I know it sounds cliché, but I begin every new year with a feeling that it’s a fresh start. And, with that, I get to set the agenda before it starts running me.
Then again, I have been on the planet long enough to know that resolutions don’t often work for me. Now I see that it’s because my resolutions have often been a way of beating up on myself for things I thought I wasn’t doing.
This year, I am going to take a different approach. The words kindness, play and learn will figure largely into my plans.
Here are the 10 resolutions that I will look forward to this year:
1. Play more
With a busy schedule filled with two jobs and two boys under 14 years of age, the “to do list” can seem endless some days. Even with my entirely enjoyable art practice, I am often focused on getting ready for the next show, or preparing new artwork for sale. Being playful with my art – without a care for whether or not it will sell – sometimes takes a back seat. This year, I resolve to goof around more.
2. Children before chores
This relates to resolution #1. Sometimes the list at home is even bigger than the one at work. When I get asked to walk to the store, or head outside, I admit I sometimes respond: “Just let me finish these dishes” or “I’ll just throw this load of laundry on first”. The past few weeks, I’ve fought that impulse and said, “Sure!” and put down whatever I was doing to go have fun.
3. Get outside by myself
Although my children and husband pull me outside lots, I sometimes forget the beauty of a lonely walk where I have the world to myself. We all spend our days surrounded by people, and I am lucky to have many people who I love spending time with. But, I also forget about recharging. Getting back in touch with me is important, too.
4. Photograph something beautiful each week
Getting outside is good … getting out with my camera is even better! I am aware that we all spend a lot of time peering through a lens and not experiencing our world, but for me, my camera does the opposite. It slows me down, makes me notice and brings the earth’s wonders up close. For those who walk with me, that can be a boring and frustrating walk. That’s why I’ll grab my camera and do #3 more.
5. Quality over quantity
My 24-year-old and I had a great conversation over the break about consumerism, and that age-old problem of carrying around more stuff than we need.
I am definitely guilty of shopping to stave off boredom sometimes. But, I find, more and more, having more stuff is so not satisfying. I’d rather have one beautiful mug for my tea or coffee than a cupboard full of mass-produced ones. (This mug is made by Dawn Candy of Little Sister Pottery in Red Deer, Alberta.)
6. Learn something new each month
This is my year to discover. I often tell people at art tours and sales that I love printmaking because the process allows for so many different ways to create. Then, I go back to my beautiful lino and create another bird print! Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that this year, I want to explore. Learning new techniques will refresh my perspective and stretch my brain.
7. Be kinder to my body
I spent the last couple months having issues with a pinched nerve in my shoulder and arm. Ouch! I know that it’s been years of mediocre pasture and too much time spent hunched over my computer. Thankfully, physiotherapy is improving it, but if I needed a strong message to start taking care of my body, I got it. This year, I’m going to build my strength, take more regular breaks and stretch more … not because it will help me fit into those red jeans in my bottom drawer, but because it will help me follow my creativity pain-free, sleep better and get outside and play more! (See also #1, #2 and #3!)
8. Weave music into my day
Walking down the street the other day, we saw a (brave) busker outside in freezing weather playing electric guitar on the street. While adults smiled and walked by, two little toddlers stopped, riveted, and immediately took up the beat … swaying, stomping their boots and shaking their butts. I was reminded about how primal and moving music is, and will weave more of it into my daily life.
9. Be more selfish
As I get older, this I know for sure: being selfish is not bad! To me, being selfish means saying ‘no’ more to those things that don’t fit my needs or spend my time wisely – without having to offer an excuse. I find when I am selfish, I am happier. End of story.
10. Build a happiness jar
Speaking of happy, I ran across this idea on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page, and I think it’s excellent. At the end of each day, you write down the happiest moment of your day on a piece of paper and pop it in the jar. Big, small or seemingly insignificant. I generally live life with lots of gratitude, and I have often started (and stopped) a gratitude journal. This idea is so simple, that it just might work.
Happy New Year all! Here’s to more happiness and selfishness in your life!