Currently // December 2017: Nothing Has Changed, but Everything is Different

The ending of a year is always a strange time, but ending this particular year is quite a bittersweet thing. This past year was full of disappointments, death, and shocking setbacks but so many of us learned so much about ourselves and the world around us, and we came together! We grew stronger! And we’ll grow stronger still. A new year might be starting, but the same old work has to be done. So much has changed, but so much is still the same too. We have to bring 2017 into 2018 with us, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is.

With that in mind, while I have quite a few resolutions—big and small, personal and more worldly too—for the coming year, I only have one intention, to make an effort, to keep making an effort, every single day. No one really believes that these new year’s resolutions work because we give in, give up, and let it go until another year ends and another year begins, and we try to try again. But why waste so much time? Three months from now, when the effort gets hard, and the missteps start adding up, don’t give up.

I won’t give up. I will start again, a new me with renewed effort.  Every day is a new chance to start over. Every day I can be a new me, not just once, not just at the start, because there is no start, and the end was all in your head. You, I, we, we have to start looking at this a little differently. Discipline, focus, effort, those are the words we have to bring with us into the new year.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing slowly. Starting this year, I will be trying a new way to write. I am going to try word counts. I’ve never been good at them because on days when I don’t want to write it feels like torture and when writing feels like torture I write crap. But, I’m wondering if 400 words of crap might be better than no words at all. So, I’m starting with 400 a day of words that aren’t for this blog. It’s not a lot, but if I start with 750 or 1000, I’ll fail by January 31st. I’m going to start slow and give myself a chance to make a real habit of writing again. Slow and steady through 2018 is the goal.

Making a new journal, and some other bookbinding and paper goodies. I love writing by hand. Every day I fill in two pages of my Moleskine large ruled notebook, but I’m coming to the last pages of this one. As much as I love this brand, it’s pretty boring to look at, so, I’ve decided instead of buying another, I’m making my own, and I plan to make it very interesting. In the process of researching how to do it, I came across a lot of tutorials and inspiring examples that made me want to try other things, notepads, pocket notebooks, planners, etc. I need to make something with my hands and, loving words, and reading, and paper the way that I do, bookbinding feels like a good place to start.

Anticipating  So much pop culture goodness in 2018. There’s going to be some amazing movies dropping: Black Panther in February, A Wrinkle in Time in March, and Solo: A Star Wars Story in May, and the TV shows: A Handmaid’s Tale, and the return of Westworld, plus Game of Thrones, and maybe Atlanta. Oh, and the winter Olympics!

I’m also looking forward to the 2018 midterm election with great enthusiasm and anxiety. I’m hoping for a blue wave to wash across this country and cleanse the bad taste left in my mouth from the last round. I’m hoping we can take back our dignity and have faith once again, for the first time, in our institutions. I’m hoping the course can be corrected and compassion will return to Congress, for the first time, too.

Reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus. A trilogy of Greek tragedies—“Agamemnon,” “The Libation Bearers” and “The Eumenides”—that follows members of House of Atreus through murder, revenge, and eventually the end of a family curse. Apparently, it is the only surviving example of such a play and considered Aeschylus’s best work. I had never heard of it before but instead chose it from the many used books I won from Macrolit.

I didn’t hit my goal of 30 books this year, I only read 22, but it’s better than the year before and I plan to do even better in 2018. I’ve set another goal of 30 books, but I’m secretly hoping to read 40. I’ve carved out 30 minutes of every afternoon to read, and if I feel up to it, I can read before bed too. I’ll be getting a new library card, and trying ebooks again too to remove any financial obstacles. 30 books, no excuses!

Watching Black Mirror season 4 on Netflix. I have waited all year for this show. To be honest, I binged it in two days, and I’m already done, but it was so good I plan to watch it all again. The wait was worth it and not for a second did I feel let down. The” San Junipero” episode will always have a special place in my heart but some of this seasons came close to topping it. I highly recommend it! I’ve also finished The Crown, and I’m working my way through Planet Earth II.

