Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Taking Aim for 2018

Women's March 2018
The big world is different and my little world is different. Some of the differences are related, plenty are not.

I basically abandoned the Photo Challenges. Sorry. Though, let me elaborate, I'm not so much sorry it's over as wish I had made the final curtain come down more gracefully.

Let's talk about 2017.

My dog training business is going really well! Remarkably well. Better than I thought I had any right to expect in the first full year of being boots on the ground with it. I still have my office job 3 days a week with check ins on the other 2 business days. Listen To Your Mother NYC took its final bow in 2017. I found a program I loved volunteering in and devoted regular time to that. The political climate in the US demanded that all caring people take regular action.

Whereas I used to have a lot of time to ponder and plan and think and write and, frankly, dither 2017 was a year of streamlining and letting go and channeling a shark. Never stop moving, you guys, that's when you drown.

Sidebar: I don't glorify the cult of BUSY. I do, though, see how saying yes whenever a client shows up is a smart way to grow a young business. I have more dues to pay before I can be comfortable enough to turn clients away on the basis of wanting to keep Thursdays free for Must See TV or whatever.

I don't know if you know this but it turns out that dog training involves a lot of writing. I did not know this. Even as I was being taught how to write the things that need to be written I didn't put together just how much writing that meant on a regular basis. In one of my classes I wrote a treatment plan that had all three of my teachers commenting basically, "Dude, that's too much detail." and I still didn't remotely understand where this was headed.

You've got your introductory emails/texts/calls, your scheduling emails, your document distribution, all before you go meet the client. After that you have recap emails (which may or may not include handouts that you wrote) and, in the case of classes, homework emails. Oh, and those classes involve writing syllabi - usually with collaborators - and registration emails and consults with colleagues and scheduling discussions, too. At which point in private sessions or classes you're ready to take questions. Those can come at you at any time of the day or night in emails or texts or voice mails. My phone autocorrects to a remarkable number of scientific terms now.

Anna & Ed after the Post-Thanksgiving Open House
Don't get me wrong, communicating with a lot of clients is a great "problem" to have but it needs to be clear that my rates should be interpreted in light of all the admin work I do as well as the hours I spend in the presence of actual dogs and their people. As an hourly rate those seemingly fancy numbers get much more mundane.

So I let go of some things.

Starting in late January 2017 I decided to keep a nightly "Feelings Journal." Every night (I missed about 5 and made those up the next day) I opened a little notebook and wrote:


along one side of the page. Then I wrote a line about something I'd experienced that day in that category. For Feel I usually wrote more than one line but generally not more than about five.

I finished 365 days of that project Wednesday January 24th. I was glad I did it and glad it was over. I liked how it focused me but didn't feel like continuing it.

Here in 2018 my training is still going well but not so well that I can leave it to rise on its own. My volunteer gig dissolved for reasons that make me sad. Our political climate is making us no safer in the world. I'm sort of, kind of, a little bit getting used to the categories of busy that I need to be and am slowly streamlining my approach to make it all possible without powering that success solely on anxiety.

In the final days of the Feelings Journal I thought often of this blog. I missed it. I'd long held a vague notion that I'd like to write more thoughtful pieces here on a more occasional basis. I tossed around the idea of a once a week entry that I revised and revised a la vintage Tomato Nation posts. I briefly, very briefly, thought of the tiny gems of Smacksy and wondered if I belonged in that realm. I constantly want to be funnier so considered a theme, flexing my funny bone, just to have a goal and to strive to be more like the radiantly hilarious Wendi Aarons.

Somewhere along the line I decided that I can commit to most things about once a month. I can write and mull and revise without pressure if I aim for 12 entries here in 2018. It seemed like nothing when I first thought about it 31 days ago and now, as the end of January draws nigh, it seems like it could be too much. Well, not too much but a lot. My life is filled with a lot these days. I want to find room for this, though.

So I will.


  1. Jules2:26 AM

    So glad to see you back here and looking forward to your posts. That's great about your dog training business - I'm glad it's going well.

  2. Thank you! Glad to be here and grateful some good folks are still reading.

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