2017 in review: Seeking joy


In August, I bookmarked a quote from Danielle LaPorte: “Joy does not come from a checklist.” That sentiment just about sums up the theme of my 2017.

I am a checklist person, of course: an Upholder, a planner, a list junkie. I started off 2017 in that spirit, with New Year’s resolutions for each quarter: keep a gratitude journal and read one book a week in Q1; meditate and write a weekly blog post in Q2; get out in nature on the weekends and join a writing group in Q3; and journal my struggles and pitch a freelance article in Q4.



Getting out in nature

But my hyper-organization led me to someplace unexpected: to the realization that I want more joy in my life; less anxiety and pressure, more positive motivation; less should, more must (to quote a book a friend recommended). And I’m still just beginning that transition. 


This year, I reconnected with my love of Paris, thanks to my resolution to read a book a week. After I came across a Paris memoir in my local bookstore, I jumped down the rabbit hole of books on Paris history, culture, and language. I relaxed my book-a-week goal and ended up the year with a respectable count of 32. 

In fact, I got so excited about Paris that I took a two-week trip there, my first in four years. I spent the time walking all over the city, eating pastries, and feeling ridiculously giddy (not a habitual feeling of mine) because that’s just what Paris does to me.



After a year of waiting, we finally welcomed a new feline member into our family. I now know the absolute bliss of having your very own cat purring on your lap, nuzzling your face with her nose, and jumping onto your shoulders to get a better view of her private kingdom.

My workaholism and constant desire to get things done has had to cede priority to being the lap for a sleeping kitty, trapped on the couch with (as the meditation gurus say) nowhere to go and nothing to do, except to enjoy the moment (and maybe take a nap myself).



It might seem strange to talk about joy in the context of a diet that prohibits all forms of grains, dairy, sweets, and alcohol. But for me, the Whole30 (a month-long elimination diet) was a way of reconnecting with how food makes me feel, what my body actually wants, and what treats I eat out of craving or habit. After you finish, the goal is not to continue following strict rules but to basically eat anything, as long as it’s worth it to you in that moment, for your mind and body (harder than it sounds for a rule-lover like me).

Whole30 meals

Four months after I bookmarked Danielle LaPorte’s quote, I’m now working my way through her book The Desire Map, a roadmap for discovering the core feelings you want to feel in life and setting your goals based on that. I don’t think I’ll ever ditch the checklists, but they may start to look a little different in 2018.

Happy New Year,



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