectomy. And she was going to need chemo. *At this moment, I'm happy to say she only has one treatment left, and after surgery next month, we can start the new year healthy and start to regrow!
All this reminds me how important real life, human connection really is. The moments offline that you capture with your memory, not your phone - staying by your mother's side when she doesn't ask; just "being there" so your father doesn't get overwhelmed and can take care of himself; holding your husbands hand on an ordinary Saturday morning while running errands. These are the moments that matter long term.
What also matters for me, long term, is being kind to myself. I vow this to myself every year, but this year, that means looking after little Robin, and older Robin.
Little Robin wanted to be great. She wanted to be heard, but was too shy and insecure to speak. I have control over this now, so I need to stop waiting for things to come to me and start putting my hopes and dreams into action. Not making plans to do so, but just doing it. My goal with this is to build something that I'm extremely passionate about, that revolves around helping other women. I've always put others before me, but this idea has a deeper meaning that puts us both ahead.
Older Robin needs security. Last weekend I heard Sallie Krawcheck speak at the Girlboss Rally in NYC. She shared a clear plan for financial security - put 50% towards needs (rent/mortgage, food, utilities), 30% for fun (pretty generous!), and 20% for your future. Outside of my 401K which I have had at 14% for a bit, I have NOT been taking care of Iris (my old lady spirit, you likely can figure out who this is an ode to), and I need to start doing so now.
So, this is me. Starting my 36th year into my life. With purpose.