Welcome to a shiny new decade, rife with possibilities! And welcome to RFM’s annual health and wellness double issue, packed with inspiration for the new year.
This time of year is packed with advice, it seems. Giving it. Receiving it. Searching for it. Looking for words of wisdom to help us achieve our New Year’s resolutions.
I find that it helps to remind ourselves that one size doesn’t fit all, and what’s right for one person might not be the answer for another. Some of the best decisions I’ve made have gone against very sound advice I’ve received from friends, family, and colleagues over the years. I was told by one of the most respected business people in Richmond not to start a print magazine back in the spring of 2009, but my gut told me it was the right thing for me to do, and here we are, ten years later, still going strong, and I can’t imagine having any other career. I was also told that our readers wouldn’t pay to have a free magazine delivered to their homes, but wouldn’t you know, you are doing just that! (It is much easier than remembering to grab it when you get your morning coffee from Wawa, isn’t it?!)
The most recent advice I ignored came from just about every person I know, and I think of it every time I look at our lives at the start of this year versus last. So much has changed with the addition of a little one in the household. The boys’ baby brother came at just the right time for all of us, transforming our ho-hum, just-trying-to-get-through-the-middle-school-years existence into one filled with so much action and excitement once again. What was before a neat and tidy living room carpet is now littered with toys of all shapes and sizes. Our backyard is filled with balls of every kind, just like it was years ago. The most precious ornaments were hung higher on the tree this time, out of the ever-curious little guy’s reach, and we all fought over who was going to get to hang the “My first Christmas” ornament for him that had the cutest baby picture in it so we wouldn’t forget how tiny he was when we first brought him home four short months ago.
Watching the boys play with little Charlie, rolling around on the floor and teaching him things that will be life skills as he grows up under their watchful eye has been such a joy. Of course there have been the less fun parts of doing it all over again, too – the waking up in the middle of the night, the teething issues, the occasional upset tummy, complete with puke on the carpet to clean up. But even the bad parts somehow seem sweeter this time around, I think, as I look up at the millions of stars that are so much brighter when we are outside together at two in the morning. I never would have pictured myself taking a walk in the rain and actually enjoying it, and I never thought I’d be writing this note with a six-month old sleeping in my lap, but here we are, ushering in the new year together.
Had I followed the advice of so many well-intentioned friends and family members who told me in no uncertain terms not to get a puppy (yes, a puppy!), we would have missed out on all of the joy these last months have brought us. I know they were just trying to be helpful, knowing that many puppies can be a huge handful (and knowing that I have a low threshold for messes and losing sleep), but I felt that having the experience of getting a puppy was the right thing for our family at this time, so I went with my gut and ignored their words of wisdom. The puppy thing isn’t for everyone, and it only works for us because of advice I did follow ten years ago, when our favorite local grocer, none other than Tom Leonard himself, advised me to keep the company’s expenses and overhead as low as possible during start-up, which helped me make the smart decision to work from home and forgo renting office space. This flexibility has made it possible for me to be home with our new little buddy during the day much more than if I were in an office, so thanks to Tom for that!
As you set your goals for 2020, listen to the advice of others, but don’t be afraid to go a different way – you know yourself and your family best!