Happy 2023: Year of Repurpose

Hello old friend. Let’s talk about a Year of Repurpose.

So what do I mean by a Year of Repurpose? Let’s review.

This past November, I spent a month in a basement with a dying cat. The experience sent my brain on a trippy excursion. I’m sure some thought I’d lost my mind, but I had the luxury to be with her until to the end, so why not? She died the day after Thanksgiving 2022.

Miss Babbitt and me

My husband totally understood. Not only did this once feral cat get all the love she deserved, I also had the opportunity to evaluate life. During this self-imposed isolation…

I set my word for the year.

Choosing an intention word is nothing new. I’ve been doing it for years. 2016: The Year of Photography (52-week photo challenge). 2017: The Year of Exploration (hiking all the OC parks). 2018: The Year of Change (living vagabond and leaving my profession). 2019: The Year of Discovery (totally uprooting everything).

But then 2020 hit and the practice stopped. In hindsight, I call it…

“The Year I Disappeared.”

I did. Seriously.

I DISAPPEARED.

I’d left my career as an NBC photojournalist, left Southern California for a small Arizona town. I went off social media, stopped writing, stopped photographing, stopped traveling, stopped living. Not intentionally. It just happened. As a result, I no longer felt like me.

Who was I if not a creator?

Of course, the pandemic didn’t help—although funny enough the Mercantile we’d opened in 2019 kept us hopping with home delivery of glass-bottled milk and specialty food. Each week, I crafted a weekly newsletter and made product photos, so at least I squeezed in a little creative work. 

But I no longer wrote nor photographed for fun.

What did I have worth documenting? Even after the world reopened, Ground Hog’s Day continued. I wasn’t growing. I got grouchier by the day.

It wasn’t until November, while hiding away in that basement with my dying cat—when I had nothing to distract me, when all of my attention went to this sweet feral creature newly discovering the joys of love just in time to die—that I realized how much I’d given up.

It was time to truly find myself again.

Luckily, I’d already started.

The first step came in the fall of 2021. 

I went back to school, enrolling in the University of Arizona’s Design Arts & Practices program with a Content Creation minor. I love what I’m learning.

The Year of Repurpose: graphic example

It will take time to finish my degree, but in the meantime, I have started creating again. I’m back to writing and photographing and videographing and editing. I don’t want to lose the skills honed over my twenty-four-year career.

That brings me to the theme for 2023:

The Year of Repurpose

The Year of Repurpose

So how did I come to this particular word? While sitting on the floor next to Miss Babbitt, I opened my iPad. A note from a longtime former colleague, who had decided to leave the news business as well, struck me. At fifty-seven years old, she had no intention of nesting into a rocker and knitting hats, but rather she planned to REPURPOSE her skills as a journalist into something she felt passionate about.

REPURPOSE.

The word rooted. I wasn’t done creating. I could repurpose my skills, use my trained eye and my words for something meaningful to me.

Repurpose.

Yes.

So here I am, going into 2023 with fresh focus, a fresh website, and a fresh plan to repurpose my storytelling, photography, and marketing skills into one really cool career. If you have ideas, drop me a line!

Later Gators!


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