lists on lists on lists on lists.

I’m the type of person that always has a list. I am anxious, an over-thinker, a nail-biter, so for me, a list is a tangible way for me to organize my stream of thoughts and make it accessible. It feels good to cross things off the list, especially since these lists are usually made up of things that are your day-to-day run of the mill types of tasks such as “taking out the trash” (we have forgotten three weeks in a row and our recycling bin is taking over our kitchen) or fun things like “make New Years Eve crowns out of metallic silver pipe cleaners.” The things on these lists are not important. My life will not be negatively impacted if I don’t complete the tasks highlighted. I can crumple up the list and throw it away if I want. Nobody will notice if these things don’t get done simply because they do not matter.

However, once the holiday buzz is over and people start evaluating their lives in the past year and for the upcoming year, these lists turn into Lists with a capital L. Suddenly these goals have weight. In the past, I have made bucket lists, illustrating thirty things I want to do before I turn thirty. I have set goals and resolutions, much like the rest of us, touching upon weight loss, financial success, my career (if you could call it that), and my activity level (turns out couching is not a sport.)  When faced with analyzing, over-thinking, and judging the quality and quantity of the past year, as well as planning the year ahead of me, my anxiety is the only spark that is ignited. To me, reflecting on goals is not inspiring, it is just a reminder that I am not where I want to be. Yet.

After looking over many years of past resolutions, goals, and challenges, it is hard not to feel like a failure. I am still overweight, I still make less than $30k a year, I still don’t feel like my talents, skills, or college degree are being used to their full extent. Talk about crippling blow to the self-esteem. ~*Welcome to 2014! You are nowhere near where you thought you would be a year ago! *~

But the thing about it is, even if I didn’t accomplish the Things (with a capital T) on my lofty Lists that are always penned on or around January 1st, I accomplished things. I got out of bed every day. I made delicious dinners for my boyfriend, even if I left the dishes in the sink for longer than anyone should. I took on new challenges in my job that will look good on my resume, and hopefully land me a job that will someday pay the bills more efficiently. But the point is, I am paying my bills. I am living my life. I did enough. I am enough.

This year, I decided not to set any resolutions. I did not make a List. For me, the day-to-day struggle to find meaning in this world is enough. While there are lots of things I would love to do, for me, writing an exhausting list of creatively-worded goals to inspire me doesn’t work. Motivation is tricky to find on the hardest of days (such as in the middle of this crippling cold snowstorm that is hovering over New England), and sometimes it is more effective to make the little lists, with the lower-case L.

Today my list includes taking a shower, making my bed, and facing the 6 degree wall of cold outside of my door to clean off my car. Who knows what will happen next. But you know what? Even if nothing else does, I will have accomplished some things. I am enough.

So this is the new year…

Whenever the clock strikes midnight and drunken voices start to sing Auld Lang Syne, I think of that Death Cab song and how even though we are given the chance to start over, I don’t feel any different. Sure I might have all of these lofty goals I would like to complete come 2015, but are they really possible? Well, much like last year, I it started off being sick. I’m a smoker and when you combine cigarettes with eating whatever the hell you want and little to no exercise, you’re basically begging your body to get sick. I think if this year had begun on a healthy note, I wouldn’t have truly realized that I need to change things. So that was it. Before the clock even struck midnight, I was done. I had smoked and stomped out my last cigarette on December 31, 2013. Two days later and I’m still going strong. I’m hoping it’s more than the flu that is keeping me from puffing away, but suffice to say, I really think I can do it this year. If not for my health, at least so I can skate for derby, and finally pass assessments, which is another goal of mine for the year. But if I can honestly quit smoking and quit calling myself a smoker, even if that’s the only goal I achieve this year, I’ll consider it a very successful 365 days.

I have tons of other goals as well. Here’s my list!

1. Quit smoking
2. Get published
3. Pass derby assessments
4. Make You Are Remarkable even better
5. Write every single day
6. Create and craft
7. Inspire and love those around me
8. Dye my hair crazy colors and grow it even longer
9. Travel (Portland, Hawaii, Seattle)
10.Organize my home and my life

What are your goals and resolutions for 2014?
Share them below!
-Stacey Renberg


I’m not one for resolutions. When we back ourselves into a corner with a binary win or lose, succeed or fail, endure or quit then we set ourselves up for unnecessary pressure and unattainable goals. Life is not black or white, no matter how much we’d like it to be. It is an infinite mix of colors and subtle shades that are seen differently by each and every participant or observer. It’s messy and beautiful. So I will make no resolutions this day. I will make no definite unyielding commitments. I will be kinder to myself than that… And more understanding. And more realistic. And wiser.
But what we all can, and should do is try. Every day we have the ability to see who we have been – to reflect on our decisions, good or bad. To think about how we were when we were at our best… And then we can choose to take this new day that has arrived and spend it trying to be even better.
We won’t always accomplish that objective. But I bet if we put our minds to it, we will happily surprise and amaze ourselves more often than not. More importantly, a quiet and subtle change will happen. A change like the seasons. We won’t see a difference between one day and the next, but one day we’ll find ourselves in the middle of a warm summer of happiness, and we’ll marvel at the contrast between this and our cold and nearly forgotten winter. Each little try was a tiny step of growth that will have brought us there.


