Each year I set a theme that guides the decisions I make for the year and helps me stay on track. Some would call it a mantra but I’m not so fussy, for me it’s more of a reminder of what I want my life to be. It’s so easy to get caught up and things other people think I should do and what I really want to do.
The first year I did this was 2010, the year I decided to quit my job, end my long-term relationship and sell all my things to buy a ticket to Mexico. In 2010 it was the Year of Being Fearless. I clung to that theme every time I was scared about leaving and it gave me comfort. 2013 was The Year of Less when I got rid of things that were getting in my way, and that year I also met Dave.
2014 was The Year of Focus, I spent time on things that I had forgotten I loved, and at the end of the year I encouraged Dave to leave a job that was robbing his soul and taking a gigantic leap to begin our Loka Life.
I didn’t assign a theme to 2015 and it’s rather telling because our lives were monopolized by taking our pop-up Loka Snacks in the back of a dive bar to a bricks and mortar restaurant. It was The Year of Loka and in 2015 I was able to take everything I had learned from my unconventional life and help Dave follow his own dream.
On social media we probably looked like a great success, his instagram was filled with beautiful images of food, we were popping up all over the city at events, building our name and looking for an investor.
But it was hard.
There were many times Dave wondered if he was doing the right thing. Dark nights in February when no one showed up because of snowstorms and we would work all night to take home $19.
He was worried about money and bills, and during those times I had to step in and be brave enough for both of us, insisting that we would find a way. We met with investors who seemed promising but then wanting something different and making Dave feel like his vision was somehow flawed.
In his moments of self doubt I dug deep, putting aside any worries I had because there was no room for them. In my heart I knew he deserved a restaurant, that he needed a venue for his perspective of Canadian food, that he’d never be happy working anywhere else.
That was unacceptable to me. All I wanted for us was just to be happy.
So we worked harder and longer. Every morning we woke up to errands for Loka and we ended every night talking about what needed to be done the next day. We took jobs we didn’t want to do so we could pay the rent and keep going. We stopped talking to people who didn’t understand the vision. It was about survival, knowing eventually it would pay off.
And it happened.
In the Spring we found someone who wanted to help with our vision and in July we successfully raised over $40,000 on Kickstarter. And on November 18th we opened Loka to the public.
It will likely be one of my proudest accomplishments in life and when I see Dave in the kitchen I know that every single day in 2015 was worth it.
So now onto 2016!
We have an ambitious goal for Loka to be one of the best new restaurants in Canada, which means Dave will be at the restaurant every day it’s open. I’ll continue to be at Loka often but we also have ambitious goals for this site and continuing to grow. It’s also time for me to get back to my passion of travel, food and sharing stories from around the world. There’s a lot on our plate.
We have big dreams. 2016 is all about kicking ass. But that means we need to be as productive and prepared as possible. In 2015 we sacrificed our health, sleep and mental well-being and now we need to get back on track.
In order for us to achieve everything we want we need to be healthier, well rested and inspired.
That sounds like a daunting task but I love the approach Betsy and Warren Talbot take from An Uncluttered Life. They choose two-week sprints to change a habit so instead of saying beginning January 1 we’re taking time to eat breakfast, go to the gym, eat more vegetables, sleep more, drink green smoothies, spend time not working every single day we choose one thing to focus on every two weeks.
I think our first week should be to make time to eat breakfast every morning. Sadly we often don’t do this and breakfast is so important. But to kick ass you need fuel so if 2016 is the year of kicking ass we need to start the day with breakfast.
Let’s start there and see how 2016 goes.