2023 Reflection & 2024 Goals

Reflecting on 2023:

Every year I go into the new year with an intention to work on throughout the year. I find that setting big goals for the entire year isn’t very realistic. Shit happens and life doesn’t look like what you expected it to and the goals fall away and end up feeling so large and heavy that I never really pick them back up.

I set out at the beginning of the year to spend my time contemplating the body and my relationship with my body. I have always had a very strange relationship with my body and food. I don’t think this a foreign concept for most women reading this. We have lived in a society that sees our bodies as commodities. Things to constantly change and decorate to be pleasant to the eye, for the pleasure of others and never for ourselves.

I found that over the years my idea of what I should be doing for my body was fueled by social media and voices outside of me that weren’t in alignment with what I truly wanted. Turns out I just wanted to feel good in my body. And that looks like moving it regularly, intentionally lifting heavy things to help me with balancing the postures I hold while working at my jewelry bench, and stretching so that my muscles are flexible and strong. I would love to always be able to get up off the ground well into my life, so I began to take steps to make that happen. 

Every year I hope that this will be my year. That finally my break will come and I’ll be rich and happy. It’s funny how young Sabina really thought that money was the thing standing in the way of all of her dreams becoming a reality. It turns out that 2023 was a year of heavy grief. 

I started the year out focusing on sobriety. I was completely sober for about 6 months. I found that marijuanna was a tool I used to avoid my life so I took it away to see what would happen. It forced me to face things I was desperately trying to avoid. The final stages of grief in the healing journey I had been heavily steeped into the last few years. 

I grew up in a narcissistic alcoholic household and developed complex trauma as a result. I left my family home knowing there was something more for me out in the world and it involved me having to alchemize a lot of pain and trauma to find myself again. It was very painful and really at the end of it looked like a lot of grief and sadness. I found that in 2023 I was ready to leave the healing behind me. I wanted to begin enjoying the life in front of me rather than feeling trapped by the things that happened to me in the past. 

Through the years and doing EMDR therapy I found myself again, but it took time to do all of the grieving, and to let go of the identity of being traumatized. I honestly didn’t really think that I had a right to grieve because of the priviledges that I had. It wasn’t until my grandmother Joyce passed away in March that I realized that this whole time I was grieving. The sensations in my body were exactly the same and I finally had the words for it. Grief. Something about it was very relieving. Like now that I had identified these feelings I could actually release them.

In April I got married. Which was really awesome. We planned it last minute and the main family members joined us in Vegas to tie the knot. Honestly it’s been great, and I love the life im living with my husband. The challenges of living with a man for the first time since living with my abusive father were real. Even though I know my husband is nothing like my father I found myself regressing back to that inner child place, tiptoeing around, feeling scared to make a mistake. It’s gotten better. 

The other challenge I never expected was how hard it would be emotionally to change my name. My identity and the way it shifts and the way I am not my name but in many ways it is also a part of me. I am grateful to be a Shepard. I am grateful to be a part of this new family, but I cant help but to contemplate how when a woman changes her name her history is lost. I think about the Kennedy’s and how the name is irish and can be led back to a specific clan in Ireland but the woman who make up our bloodline are erased along the way and the whole thing makes me really sad.

2023 looked a lot like diversifying my hobbies as well. The first 6 months of the year was heavy death/change energy. Necessary parts of life that usher in new energy but still heavy and painful nonetheless. In my sober months I picked up crochet and knitting as a way to stay sober at night. I had developed a routine of smoking weed and pissing away my evening watching tiktok every day. I found a lot of joy in making clothing and little objects just for me. My entire professional career I have monetized every creative endeavor I started and for the first time I had no desire to monetize this hobby. 

Through my healing process I found that I couldn’t put my entire identity into one thing, and that was really what I was doing with my jewelry and business. Making it my everything and as a result there was no balance. I had nothing to do at the end of the day that was just for me. So through crochet and knitting I found something to occupy my time that was just for the joy of doing it. That had no purpose other than for myself and I love it a lot. 

I also discovered how fun reading is again. In 2023 I really dove into the universe that Sarah J Maas created through her fantasy novels. I spent three months digesting the Throne Of Glass series and ACOTAR and Crescent City and I discovered how fun it is to read and immerse myself in fantasy worlds. For a while I was hard on myself, believing that it was all escapism, and maybe it was, but months after completing these books I find that I think about them every day. And through this contemplation I have been really considering just how important story is for us as people.

Story and the myths that we live by and the way they structure our lives. I mean think about the stories we live by and the way they shape our lives. The bible is an example that is very prevalent. For a moment put down the need for the stories in the bible to be factual. Think about the impact that these books and stories have had on entire nations and generations of people. Reading the bible daily to try to apply the stories to their real lives. To try to embody the archetypes of Christ and other characters of the bible. 

