2013: Do the Work and Whip it Out

When the new year began I didn't want to make any goals or resolutions for this year. I fully felt the lack of control I have over my life and my only goal was wanting to embrace each day and live it all to the fullest. I still want that, but as 2013 has swept in upon me I also find myself suddenly filled with excitement and, yes, even goals.

Already this year Bryan and I have been blessed with two dates where we've been able to talk through some of our hopes for this year.

As we talked a theme of sorts started to form. Basically we both want to be using what skills and talents we have more in the public sphere - not for recognition, but for contribution. We both, in our own ways what to be contributing more outside of just our family circle (and for Bryan, outside of his current work circle).

We want to build an app for Sage and for other special needs children like her. I want to finish and edit my book and perhaps even work at getting it published. I also want to see about submitting some articles to various publications and work more actively on developing myself as a writer. Bryan wants to contribute more to open source projects and become a more active member of the programming community. When it comes down to it we both just want to get out there more. So we jokingly came up with this theme for the year:

Whip it out!

It started as a little joke and innuendo, but it has truly become our little slogan for 2013. It fits really well with what we want to be doing this year. We want to whip out our skills and talents and contribute to the communities we want to be involved in. We want to put ourselves out there more. We want to risk again.

We had so much external risk and uncertainty put on us last year, that we just sort of holed up (an easy thing to do anyway in the cold, wet and anti-social northwest). Well, we don't want to be about that anymore, we want to whip it out. Whip out ourselves - who we really are and what we really have to offer to our small corner of the world.

For me there has also been a secondary theme, or a second side of this. I want my focus to turn more external, I want to contribute to the larger world, but I also have two kids to raise and care for, and a home life to mantain and balance. So, my whip it out theme has taken on a slightly different look in my home life. At home it looks like this:

Do the work.

Whipping it out, bringing myself to the world, starts by me doing the work that's in front of me at home first. It starts by me doing the dishes, making the bed, and putting in time with the kids. I can not contribute to the world without contributing to my home and family. The work that has been first and foremost set before me is the work of home and family and I need to do the work before I can whip it out.

Do the work has become my mantra towards self discipline, but it is not a modernist attempt at pulling myself up by my boot straps. I love and can't stop thinking about this post that my beautiful friend Vina wrote recently and I think it makes some amazing points on this topic. For me "Do the Work" isn't a cold command, it isn't an attempt to force myself to push through instead of listening to my inner voice. Instead, it's a gentle reminder. It's a reminder to do the work set before me that day, whatever that work may be and wherever that work may intuitively lead. It's a reminder that I don't need to do it all, I just need to do this work, the work that's mine for this day.

For me, "Whip it Out" is also not a cold command. It is a fun nod to dance and music and rhythm and, yes, sensuality. It reminds me to not hide. It reminds me to put myself out there. To try. To move and dance and exert my power.

It reminds me to write even when I don't initially think I have anything to say. Whip it out. To send out manuscripts even when the fear of rejection pounds heavy in my head. Whip it out. To post and comment and share even when I don't think anyone is listening or anyone will care. Whip it out. The whisper still comes, "Do the work and Whip it out."

Ok, 2013 I hear you. I'm listening.

What about you? Do you have a word or theme for this year? I'd love to hear about it.


Rejoicing in the journey,

Bethany Stedman