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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Why The Year About Me?

Beautiful Hawaiian coast

There are many reasons why I need this time for me, but there is one very big one.

I’ve always been the type of person whose work and life are one, they are balanced and they are equal.  My dreams are my work, I work toward my dreams….

In 2008, I put my heart and soul into a business I truly believed in.  (Here you can read about how this blog directly instigated that.)

Over the last 2 years, my belief in the business and my drive to make it succeed impacted my relationships very much – friends and loved ones.  It heavily impacted our finances (I made a few thousand dollars in total), and it impacted my physical and mental well-being.

I worked long hours, I argued with partners, I stopped exercising, going out with friends, and doing other things I loved (like writing!).

And, in a way, it failed.

In the summer of 2010, the three remaining partners decided what we had wasn’t working for us – for a number of reasons – and we decided to phase out the company.

I say “in a way, it failed” because a whole lot of very positive things came of it.  Several other consultancies spawned from RVL, most of us learned a great deal during our time together, and all of us have a list of “things not to do next time.”

So it wasn’t necessarily un-successful.  Heck, we helped a lot of really great clients to do their socially and environmentally conscious work much better.  That was amazing and truly good for the world.  Truly a remarkable experience.

I also I learned a lot about myself.  Among other things, I gained personal confidence and learned to trust more of my instincts (because they were usually right!).

But… I thought RVL was The ONE.  The One job that all my previous skills-building and career-building and self-building had led up to.  I thought RVL was going to directly lead me to “change the world,” in big and  powerful ways.  I put everything I had into it – heart, mind, soul, finances – because I truly believe this.

And it didn’t work.  I was wrong.

There are many reasons why it didn’t work.  We started with too many partners (turns out 8 is more than enough!), our opinions and career directions were miles away from one another, we expanded too fast, we bid too low, and, probably most importantly, we started a company during the worst recession of our lives.  Hard to go up when everyone else goes down!!

All this left me (and most of us) having to completely rethink where we were headed, personally and professionally.  We dropped a lot of other things to focus on making it work.  We’d put our full selves into this and believed it was where we would be for a long time, making really amazing and world changing things happen together.

So NOW what??!

I need to regroup and recoup.  I need to refocus on my physical being.  I need to recharge my relationships.  I need to make peace with my self and search within me for what I want to do next.

Together with my husband we need to decide where we want to make our lives, where we want to settle.  And what we want to do now.

Welcome to the year about me!  Where my values haven’t changed, but my path certainly has.  I just don’t know yet where that path will take me….

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13 comments to Why The Year About Me?

  • Rob

    You know, Melinda, it kind of reminds me of that old saying one of my religious aunts used to say “God doesn’t close one door without opening another”

  • I had this experience when I was in my early 20′s. It’s a rather shattering thing for awhile. Looking back, no real regrets. Rob is right, another door opens.

  • mckristie

    Thank you very much for sharing this – I started reading all of the Clean posts with interest, as I had a very similar 2010 – so one day I downloaded the book onto my Kindle, read it and am now on my second day – thank you for wakening me to the fact that tending your own garden should be a scheduled event:)

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks for sharing this cleansing journey, I’ve been following with interest – trying to “clean up my act” gradually.

    I also went through a pretty heart-breaking ending to a ‘dream business’ not too long ago. What I think I learnt is…
    - Some things aren’t meant to be sold. If we’re very lucky we can find the time and place to give them away.
    - Work with people who have complimentary not similar talents.

    This one I’m sure of:
    - What you keep nurturing in your life will grow like any living thing – though not always as or when you planned, having its own life.

    All the best
    keep writing

  • Love your blog. I can relate – I too had a career that I thought was The One. Nope. So now I am taking a look and my priorities and really seeing what makes me feel happy and productive. It’s can be scary sometimes, but what a wonderful thing to be able to do!! Best of luck to you and thanks for detailing your experience on the Clean diet – I’m trying to get brave and try it! : )

  • That might be the thing about life: once you think you’ve got it all down, it throws something in the road for you to have to work your way around. You’ve spent a lot of time doing everything you can for everyone else, you really deserve this year about you. I look forward to following it all! :)

  • [...] own health and well-being. So in retrospect, I can’t believe I thought I’d be able to dedicate one full year to myself… and then feel [...]

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