My Depth Year, 2019

My Depth Year is about noticing the everyday and acknowledging what goes on.


This afternoon in the space of ten minutes, I saved a lizard from drowning in my watering can, buried a dead bird in the fairy garden and planted a row of black hollyhocks at the foot of a fallen mulberry tree. So much joy. Right there.

That’s a post I placed in a private FB group, earlier this week. We’re having a Depth Year, together. We’re sharing our successes, thoughts, discoveries, hiccups and stuff-ups.


What’s a Depth Year?

Here’s a quote from David Cain’s second article on the matter.

This article is his recap, his thoughts on what transpired when he made the commitment and lived by his word for an entire year.  Why the Depth Year Was My Best, is a powerful, thought-provoking read.

Towards the end of last year I proposed an idea that unexpectedly caught fire: what if, for a whole year, you stopped acquiring new things or taking on new pursuits. Instead, you return to abandoned projects, stalled hobbies, unread books and other neglected intentions, and go deeper with them than you ever have before.

In early 2018, Cain coined the term ‘Depth Year’ and also, quite unwittingly, began a world-wide movement.

Primarily, it’s about loving what (and who) you’ve got.

Resisting the urge to try more, buy more, go wider and wider and wider until you’re stretched as thin a sheet of cheap Gladwrap.

It’s about committing to the Italian lessons, the Life Drawing classes, the novel you’ve been meaning to write.

This is about really committing.

We’re talkin’ character building stuff, here.

Others brought their own ideas to the Depth Year.

It evolved.

In some cases, it began to centre around decluttering.

For some it became a No Buy Year. (Hardcore)

For others it became a Low Buy Year. (I can do that!)

During their Depth Year, some choose not to buy any new books (I can’t bear the thought. There are too many starving authors as it is!)


The thing about a Depth Year is you can make it what you want.

But the idea of keeping DEPTH front of mind at all times is curiously comforting.

It forces you to be creative, too.

And productive.

It sharpens your focus.

It filters out the white noise of modern living.

It has a calming effect.


At least, it has for me.

You want fries with that?

No thanks. I’m having a Depth Year.

So what does 2019, my Depth Year, look like?

• A renewed commitment to decluttering.

Although, as a concept ‘decluttering’ is starting to shit me.

Why not resist collecting all that useless garbage in the first place?

Surely the ultimate goal is to wise up.

Enough with the spend, spend, spend! Enough with the friggin’ landfill!

We need to stop supporting the industrial military complex. (Ahem)

A pox on shopping malls.

There. I said it.

• One book at a time.

I’m doing 2019 one book at a time. I’ve promised myself: I will not buy a new book until I have read the one (or the ones) I’m reading.

Oddly, (or not) this has made me read faster.

It’s also made me take more notice of what I’m reading.

My reading has become more purposeful. Less, erm, lazy.

Also, I now read with a highlighter and post-it notes at hand. Something I’ve been meaning to get back to since my days at uni. (Thank you, Depth Year, for bringing me back to a damn fine habit.)


• No new clothes. NONE.

(Excludes undies)

(Okay, sox and tights, too)

This pledge forces us to get creative; to pull out everything in the wardrobe and start throwing together new combos.

It tests our resolve and our self-esteem, too.

Can I really go to that party, speak at that event, do ANOTHER video, in my ‘old’ clothes?

I certainly can.

NOTHING will happen if I wear the same clothes over and over. NOTHING.

I proved that last winter.

Fuck it was liberating.

• No new art supplies

I mean, seriously? I have enough pens, pencils, paints and washie tape to redecorate the entire St Paul’s Cathedral.

IF I run out of paper, I’ll buy some. But only if a run out.

• Going deep in my business.

This means loving and appreciating everyone who is on the girl & duck journey with me.

It means loosening the reins in terms of chasing growth.

It means celebrating those who are already there, and being more present for them.

It means providing more opportunities for my peeps to get involved, to help me, to grow alongside me.

• Going deep with my spirituality

This means doing the classes, studying the books (not just reading them), learning the rituals, finding the mentors, seeking the counselling.

