The new year holiday time is when I like to reflect, trying to notice how things went, to conclude what worked and what didn’t, and to contemplate what I’d like to do better in the coming calender year. When I did this last year, I was happy with my goal accomplishments, changes I’d made, and the general direction everything was moving. So, for the first time in almost a decade, I made no goals at all. I figured if I could keep doing the things I was already doing, I’d be okay, to self-improve without a plan. Generally, it went okay, but I’ve found I prefer to have a plan. Admittedly, I seldom stick to my plan strictly, but I like having it anyway. This means I’m going to have to make one for 2018, which also means I’m going to have to do this reflection thing quickly here. My recent crazy workload has taken a lot of my brain cycle time (I’m not complaining; it is uncommon for work projects to be so interesting AND involving) and the majority of my evenings have been spent essentially checked-out on the sofa, catching up on television and movies, along with many hours of video games. Thus, perhaps if I write out my thoughts here, I’ll make some headway that I can come back to after interruptions. Maybe a semi-public blog isn’t the best place for it, but the crowd here is quite small and I’ve always maintained that the most important audience for a personal blog is the person it belongs to, me. Plus, I can always take this offline if I need to.
Let’s navel gave!!
Okay, that got heavy the more I typed and none of it is sharable, with the public, or really even with my closest. I hold some unpopular views, I think. Instead, let’s fast forward to the “what have I learned” and “WTF I’m going to do about it” section.
What have I learned?
Most of the things that bug me are inherently related to people and these are things I cannot change. If you are disappointed, change your expectations. Hope is a fucking unicorn.
In 2017, I made the effort to give up on things that I felt were not beneficial to me. This was a challenge, since some of these things were ingrained through my whole life by well-meaning idiots. The road to hell and all. For the most part, this was good. I will continue to not invest my precious resources (mostly my time; I am still mortal, dammit!) in things that don’t return some benefit to me. I’m being vague, yes, but this is the summary of the item.
Thus, lower my expectations. Don’t care so much.
Finally, thanks to modern technology, I’ve found a way to eat healthier, easier, faster, and with my nutritional needs taken care of. Phew. That only took my whole life to date. This means my morning routine and lunch needs are fewer and I can focus on other, less easy things. Good. Also, lost a lot of weight this year, so that is great – except for having to buy new clothes. That part is irritating.
On the downside, I failed to prioritize some things like exercise, hikes, bike rides, long walks, and meditation. 2017 had a lot fewer/less of all of that. I kept meaning to do them, but I didn’t stress about it and ended up not doing it. I miss these things, in hindsight. They help my mood and I like being happy.
As a note, one of the goals I kept for 2017 was to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. I failed, a lot. I did get better, but I must get better still.
Speaking of happy, I did prioritize my happiness this year. The aforementioned cutting out of dubious things helped, but I made a point to try to sleep in sometimes, have that extravagant dessert, watch the movies I wanted, and sometimes simply sit on the sofa and draw things when I wasn’t up for other stuff. This was all pleasant, but not a huge deal. The little things like that don’t seem have a big impact. I will take small impacts, though, and appreciate them for what they are.
Too many inspiration fueled projects! In 2017 I allowed myself to go ahead and start new projects when ideas or general inspiration struck. This is something I tried to keep a lid on in the past and this year I tossed the lid out. Mistake. It might sound contrary, but riding that fresh wave of energy from a vision straight into a project is seldom a good idea. The only two of those that turned out well were these:
And maybe that space dress I made and wore at the Solstice Party. Maybe. The rest are still incomplete, for various reasons. I estimate 10-12 UFOs from this year alone, on top of the UFOs that naturally and slowly accumulate over the years. I have more ideas and inspiration than I have time. This is somewhat a side effect of not using a plan or goals this year. More creative projects actually got done when I had a layout/plan/goals/obsessive spreadsheet system than when I did not – even when I swapped out most of my planned goals for other ones.
Too much stuff. I’m faced with the reality (as many others are, too) that I have too much stuff cluttering up my spaces. Some won’t change – I do want all the pen sizes at my fingertips and I do want a wall full of fabric choices. Some should – like books I’ll not read again, toys (but my dinosaur collection is JUST FINE!!), a fuckload of board and card games, and some digital files. I’m sure there are more crap subjects that could do with examination, but I try to set realistic goals, so this is enough for 2018 to deal with.
Okay. That is a good amount of reflection summary. Now, to action!
WTF am I going to do about it in 2018?
The basic goal list for 2018.
1. Lower my expectations for the good of my own happiness. And let shit go.
People will often disappoint you and sometimes you’re the one disappointing them. The only person responsible for your happiness is you, so you have to deal with it. As well, I almost always want to make things better, in all aspects of my life. When something bugs me, I tend to examine it and pick at it until I find a way to improve it, improve my view of it, or get over it and admit it is hopeless shit. If I could find a way to the “get over it” phase faster, that would be good.
2. Continue to eat healthy.
My system works, so I’m going to stick to it. If the cost is that I must buy some new jeans every 20 or so pounds, then so be it.
3. Exercise, long walks, hikes, bike rides, meditation, and (new to this idea), yoga.
These are all self-explanatory.
Get 8 hours of sleep a night, as often as I possibly can! I know it seems like this should fit in the above #3 goal, but it is important enough to have its own break out here.
5. All projects must be on the master spreadsheet and have a plan!
No more spur of the moment stuff, no more last-minute, weekend projects. It didn’t work out and I know why and what to do better.
6. Acquire less stuff, get rid of stuff.
I’ve already started this on my holiday weekend. Three bags of trash and a pile of magazines met the trashcan. I’ve just cancelled one of my art supply subscription boxes (I had three (crazy, I know!) and now have only two) and am making a soft-goal to not buy ANY art supplies this year. With so many UFOs and a well-stocked workshop, AND two monthly blips of a handful of new supplies, I should be okay. Thread is an exception to this because of its aging issues, and I do have a gift card with some balance remaining for necessities. We’ll see how long I can go on this one. Also, if I sell something in my Etsy shop, I am completely allowed to use that profit for anything I want.
Besides the creative supplies, I will continue to open old boxes, toss stuff out, and be generally more ruthless in the assessment of items I keep.
7. Be nice to myself.
I push myself a lot, because I like doing things, accomplishments, learning, experiments, creations. I dislike sitting around, ingesting mindlessly, wasting my precious life. Sometimes I need to stop and remember that I should only do as much as I want, as much as is beneficial for me. My drive is MY drive and should benefit ME. Just, chill the fuck out every once and awhile.
That is a fine list. Hello 2018! Let’s do it! If anyone is still reading, what are you aiming for or against in 2018?