2018: A year with no resolutions and some unexpected outcomes

posted on: Thursday, 3 January 2019

For so many years, I would spend New Year's Day making lists, long, long lists. There's was nothing new or original about any of the entries. Lose weight, fall in love and discover my true calling in this world, were always somewhere in the top three. Easy, right? Only as of 2017, after about 20 years of making the same resolutions, nothing had changed. Not a one. I was still unhappy in my body, miserable in the arena of love and about as lost as you could be in discovering my true happiness in employment. So, for 2018, I threw the idea of a list away. I made no resolutions, not a one. Instead, I simply woke up on New Year's Day and said "universe, I'm yours, do what's meant to be done and I'm hear to listen and act." True statement. I looked in the mirror and simply agreed to show up daily with an open mind for whatever might cross my path. I made a contract, in the bathroom that day, with myself, for 365 days. 

Let me be clear here. I wasn't relinquishing control to anyone. I was looking into my own two eyes in the mirror and declaring an intention to listen to the world around me and trust my own best judgement. And I swear to you, I was never more excited about what a New Year could bring after that moment. I knew there were a lot of changes that were going to happen and a great many that would scare me half to death. I knew I would have to be single again. I knew I was going to have to confront some pretty hard questions about what I was doing in the world with my work and, more than anything, I knew I was going to have to finally make a decision about where I belonged, physically, in this world. 

So here's what didn't happen in 2018. I didn't fall in love and get married. Bummer. I didn't lose fifty pounds and become an international supermodel. I mean let's be honest-that wasn't going to happen with any list. I also didn't set up a clothing label or an amazing charity that would change the world. So, my top three resolutions, that never actually come true in any year, didn't happen as usual. Not writing a list wasn't a magic solution. 

But, here's what did happen. I invested time in female friendships that have changed me more than I could have ever possibly predicted. I, for lack of a better turn of phrase, found my tribe. In doing so, I truly discovered that my home in this world is in London. My heart's home will always be on the island in South Carolina, but the people that inspire, challenge and make me laugh on a daily basis are all here in London. So London, after 16 years, I am finally calling you home. If you've been reading FFG for the past ten years, you'll know this has been one of my biggest dilemmas.... America vs. UK... where to call my forever home. Well, 2018 gave me an answer without me ever asking for it. That happened. 

So, I had the amazing girl network sorted and my home defined. And funnily enough, defining a home space for myself felt like lifting 100 pounds off of my body. In the end, I did get the weight loss. I lost the incredible burden of having to make a choice. That means not making the list actually did work!!!! Maybe we're onto something here.

When it came to love and marriage, well, it was a whirlwind. I dated A LOT in 2018, like it was a mission. I said yes to nearly every offer. Don't get too excited. I wasn't getting stopped in the streets or anything. But, I was open about the fact that I was newly single. At dinner parties, social gatherings, summer events, etc, I wasn't afraid to let it be known that I was on the market. I didn't wear a sign saying "single lady." I didn't play a desperation card. I simply said yes when asked for a drink, dinner or a meeting masked as a date - yes, that did happen. And with every single date I had, I learned more about myself. I dated people I would have never ever entertained in the past. I abandoned the check list. It had never worked before. Clearly my dream man wasn't my dream man at all. Every single thing my "future husband checklist" had on it led me to date men that were all shades of wrong for me. 

I had a bad habit of dating men that I saw potential in. All too often I saw more potential then they did. I saw what they could be, not what they were. Realising that was groundbreaking. Stop looking for projects, ladies. That's the best advice I can give you after 20 years of dating men that weren't meant to be in my life forever. Date men that are the finished article right here and right now, for you. If nothing changed with them, from this moment, would you still want to be with them forever? That's my checklist and the only checklist. And well, that's all I'm letting you in on when it comes to the love life. How it has developed further, I'd like to keep my own for right now. But, I did feel compelled to share that if you let the universe do as it will, it has the potential to show you something that could truly make you happy. Fingers crossed on this one. 

Last, but certainly not least, let's get back to that "what do I do with my life" resolution. What did the universe do to answer that question for me? Well, not much. I'll be honest. It tried. My God, did it try.  I got a book offer. Yup, I wrote the first four chapters of a book in the start of 2018.  I never told you that, did I? I thought to myself, "yes, this is what I want.... to write an incredible book to share with everyone." But, it wasn't meant to be, for reasons I'm not legally allowed to discuss. The universe also made sure that, after becoming officially single, my calendar was so overflowing with travel that I barely had a moment to think about the fact that my house was empty. I was never there. I was out and about around the globe doing what I love most.... sharing experiences and indulging my geeky photographer side. Travel picked up epically on FFG. I was gone so much that I nearly had to declare a new tax bracket. 

In my many travels, I met countless UK journalists and debated the various ways in which the digital world was/is altering the way we process information about everything from food to travel. It got me thinking about what could be next, what should be next and how I might be able to move in the direction with the massive wave that is "the online arena." There were a few times I considered completely rebranding FFG. I thought about starting a Youtube channel, a podcast, or  even opening a store in London. I have journals as thick as my thighs filled with ideas. Not one of them was anything having to do with Fashion Foie Gras. Not a one. I wanted something new. I didn't want to alter the old. 

Then, this morning, on the way into town to sit down and write, I said to a friend, out of the blue, "you know this is a special year for FFG. It's the tenth year anniversary." Yup, it's ten years, my lovelies. And I swear my heart swelled. I had forgotten this was a landmark year. This is a celebration year. For ten years I have written daily on this crazy little site, that has given me more than I could have ever anticipated in my wildest dreams. And in that moment, I had a realisation. The universe gave me a glimpse of what 2019 would be, and a lot of it is coming back to a celebration of what has been. 

Hot damn, you guys.... it did work. Not making a list gave me absolutely everything I wanted. I lost the weight (in a matter of speaking), I found love and I was given a direction in life. This shit actually works. STOP MAKING DREAM LISTS. Just live. The universe will take care of the rest....

And I'll leave you with that and the excitement that I want to do something great with FFG to celebrate ten years in existence. Watch this space. 2019 is going to be a banner year.... for us all!

Lots of Love,

Emily