It means listening, journaling, taking heed.

It means communing with nature. Day and night.

It even means talking to trees. Yes, I’ve been known to whisper sweet nothings to my almond trees.

They know I’m going deep.

Not bonkers.

• Writing letters

Yes, snail mail.

• Fixing stuff NOW

For example.

I’ve been meaning to have my engagement ring resized for TWELVE years. Ever since I hit menopause and my hands got bigger. Go figure.

I took the ring (it’s antique, Art Deco, super gorgeous)  to the jeweller yesterday.

I cannot wait to get it back.

How deep is that? A brand new old engagement ring!


I’ll be adding more to my Depth Year list as I go along.

But already I feel I’m off to good start.

Having a Depth Year makes you pay attention.

And when you pay attention you grow—emotionally, spiritually and creatively. Even financially!

Pretty good, hey?

See you in the sea, dear reader, and thank you for being YOU!

Jen xo

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10 Replies to “My Depth Year, 2019”

  1. This sounds like a great idea – thanks for writing about it. Once we think about why we’re doing the things we do or making particular choices, we’re definitely on the way to being more deliberate and conscious about how we live. Plenty to think about, for sure!

  2. Great ideas, inspiring read! Lovely to read how you’re bringing these ideas into your life, your way. I do love to follow your pursuits and writings. One of my intentions for the year is to declutter the mailbox – like I do almost once a year. (Get off mailing lists which bring loads of marketing my way. That’s a lot of stuff no longer pulling me away from what I want to work on. But you’ll stay for a bit longer.) Declutter the attic and clothes drawers and so on. But NO BOOKS… that’s really hard indeed. I will be sending some books on their way to other people. And I’m reading like crazy – but will follow your example and study more too. To deepen the ideas behind the teaching I’m doing.
    So I wish you a really good, deliberate and productive DEPTH YEAR and hope you’ll share more about what it does for you later in the year. 🙂

  3. This is a mighty fine post. Without realising, I committed to a Depth Year of sorts too. I decided that this year instead of doing more webinars, and taking more classes and spending money on acquiring information to help me on my journey, that I would go through the massive tub full of notes from YEARS of learning. There are notes and more notes that will fulfill any writing need. If I want inspiration, don’t do another course, go to the TUB! Although I did absolutely love your dissection of ‘Blue’ which I hadn’t seen done before, someone going through their book like that, so that was a wise purchase.
    And how funny that you got your ring resized. Just yesterday I took my engagement and wedding band to a local jeweler after not wearing them for about a year because of my fat knuckle. Yes, I like this idea of making better use of what we’ve got. Thanks, Jen.

    1. We’re on track, Kaye! Also, the thing about a Depth Year is that it’s only a year. So, it seems easier to stick to. Then measure the results in December and see if it was worth the ‘discipline’. I can kinda guess the results! 😉 x

  4. Love this. It sounds a lot like Brooke McAlary’s 365 days of slow (from slowyourhome.com). I’ve been embracing the Slow movement since I attended a workshop of Brooke’s a few years ago – less clutter, more time together, slow food, more nature, meditation. I’ve realised that my husband is naturally a slow/deep person so I have a great example to lead me. I just want to do ALL THE THINGS. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your depth year.

  5. Brilliant post, Jen, and I’m definitely going to read my long-ignored TBR pile. I agree with rewearing! In her book ‘Slow Clothing’ Jane Milburn of Textile Beat shows how to restyle and recreate your current clothes, even using natural dyes. She opened my eyes to horrendous landfill otherwise known as fast fashion.

    1. I hadn’t heard of that book by Jane M but it sounds ‘good’. The fast fashion thing has done my head it. There a few videos around showing the daily business of landfill for fashion. It’s horrendous. Thanks for dropping by, TBW! x

  6. I particularly like your take on Dec uttering. Amen amen to your cry to Stop buying more stuff. That’s the deep flaw in this popular movement. I’m also much more keen to fix things. I make my patches and darnings a multicolored feature since I’m rubbish at sewing now…

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