2014 is the year I finally kill the word “hipster.” I will put it in a boat filled with Thrasher Magazines, push it softly out to sea, and set it on fire. It will burn then burn out. And its sinking will not fix our vision or help us stay warm in the winter, but we will be relieved.

I will wear a watch, at some point, every day this year. I will wear a watch on weekend trips to see my cousins, my old roommates, the wives of cousins and old roommates, and various other important people. I may not go too far, but no matter where I find myself, the time will always be close by.

Here’s to conquering intimidating things, like cooking with Phyllo dough and teaching my dog to speak- things I never thought adult me could even think. The unexpected intimidating things, the surgery I didn’t plan for in the middle of my week or the insurance claim I have to fight for throughout five months at least. Let the little things prepare me and keep me even and complete.

Love worth finding and keeping has nothing to do with money, because sometimes we forget that the happiest we ever were was when we didn’t have a cent. We were behind the shield of  superheroes, and now we’re forced to take that step, but it never matters how much we earn until we have courage enough to help. Let all we do this year help a generation behind us with the example that we set– An example that was never about degrees and zip codes, but about being afraid, then pushing ourselves again.

2014 starts with a full cube on my desk. I never flip the days forward, scared for what I’ll miss. I am thankful for the privilege of peeling off the dates, keeping that in mind when I’m anxious to rip away whole weeks. Living is a slow and deliberate thing, full of chutes and full of ladders and my hope is for me and all my friends to figure out how to live forever. Forever in one year full of baking classes, grain-free dog food, and new words for kids with glasses.


sense of time.

Two thousand and fourteen started with fireworks on a balcony in Stockholm, holding hands with people I met three hours before, and boy – if I could tell you how much love was pounding through our fingertips. New Year’s Eve reminded me that love doesn’t require knowing one another. You can share kindness with new and familiar faces alike, and if I have one resolution this year it is to hold hands with strangers more often. We were all drunk on champagne and the promise of a new beginning. Doesn’t that make us wonderfully human? Doesn’t falling asleep on an inflatable mattress with your boyfriend on one side and a girl with the softest skin on the other make us all incredibly humble towards one another?

2014 marks a new sense of time. No more counting down seconds, no more time brackets calculated by their potential productivity; this year is all spaced into every heart beat and how they slow down and accelerate, depending on who you’re with. That includes yourself. In Belgium, where I am from, ‘selfie’ was designated as word of the year 2013. If that is no encouragement to indulge in who you are, I don’t know what is. Let’s make each other a promise to all share who we are with one another. It is the most beautiful thing we can offer to the world. You, the girl with lonely hands and you, the boy with acne on his back, and you, the parent, and you, the friend – I want to know all of you. I am coming for you. Arms outstretched, heart bared, if there are no fireworks in the night then fucking hell, we’ll blow up the sky with our eyes.


a new year can be a fresh start or it can be just another day. some people look forward to 1/1 & see it as a chance to start over. other’s feel as though waiting 365 days to start over is silly & that there shouldn’t be a specific date to choose to change. i have fallen into both these groups but this year i’ve chosen a fresh start.

for me 2013 was stale. it just was. 2013 was a year of readjusting & of getting settled. it was a year of turning down invites and choosing to sit for endless hours on the couch passively glued to Netflix. i spent the majority of 2013 feeling discontent but also feeling too lost in this to put the effort into making the year memorable-to make it count.

2013 came.
2013 went.

life happens so quickly, you blink & you have missed a year. i don’t want to miss another year. there is a margaret atwood quote that i fell upon as 2013 was coming to an end which captured my feelings toward 2013/2014 perfectly.

“last year i abstained
this year I devour
without guilt
which is also an art.”

in 2014 i will make an effort to force myself off of the couch and out of my comfort zone. i will reconnect with old friends who i find myself missing. i won’t turn down (as many) invitations, even when i’m feeling too tired to go out. this year i will be more selfish, more hedonistic. i will focus on chasing the things that make my life feel light. i will pursue my interests instead of just re-pinning them. i will drink more water and read more books. this year i will pilot my life.

this year i will live.
this year i will devour.