A New Adventure

20140320-152120.jpg

Today marks the start of the next life adventure. I am excited to announce that…

I’m returning to the world of the unemployed! Apologies to those who were hoping for another kind of announcement. Nope, still no babies yet!

After much discussion and deliberation, my current employer and I decided to go our separate ways. When I started with my current company over two years ago, Nick and I were in a very different place financially and I really needed a full time job to set us up for financial freedom. It was a definite blessing that the opportunity came when it did, and enabled us to meet many of our goals, including becoming debt free!

However, for months now I’ve been wavering between experiencing total fear and utter relief about considering what is next. I am an ENFP to the core, for better or for worse, and some time ago I began to feel that in the 9-5 portion of my day, I was functioning as a different version of myself. Most days I was operating out of my secondary, survival administrative skill set rather than the creative one that energizes me.

I was already fighting this internal battle before heading to Uganda with Bob Goff and Restore International, but coming back home from Uganda after seeing so many gifted people using their skills to make tangible change in others’ lives, I couldn’t shake the conviction that I wanted to be living a different kind of day to day.

I’m sure some of you have wondered if I am ok considering how much I’ve seemed to fall off the face of the earth since I returned from Africa in November! I’ve been busy soul searching, fervently reexamining my priorities and determining how to live a life more in line with my strengths and values.

So what’s next? I don’t entirely know. I’ll be spending my “free” time in a structured way (shoutout to my life coach for introducing me to the idea of budgeting my time!), split between writing on a more regular basis (yay!), hunting for the right full time opportunity that utilizes my strengths and allows me to embrace my passions, as well as finding a healthier balance in my personal relationships and home front.

Here’s to the scary, unknown, but exhilarating new chapter in the life of the Lenzis. Bring it on!

(Please forgive the simplicity of this post and lack of links, I’m writing from the road!)

Resolution: Embrace Failure

In case you haven’t heard me say it before, I’m an ENFP. I love new beginnings and projects, and will take any opportunity to embrace them: A new year? A new age? A new city? A new apartment? A new stage in life? A new job? WOO HOO! The problem is that I’m terrible at practicing discipline and following these things through to completion. After the initial excitement has worn off, I am easily pulled down by the every day demands and stresses of life. I choose to give up rather than follow through. Once I start failing at a goal, I usually lack the courage to pick myself up and try again. I am too easily discouraged.

I both love and hate making resolutions. Every year I know I will love making them and hate myself when I break them. The reality is, I need to practice more discipline this year. This is where I thank God again for my plans and systems oriented ESTJ husband. One of the things that has really started to sink in is that in 2012, I am turning 27, and I don’t want to look back at the end of this year and see that I’ve only made inches of progress. For one thing, my obnoxious biological clock is in fact ticking. There are a lot of things I want to do before I enter that next huge stage of my life. And if I can’t live the life I want to live now, how am I ever going to be disciplined enough to do those things when I have kids to take care of? I don’t want to be that kind of example for my future kids either – that mom who is so busy just trying to get through each day that she ends up slowly losing herself along the way.

So this year’s resolutions will be a little more practical and detailed. They are baby steps (NO puns intended). So here we go…

1. Write more. While I would love to say I am going to write every day, I know that probably isn’t realistic given my blogging track record shows a whopping twelve posts in 2011. So I’m starting out with the simple goal to write four times a week, and blog two times a week. If what I write isn’t “blog-worthy,” every time, that’s ok, because practicing and the act of creating itself is important in getting where I want to be. I am a perfectionist by nature, and perfectionism is a vicious enemy of success. I was encouraged by other creatives, through a variety of mediums, to let myself fail this year. If you struggle with this too, I highly recommend Jon Acuff’s book Quitter and Ira Glass’s thoughts on the creative process. As corny as it sounds, keeping a collection of motivational typographic posters has been also been fantastic reminder for me to press on. I have bigger goals too, of pitching to magazines and getting published this year, but I know I need to start small first. Even if I can manage 2 posts a week, that will be 104 for the year, and 92 more than last year!

2. Become more active. This currently translates into: start working out again at least 2 times per week. I don’t know if it was the cupcakes, BC hormones, or marriage or a combination of all three, but somehow I managed to pack on about 15 lbs. since I first moved to NJ in July of 2010! I’m back up to my “freshman 15” weight and not fitting into my skinny jeans is annoying. While buying a new wardrobe sounds fantastic, it’s not as much fun two sizes too big, and would also have an adverse affect on my financial goals… which leads me to goal number three.

3. Reach our next financial goals. Specifically, save 3-6 months of expenses to start our emergency fund, and then put dedicated effort towards eliminating college debt. Nick and I spent all of 2011 choosing to be “broke” (aka sacrificing a lot of our former single life indulgences) and attacking the credit card debt we incurred during our wedding planning and unexpected significant expenses the first four months after marriage. It looks like by the end of this month we will have finally knocked it out.

4. See new cities. Nick and I spend many of our date nights talking about where we want to visit next. Charleston, SC keeps coming to the top of that list, so we hope to check that city off in 2012. If we rent a car, we can spend some quality time with my Daddy Will’s side of the family in Greenville and kill two birds with one stone! Nick also has a cousin getting married in the California wine country next summer, so we’re hoping to be able to extend that trip and turn it into a full-blown adventure.

5. Remain baby-free. We’ve almost gotten through a year of marriage, so I might finally be less anxious about this one, but it would still be preferable. This would also aid in achieving our financial goals much faster! I’m still a little worried that whatever they put in the Hoboken water might be contagious 😉

There are plenty more goals floating around in my head for 2012, but this is where I’m starting. Now this is where you, dear reader, come in. Especially when it comes to goal #1. I want you all to keep me accountable to these things I’ve mentioned. If I haven’t blogged in a while, call me on it. Let me know which posts inspired you and your honest feedback. What topic could you see becoming a magazine article? What was our last conversation topic that should be delved into deeper? I know this year will include failure – probably a lot of it. But that’s ok, the point is not to reach 2013 having done these things perfectly. I want to be stretched this year – better and stronger than when I began – and I’m grateful you’re coming along on with me on the journey.