I liked having a list of goals last year. I wrote them down, hung them where I could see them every day, and tried to plan my week so that they were included somehow. I didn't finish all of them, and some turned out to be not very realistic, so I took that into account when thinking about this year's list. Here goes!:
- PASS MY FLIGHT REVIEW and take a friend for a ride (or visit one). Yeah, "learn how to fly again" was a 2017 goal that was waylayed for all kinds of reasons (a broken airplane being one of them), but yes, it turns out I DO still want to be an active pilot, and this year I am going to make it happen, dammit.
- BE A WRITER. Since I've started blogging more often, I wonder about revisiting some of the pieces I've written. Maybe they could be shaped into more polished, finished essays...? Dunno. But I want to shift how I think about writing so that it's not just something I do in service of another project. I want it to be something I am. Or at least am becoming. A writer.
- CREATE GOOD SCHEDULES, routines & systems. And make sure I take a "weekend". I love freelancing, but now that I have more projects I'm juggling at once, I really need to get organized. Not just with physical spaces (see my happy desk photo above), but with my time and daily routines, and with the steps I take to get a project done. I need a weekend too. Two days that are somehow different from the rest of the work week. I always seem to put off personal projects to work on "work," but then they just keep getting put off. Maybe if I actually scheduled a weekend, I would look forward to that time and not feel guilty about not working. I guess it's a good thing to love what you do for work that the line between it and fun gets blurry. Any freelancers out there with advice? Let me know!
- SORT THROUGH MY BACKLOG OF PHOTOS. I have YEARS of personal photographs that are sitting on my hard drives. It's terrible, and I am DONE with that!! This year I'm going to sort through them all (or at least make a big dent) and then start making actual physical photo albums (remember those?) and prints to put in frames on the wall. I grew up with a family photo wall and I want one of my own. (That's my Mom & Dad with our family wall, now split up between my brother and me.) This task completely overwhelms me, but if I do a little bit every day...
- BE A GOOD PEN PAL. My Mom and Dad sponsored children through the organization ChildFund ever since I can remember, and when they died, my brother and I decided to continue their sponsorship. We send our monthly contributions and occasional cards, but I really want to write letters more often. It feels a little frustrating sometimes because there's such a time lag between correspondence, but what a dumb excuse. So this year I want to do a better job of keeping in touch with our sponsored child, Ana Luisa. My brother's not a big letter writer, but this is my chance to be a pen pal again.
- READ DAILY, AND NOT JUST AT BEDTIME. Last year my goal was to read 25 books. I got through that and a few more, but I found out that I feel guilty sitting down to just read during the day. I wind up waiting until bedtime, and then I'm sleepy and can't always keep my eyes open. Why do I feel guilty taking time out to read? I think part of it is that it doesn't feel "productive." But I don't feel that way if I sit down to watch tv, so what's up with that? A friend finally pointed out: "Writers read." Enough said!
- DAILY UKULELE. By the end of the year I want to get through my lesson book and be able to play the Spanish guitar pieces that are at the back of it. I will get farther along if I practice even a tiny bit every day than if I lump it all into long sessions not as often. It's really about creating a new habit: slow and steady wins the race!
- LEARN SOMETHING NEW. My friend Kathleen is taking a stilt-walking class and it's inspired me to think about what I want to learn this year. There are a handful of things I'd like to try: baking bread, learning Italian, etching & monoprint, crochet or knitting, sign language... ?
- FINISH 12 SEWING PROJECTS. One of last year's goals was to sew through my stash of fabric, but I think in the end it wasn't really what I wanted to do. I decided that instead of keeping it all in a box in the closet, I am going to give it visible shelf space in my studio, where I can be inspired by the colors and textures every day. Kinda like keeping your paints and canvas out where you can see them. My new goal for the year: 12 projects. That's one a month. I think I can handle that (especially now that I will schedule a real weekend every week.)
- FIX MY BICYCLE. While I mean this literally (I sooo miss having a working bicycle and I didn't get around to fixing it last year), I realize it's also a metaphor for keeping my body moving and eating well.
- FINISH CLEARING THE HOUSE and finally have a housewarming party. This was on my goal list last year and, no, I didn't complete it. I did a few bits and pieces and then all of a sudden it was December and my brother was going to come up for a visit. The guest room could no longer serve as a storage unit! Panic! I worked like crazy to get it done, and then my brother couldn't come after all. Although I was sad I wouldn't see him, I was SO PROUD of finishing that room! "See? You CAN get sh*t done when you put your mind to it." On New Year's day I walked around the house with a clipboard and came up with a list of 48 projects that also include things like "organize laptop files" and "sew up the hole in your coat." Yikes. But I've finished 7 things so far!
Maybe it's my vagabond heart that makes me keep things in boxes forever. I've moved so often that maybe I don't trust anywhere to be really be HOME for more than a few years. Or maybe it's that going through old stuff is just hard sometimes. And also time consuming. Regardless, stuff is literally standing in the way of my creativity. (see photo of my studio closet above... how am I supposed to get to my printer?!) After finishing the guest room, I feel like I can tackle pretty much anything, so I'm going to unpack boxes, get rid of stuff I don't need, hang up artwork, and then celebrate with a -- FINALLY! -- housewarming party. You're invited!
I hope your January is going well so far!