Personally the bible doesn’t resonate with me so, but these fictional books have had a grip on me in a way that makes me think that we can actually find meaning in the world around us in many different ways. It has me contemplating the stories we digest without thinking about it and the way these stories shape our lives. It makes me think that being super intentional about the stories we consume is important. That we actually have the ability to create our realities by the stories we tell ourselves. And if you want to live your dream life it’s important to tell yourself stories that line up with that dream life. To consume stories about archetypal characters that resonate with who you are trying to be.

So this leads me to think about what I want to bring into 2024 and the goals I have for the next year.

I have always loved the new year for goal setting and intention setting, but as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s hard for me to stick with them through the entire year. So this year I am deciding to set a couple of intentions regarding the theme of the year, but to really set specific goals quarterly. Every 90 days, reflecting on the way I spent my time and what I could create and setting new goals. It feels a lot more accessible and less overwhelming.

So I set some small goals and we shall see how it goes. 

For the overall theme of 2024 I want to focus on matters of the mind and find a way to bridge that body/mind gap. The mind has always felt like this really rigid thing, that the alpha bros use to try to force reality to their will. And maybe it works for them but being neurodivergent myself I don’t find that to really work for me. I want to be able to follow the vibe and flow but within a structure. So the first 90 days is looking like routine building, habits around consistency, and focusing on skill based development.

I am understanding that consistency is really the key to growth in this physical space. Showing up in a small way most days consistently will offer more results than showing up bigger less often. So I plan to develop a few skill based practices to improve my skills and try to establish the habit of doing this every day.

Last year I had the opportunity to learn engraving, so I will practice that every day that I can. I will also be developing a drawing practice again. In my grief I really stopped drawing and I took it for granted. I didn’t realize that it’s a muscle that has to be worked. So when I sit down to engrave I find that I can’t quite get the idea out in the way I know that I can. So by doing one small drawing most days as a devotional act to my creative practice, I will build that muscle up again. I started the day after Christmas and I already feel the way it’s helping me access ideas more easily.

I am interested in becoming more mobile in my hips and back. I sit a lot for the work I do, so doing exercises to counter the postures I sit in for long periods of time will help me prioritize my physical health and hopefully stop the pain I am having in my joints. It’s been about a week and I have noticed a change in my overall well being as a result already. 

I plan on taking myself more seriously with my social media. Actually defining my target client and making content from an empowered place. I have a strategy already written out, and now the work is going to look like consistently showing up to make it a reality. 

So far this is the most challenging part of this process. I still very much feel like I don’t deserve to be seen, but I also know that the more I expose myself to empowered content the more I will become comfortable with it. It’s that biological function where the brain desires comfort and familiarity even if what is familiar is toxic. The brain will see anything unfamiliar as a threat. It’s an ancient survival mechanism that lives in the oldest parts of our brain. And we have the ability to use our will and our minds to override this function. It registers as pain in the mind and body, and this year I will be practicing finding comfort in that uncomfortable edge before expanding my comfort zone. 

I think overall my goal is to find structure so that I can flow within it. I am thinking of a river that has no edges wouldn’t be a river at all. There is a degree of structure that is necessary for our lives to feel supported. And with that support we have more freedom to flow freely without having to fear going too far. The structure is like a checks and balances system for our flow state. 

I have some specific personal and business goals for the next 90 days as well. More $5000+ months, sell our house and move to Colorado, and to start writing more stories. The last one is the most vulnerable and scary for me right now. The idea that I could be a writer who makes novels that people actually read and enjoy and use to craft the narratives of their lives. I’m scared as if I haven't spent the last 3.5 pages of text sharing the inner workings of my mind to strangers on the internet. Like I dont journal every day and create fantasy worlds in my head constantly. The challenge is communicating them clearly and making something that is enjoyable to read. I will be working through this via the artist way. I am participating in the artist's way again in a group setting and will hopefully be breaking down the walls around my fear of sharing my voice and vision through storytelling.

I have lots of ideas for story telling and how it will translate to jewelry and engraving and the world beyond but right now it feels like a mist that I can't quite grasp. 

Over the next 3 months I will be focusing on consistently practicing the skills I would like to develop into something larger. I will be dedicating myself to structure and support so that when it is time to let my creative energy out to play it has a space to flow in. I intend to feel satisfied and grateful for what I have. I intend to make some money and to at the very least pay off some debt. At the most, I thrive and expand my business with tools and more gold offerings. 

Right now it feels a little abstract. I am still having to intentionally think about the daily checklist items I have created to make them a habit. But I know that it’s only 90 days, and if it doesn’t work, I can adjust what I do for the next 90 days.

Here’s to another year in the journey. One filled with joy and gratitude and satisfaction.