When I took a late stroll on New Year's eve, this quite amazing snowman was guarding the mail locker. What a fun surprise to end the year with. And now, here we are in a new year. But in our hearts we know not much will change just because we've put up a new calendar. Many of the same challenges, inconveniences and true hardships from 2020 will still be with us for many more months. But there does appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel and at least for me, much that can be done to keep one occupied (and perhaps distracted?) while we wait this pandemic out.
Yes, lots on my plate if I wish it, and I settled on my resolution word of the year weeks ago. While last year the word was "GO!", chosen to inspire me to just get into the studio and do something, anything, rather than pass by the door with a sigh. However, I'd say maybe a third of the way into the year, my get up and go got up and went (as my mother used to say). So all those things on my optimistic to do list more or less stayed undone. Yes, I did learn some bookbinding stitches and techniques early on, and participated again in both Sketchbook Revival and Inktober, but there are days and days in my engagement calendar where I keep a record of progress on my arty endeavors that are blank. I don't blame the pandemic at all for this. I just slumped into a long stretch of auto-immune syndrome energy sapping and muscle pains. Sometimes there's no point in fighting back and better to find what you can manage until you have a day when you realize you have energy to spare and/or little pain hampering you.
So with stacks of ideas in the beginning stages, bookbinding lessons to catch up on and UFO's all around me (and several very old ones that insistently called to me from the closet throughout last year), to name just a few things I can be spending my time on, I've chosen "FINISH" as my resolution word of 2021. Wouldn't that be nice to see what clutters my worktable and floor and even design wall morph into things that are done? Wouldn't it be nice to have handmade items ready to give away and art quilts complete in case I decide to exhibit again this year? Wouldn't it be satisfying to be productive again, with that fresh engagement calendar recording near daily progress on my many creative interests? Yes it would! And I've already begun, knitting a little nearly every day on my mobius scarf.
I'd like to end with a sentiment from Michelle GD that came in her New Year's Day note which seemed an affirmation of my chosen resolution word:
"I’ve been thinking about fresh starts being a continuation of something already underway. With this kind of fresh start, there’s no drama, no buildup or let down. Just a carrying-on. I find this comforting."
Yes, I find it comforting too. She goes on to talk about the other kind of fresh start, the wiping the slate clean and starting over kind which can be necessary, exciting, but daunting as well. "They can feel like insurmountable hills that you’re too tired to climb," she says, and boy, does that speak to my struggles with my auto-immune syndrome. But the "just a carrying-on" kinds can be "quiet and soft. Unassuming. Not earth-shattering in their existence or in their beginning." That's for me, I think.
At the end of this letter (which is worth reading in full here), she included a more complete version of a quotation which I had run across awhile ago and really spoke to where I'd let myself go and desperately needed to come back from. I wish it for you, my readers, as you face 2021 with renewed hope:
"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."~ Kurt Vonnegut ~
Previous resolution words:
2008 - Freedom
2009 - Calm
2010 - Focus
2011 - Refocus
2012 - Balance & Harmony
2013 - Perseverance
2014 - Explore
2015 - Fearless
2016 - Light
2017 - Endure
2018 - Refresh
2019 - Wing It!
2020 - Go!
The Kurt Vonnegut quotation is especially poignant today. Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year! Stay well! Jan in WY
Boy howdy Jan. I've just spent the last 3 hours watching news coverage and thinking the very same thing. And wondering how in the world these rioters who are so sure they are right can be compelled to be soft and not hate. As I said in the opening, the ills of 2020 continue to follow into 2021. We must strive to be the light.
What a great post to reflect on….many profound words for thought. FINISH….a great word for you…… Clearly your low energy contributes to the delay in finishing at times but your attitude and understanding of the situation is now in place and what you do finish will give you great pleasure….just enjoy!!
Mary, I so appreciate your insight and I know you are right. There's always great satisfaction in finishing a project but I like that you put it as giving me great pleasure. I envision myself smiling already!
Be gentle on yourself, Sheila. If your body tells you to rest, listen! Breath in and breath out and just enjoy the day even if you don't set foot in the studio. That said, I love the colors in your scarf!
Thanks for "getting it", Sherrie, and reminding me of my meditation training. And I'm not surprised you are a fan of the colors in my scarf!
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