Saturday, January 2, 2016

Onward to 2016


Although my usual way of wrapping up the year is to go over the highlights individually, I'm going to keep it brief this time. 2015 was a year for growth and change for me, both personally and professionally - new endeavors included teaching some classes at the fashion academy, buying our first house, cutting my hair short, and vending my first show as indie.knits - but it was interspersed with a fair bit of loss and difficulty in my personal life. I feel really lucky to have a wonderful network of family and chosen-family that helped me through this last year, and hopefully 2016 will be a bit kinder on that front.

As far as goals, I just have a few things that I'd like to focus on in the coming year.

house2 house

Make a home.

We've been slowly putting together our space - bringing in plants, adding rugs and curtains, hanging art, replacing crappy furniture with nicer stuff - and in the new year, I want to continue to make our little house feel personalized, welcoming, and comfortable. Lumberjack and I share a very similar style - modern but eclectic, colorful but not cluttered - and I want to continue to develop that aesthetic in our home.

To spend the time finding the right thing that fits with our budget, we've had to space out a lot of our bigger purchases, which makes some parts of the house feel perpetually in-progress, but hopefully in the next year, we'll be able to finish a big chunk of the design projects on our to-do list: Lumberjack's work space, the downstairs bedroom, and the yard in particular!

Untitled thanksgivingweek2

Make art, in its own time.

I overbooked myself a whole lot in 2015, mostly because I want to do everything. So although I'm really proud of the work I did this last year, a lot of it was done at a frantic pace, with no time for rest after a big project was finished. So in 2016, I want to be mindful of my physical and creative limitations, and give myself a bit more time to recuperate after expending big reserves of energy on a project.

I really connect with what Ann Hamilton has to say about creative work, especially her thoughts on work and time, and I hope to channel a bit more of that attitude into my creative work in the next year. 

modcollar4 Untitled

Take care.

Whether it's pulling weeds in the backyard, repairing a vintage dress, or going for a walk, there are little things that I can do every day to care for myself, my home, and my belongings. When I was grading Sweet Root, I took walks around the neighborhood after staring at Excel for three or four hours, and it was exactly what I needed. Though these little acts sometimes feel frivolous, it turns out that they're really excellent for cultivating a healthy work/life balance.

One of the biggest aha moments I had last year was that creativity is not sourceless, and it's also not bottomless. It's a cistern of water that you have to fill, and refill, and refill. If you add water in your downtime - going for a hike, potting some plants, painting your nails - that water will sustain you when you have to work 12 hours a day for two weeks straight. But you also have to keep filling it, especially after one of those times when you use it all up in one go.

If I think of the refilling process as a burden, it will be a burden - but if I think of it as something exciting that I'm challenged to do, it becomes much more gratifying.

coffee 2015madrona10

Choose happiness - and don't be afraid to use it.

One of the side effects of having less stuff is the opportunity to use and enjoy all of the things that I do have. When I was growing up, I often felt as though nice things were for other people, and if I did have something nice, I didn't want to use it for fear of messing it up - and unconsciously, I extended much of this attitude of self-denial into my adult life.

I would buy gorgeous cashmere yarn, only to have it sit in my stash, because I should really knit up that scratchy wool from the discount bin first. We would buy a hunk of good brie from the store and eat some of it, but have the other half go moldy because we didn't want to 'waste it' on a snack.

This self-imposed mandate of 'you should buy nice things, but you don't deserve to enjoy them in the way that you want' has gotten me stuck more times than I'd like to think about. So this year, I'm going to buy the cashmere instead of the wool from the discount bin - or better yet, to knit up that cashmere I've been hoarding as too-perfect-to-knit for four years - and I'm going to eat that brie with my fingers, straight from the fridge. Because in my estimation, life is too short not to enjoy the kindnesses that you give to yourself.


And with that in mind, onward 2016 - Happy New Year, friends!


Kat Riddell said...

Yes, to all of these. I hope 2016 turns out to be a wonderful year for you :)

Jodi said...

Lovely post! Happy New Year!

Marilyn said...

I totally get you with the self-denial of nice things. As a kid I was always given hand me downs, so I never utilized the new that was allotted to me. It's taken a lot for me to be comfortable even with gifts given to me by my husband. We all deserve to enjoy nice fancy things!

FYRKRKR said...

I agree with you, it's hard to feel like it's ok to start that new project with beautiful yarn when you have leftovers or ufo's around that aren't as nice.... Like I should finish those before starting what I truly desire to knit! It's like I told my mom... Why buy that nice perfume if you want to end up wearing the cheap body spray all the time? Why do we feel that need to always be "saving" the good stuff? One day you realize how much you can enjoy going to the market while smelling great,and everyone compliments you..and you are happy, you smile and enjoy life. I am also committing to be better at buying quality and using it.. not just stuff that is on sale I really don't want. Enjoy life! Love your blog! I am finishing that brie tomorrow, golldangit!