A shiny new year awaits, full of potential

What are you going to do with 2023?

Nearly one week in, and how is the new year looking to you?

I think on the 6th of January it's still fine to wish you Happy New Year, as it still feels pretty new to me. Have you managed to write it correctly by hand yet, without the giveaway of the loop of the 3 curving scrappily below the line?

Are you still excited, about everything that a reset or reboot has to offer, to your freelance lifestyle business? Or are you already wondering what happened to all those good intentions and habits you were going to form, questioning whether your clients are still on holiday or just ignoring you, and wishing your immaculate new paper planner wasn't already messed up with all those 3s that don't quite fit on the same line as the rest of the date you wrote...

Take a breath, it's still early.

Your clients (or you) may still be in holiday mode, and/or in 'novid' flu hell (in our house it's definitely both.)

At the same time for me, this time of year is the only moment when things really do pause, and I don't do any work for any other people for a good couple of weeks. When I try to focus on planning and systems, and learning new stuff (in this case, Notion, which I am utterly geeking out on), and those utterly analogue paper planners and calendars.

I even found a fabulous new circular calendar for 2023, which is something I didn't know I was looking for:

Round calendar 2023

For some reason, I have always seen the year something like this in my head, though the colours in this aren't right, and my viewpoint in the mind's eye is more central. Also it's less evenly distributed in my head, I realised as I was blocking in a known travel commitment in April and finding that further round the curve than I pictured it.

Yes, I know this sounds really odd, but this is the closest paper representation I have found to the way my weird brain looks at a year as a whole! So, I confess my bizarre temporal synaesthesia to you all, in case it helps anybody else who finds rows and blocks of dates in a typical calendar format equally unintuitive.

Working in the planning period

While I have not been recording or interviewing or writing for clients over the break, as well as playing with calendars I have been working on Spain stuff, specifically:

Mainly because of big changes in self-employed payments here, and the sudden release of legislation about Spain's long-awaited digital nomad visa, right before Christmas. This is what so many people have been waiting for, especially my fellow Brits, who didn't secure their residency in time before you-know-what.

I have been working on the podcast of course, but I am lucky enough that this is part of my planning and creation process, as I consider themes and influences likely to play a role in my 20223.

We can't predict the future, but we can look at where the world is at now in terms of shifting factors like climate change, geopolitics, and economic changes. We can also look at technical and industrial changes, like the rise of AI, the threats to supply chains, the continued expansion of remote work opportunities...

It would be naive to say that the year ahead looks easy, but I truly believe that location-independent solopreneurship remains the most flexible and resilient way to approach life right now.

For me, it's the only way to make sense of the combination of uncertainty, opportunity, and potential, inherent in that big round wheel of a year we just stepped into.

As independent operators, we get to decide about things like this - what are our intentions, our priorities, our themes? How do we set up our habits and behaviours, to support getting what we want out of this time?

What things do we decide NOT to do?

For me at the end of 2021, deciding to let go of a major client was the best decision I ever made. But it was difficult, at the time, to step away from secure income, and acknowledge a mismatch of expectation and interest. I truly believe that when I did so, it opened up the space for so many good things to happen, including the collaboration with Xolo which led to the podcast attached here, and new directions in content creation for me, which have been so much more interesting and satisfying.

I don't feel the need to throw any big areas of work onto the solstice bonfires this winter, but I am trying to clear out some attitudes and ways of thinking which are no longer serving me. Letting go is hard, loss aversion is real - but it's only when you clear the space, that better things can fill it.

So happy new year everyone, and let's make it fine,

with very best wishes

Maya Middlemiss