New year…new outlook

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Anza - Borrego Desert State Park - San Diego - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

It’s weird.

These two months of the year often bring about reflections and resolutions. Everywhere you look people are trying to add exercise into their routine, get out of debt, eat healthy, clean up their acts and find new direction for the year ahead. Is this part of your New Year’s regimen?

The first week of 2016 has seen bucketing rain in San Diego. We’ve been here for a smidgeon over a year and it’s the most rain I’ve seen since we arrived. I forgot what that weather was like. We’ve had cloudy skies, thunder, and even a tornado warning – seems El Nino is rearing his head in the south west as well as other parts of the world. I guess we do need the rain but as always, I’m hopeful for the sunshine. What’s your weather been like this week?

Border Field State Park - San Diego - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

Our time in (mostly) sunny San Diego has been wonderful. Reaffirming our desire to live a year ’round outdoor lifestyle, I have loved being able to be outside most weeks of the year. Punctuated with freelance event and writing work, 2015 was certainly different than working in a Long Island classroom. There have been times I yearn to make that difference again, but the restrictions placed on teachers these days damper my drive to get back in a traditional classroom. Now, I look to other ways to make a difference (whether in the educational sphere or otherwise). Jumping into freelance work has been great. The pros: work when you want, finish a project and move onto the next and continue to learn in each new opportunity. The cons: irregular payments, continued hustle and people who expect work for free. This has been a learning experience to say the least.

As we march into 2016 wearing a mixture of flip flops and Uggs, I’m excited about new prospects, new projects and new perspectives. Decisions and adventures, choices and opportunities, developments and new approaches to all things fun, exciting and life are underway. Maybe it means more time outside or on a yoga mat. Maybe it means more interesting work or exploring new spaces. Maybe it means more time with friends or taking the chance to look inward. Maybe it means waking up with a smile being happy you get to breathe the air today.

Cape Llewyn, Western Australia - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

A friend of mine recently struggled with a decision. She could stay in a city she recently moved to in which she happily enjoys living, or take a risk and head to an exotic location with an exciting job prospect and a chance at expat life. As I shared with her the plot of If/Then (Idina Menzel’s Broadway musical), she wished (as I did almost exactly a year ago) that she could see the results of taking either path – THAT, she thought, would make her decision easier. To jump or not to jump – to stay or not to stay, which would bring her greater happiness in this moment? Even with all the possible scenarios and analysis, in the end, there’s no right or wrong decision – only the one you choose today.

Unless you’re a fan of Harry Potter’s divination or have some crystal ball we don’t know about – no one really knows what the future holds. All we can do is treat each day as a gift and do our best to find joy in every moment (even if we’re unsure of our decisions). My dad treats each day as a bonus day and looks for ways to be happy in each 24 hour period. He does his best to shrug off the ‘ick’ in the world and look for the good. For you, I wish a year of bonus days filled with more positivity than negativity, more laughter than anxiety, more joy than sadness, more kindness than animosity and more strength than struggle. In 2016 I hope you find your happy place, your zen, your ‘one thing’ or the ability to pick happiness in a moment of choice. Happy January.

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