A new year is upon us, which means doing away with ineffective practices and identifying new ones that will help achieve goals and self-fulfillment.
As my family and I rehashed our respective years over Christmas Eve dinner a couple of weeks ago, I remember my father’s eyes lighting up when my turn came around.
“You’ve had quite the landmark year,” he remarked. In many ways he was right, and I certainly appreciated the praise and recognition.
The beginning of the year was rough; as some may recall, I lost my best friend to cancer several weeks into the new year. Not long afterwards, I finally gathered the courage to end a toxic relationship. Slowly, things began to look up. I had my website to distract me, and I was proud of the tiny space I’d forged for myself on this boundless internet of ours. I began working full-time in an industry I’ve coveted for years. I learned what people meant when they said “You just know,” and fell deeply, bottomlessly in love.
From that standpoint, 2014 was a landmark year. Still, around October, I began to grow stir-crazy. I’d achieved stability, but what was next? I wanted adventure, to grow, succeed, and watch my efforts blossom tenfold. I’d achieved everything I’d set out to for 2014 and I felt stuck. I hadn’t considered that I might get bored, that as I grew older, years would pass by more quickly, almost instantaneously. I was no longer an irresponsible early 20-something, living month-to-month, but I realized I’d only climbed one rung up the ladder, and was now living year-to-year.
I want to travel the globe. I want to publish books and start a business and leave some small little indent on the world that my descendants can look back on one day and admire. Perhaps for some few, some lucky ones, that happens without planning or care, but from what I’ve seen, success is most-often earned. So, during a 2am epiphany, I attempted to identify the actions necessary to achieve my long-term goals and reach my full potential. I considered the habits of the most successful and fulfilled people I knew and was able to narrow my list down to three steps.
The term invest typically connotes finances, but we also show our commitment to growth through the investment of our energy, time, and other resources. I thought long and hard about what I was investing in, and what that revealed about my priorities and intentions. Was the amount of time I was committing to writing reflective of my goals? And if not, had my goals changed?
I began to look at this website like a plot of land. Sure, it has potential, but without development and a vision, it’s just claimed dirt. I had to invest in my property if I wanted it to grow into something substantial, something that would eventually increase in value.
Unlike the stock market, you’re pretty much guaranteed a return when you invest in yourself. At the very least, you’ll feel better for dedicating time and energy to your passions and desires. Eventually, your assets, whether it’s career placement, relationships, or a savings account, will also profit accordingly.
Any good broker will tell you that investing is as much about sustainability as it is growth. Our energies don’t always deliver the return we’d hope for, and sometimes it’s important to just maintain and hold steady, especially when we’re confident in our path.
This year I realized it’s not enough to simply own a website, not when anyone with $10 and a bank account can own a .com address. Sure, I had created a space to input my thoughts, feelings, and passions, but was I doing enough to maintain it, to keep my audience engaged and active?
When I’m honest, the answer is no. I was again forced to ask myself why, if this website is something I care about, am invested in, I wouldn’t make an effort to keep it thriving? This train of thought led me to identify the third bullet in this list, which, for me, is also the most exciting.
To evolve, however quickly it may happen, is to change, and as we all know, change is inevitable. Though it can be unpredictable, scary, and intimidating, for some reason I’ve always thrilled in it.
As our goals manifest, it’s important that we innovate and evolve, or risk them becoming stale and outdated. Each idea is different and will evolve at its own appropriate pace. As I considered DanielleDorky.com and what did and didn’t work this last year, I realized that for me, change needs to be constant.
My musings led me to realize that although literature and music are my favorite subjects, I bore easily, and the subjects were growing somewhat tiresome to me. I thought that I could innovate my articles, move away from standard reviews and incorporate quirky lists and other features to reignite my interest, but I still found myself most moved by my personal blogs, which tended to be about whichever subject happened to strike me.
As I pondered the future of the blog, I knew that it would have to take an even greater departure from my original content. Literature and music will always be passions of mine, and will no doubt still be very much present, but the root of my fascination is this concept of a “dork,” an outsider, an oddball, someone who doesn’t quite fit.
If dorky is a synonym for weird, I want this blog to be a continuous quest to discover, enjoy, and revel in the oddities around me, whether it be a carnival-themed festival similar to the one thrown by Los Angeles rap collective OFWGKTA late last year, or Bawdy Storytelling, a recurring event where comedians tell candid tales of their most hilarious sexual exploits. I want to conduct interviews with people who intrigue me, people who define success on their own terms, and who may be artists, entrepreneurs, or philanthropists, but my kind of weirdos all the same.
When I began this blog a year ago, I had a lot of ideas about what it needed to be in order to be successful. Although some of them turned out to be misguided, I’ve learned that I’ll have less regrets if I stay true to my own passions. Regardless of where my journey takes me, I plan on continuing to think big picture, plan long term, and hold to my commitment to invest, sustain, and evolve in all that I do.
So with that said, I’ve been envisioning a future for DanielleDorky.com that extends beyond our present year, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers along the way. Stay tuned, big things are in store!