It’s hard to commit to new initiatives in December. I’ve had a few false starts in attempts to start something before the January resolutions. 2017 is a big year for me. For someone as obsessed with numbers as myself, having a year with every lucky number you have is a big deal. My birthday is February 17, thus the 217. When I see that number out in the universe, I take it as a direct sign. Magical thinking at it’s best. But if there was ever a way to communicate with myself from the future, that’s a guaranteed direct line to my attention.

My focus isn’t so much on my exact birthday next year – 2/17/2017 – as compared to the whole year itself. I want big things. So much so, that I want to start on these items early. But I’ve decided that I should probably try to take a chill pill for most of December. I did pull the trigger on my #217quest though six days ago, which is a multi-level challenge to bring greater happiness to my life in 2017.

Level one is a photo a day on Instagram of something that brought happiness to my day. I think this will be all I fully take on through the rest of the year. Level 2 will be to incorporate more creative writing into my daily life, perhaps one hour a day with the option to do more if I’m on a roll. This will help me accomplish my next feature-length script, plus another revision of Electric Bleau. Both are very important goals to me. I’d like to start this before the end of the year after easing into it.

There are two remaining levels: Level 3 will be health focused – bringing exercise back into my life and also healthy eating habits. Level 4 is financial security. This could happen at any point in the 217 Quest. I want 2017 to be a profitable year in my creative pursuits, and with that I want to eradicate debt while forming a nest egg.

Looking at all of these goals at once is a little overwhelming, but as a step-by-step process it’s not so bad. I started an online private journal on Penzu a few weeks ago to help keep myself in line with these desires.

I’d like to go through 2017 a little more financially secure, on track with career goals, all while appreciating my body and savoring good health. I also want to recognize all that is already wonderful in my life by having a daily Instagram moment of reflection.

2016 was a mixed bag. In my personal and professional life, things were more than great. James and I went on so many trips and celebrated big accomplishments. We bought a bus to start an RV conversion that we plan to finish early next year. We got to go to the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase with TWO projects. Seeds were planted for some of our biggest career projects hopefully to come in the next year. There were sad moments too – the loss of a beloved cat that was like a best friend, the election, and general overwhelm when things were just too much (which was more often than I’d like). Overall though, it was a lovely 365 days and I’m grateful for them.

I may not write again in 2016. I want a short to-do list as I focus on myself for the rest of the year. But, you’ll be hearing a lot from me in 2017… that’s a guarantee. Sometimes a little hibernation is required before jumping in with all that you have.

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Furenza is majestic.

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Sometimes a girl’s night is all you need, and a badass view of the city.

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Cilantro adventures around the city.

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Dorito and daddy time.

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How is this dog so cute?

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My nephew Owen’s 3rd birthday.

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Cilantro on a chilly walk in Atlanta.

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The Highlands with my parents.

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Scaly Mountain.

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Atlanta Film Fatales Chapter.

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A row to represent each year of our lives together.

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Teacakes! Photo by my mom @jamiejean916 on Instagram.

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Photo by Josh Self of the Ellis Christmas Party (mom’s side)