Learning nothing right now. In the latter half of the year, I let learning go. My goal had been to watch a new Crash Course episode every day, work on a little math, and complete the International Health and Human Rights course on Coursera, but I didn’t get to any of it. So, I’m trying to start again. I’m trying to come up with a plan. I love learning, and I never want to let myself think I have done enough, learned all I needed to, or that knowledge and learning are not a top priority in my life.

Feeling a lot less stressed now that the holidays are over but also more stressed because some big changes are coming around the corner. My mother is moving in with us again, we’re fixing up the house, and we are getting married, I’ve been driving and slowly getting over this phobia so I can get my license in the next few months. After all that there will be school and maybe, possibly, talks about finally expanding this little family of ours. I feel like my life is going to begin soon, for real this time, and I am so happy and scared.

Needing a little love and patience, now more than ever. My anxiety has been worse, and depression is only barely being kept at bay. I’m doing my best to be strong and face my fears and my future and to do while working with my partner rather than against her. We need one another. We’ve made so much progress together this year, and I want us to keep going. We have to remember to love each other and be patient with each other, no matter what! We’re both flawed, but we’re both good, and smart, and creative, and worth every frustrating moment and every ounce of strength it takes to listen, communicate, and compromise too.

Loving that this year I will get to ring in the New Year in style, surrounded by my friends and my girlfriend. Not that there is anything wrong with easing into another year, but we’ve done that, and as nervous as I am to look nice, and have fun, and not make a fool of myself tonight, it feels good to do something different. It feels good to know that I will be with people. I’ll have people who like and care for me with me, and I’ll have complete strangers too. People I don’t know and may have nothing at all in common with except that we are alive right now and got to see another day, together. It’s beautiful. Plus there will be an open bar!

Hating how these little breaks from work never seem to be enough. The weekends aren’t enough either. I want so much more time to enjoy the things I love, my family, my friends, my hobbies, and my pets, but I’m always kept away by work and by trying to find work that can get me out of this work. I hate that this is just the way that the world works. That we all have to spend so much time doing things that don’t make us feel good just to keep a roof and a bit of food. My job isn’t the worst, but it isn’t what I love. It isn’t what I wish I were doing. It isn’t for a lot of you I am guessing, and I just think it’s all such a sad shame.

Hoping that in 2018 we can all find a way to spend a little more time doing things we love, without guilt or fear. Work is a reality, but it doesn’t have to be all there is. It shouldn’t be all there is. There can be hobbies, and side hustles, and small joys all your own. Ones that you make happen and that no one can take from you. I hope you find some, make some, and share some too. I’m going to make things, and write things, and put more of myself out there for you to meet. I’m going to learn to say no to people and help others to say it too. I am going to learn to say yes, and hell yes, to myself as much as possible too.

All in all, this year was a batshit crazy one, and I am 100% sure 2018 will be just as batshit crazy or worse, but I’m here, and I am happy, despite it all. I hope this year was good to you, and if it wasn’t, I hope 2018 will be full of fresh starts and all the healing energy you need. I will post a proper list of resolutions and goals in the coming days, and if I feel up to it we may have a little coffee chat later too, but if I don’t see you, please, stay safe out there and remember that tomorrow you will be a the same you that you were today, only new.

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo is by Luke Hodde on Unsplash

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Progress Not Perfection, 2017

I thought I would skip this whole New year’s Resolution thing. I thought I would just keep going as I have been going and hope that December 31st, 2017 would find me better off than The year before. I thought I was wise. There is no “new year, new me” after all. I am smarter than that, I am better than that…or maybe I am just afraid.

This past year was a hard one. There was so much death and disappointment. There was so much I thought I was sure of, but I learned in the end that we are all living on much shakier and shiftier ground than we knew. I finally learned what I thought I knew,  that the world is big and scary and indifferent. So, I thought, why eve try?

But of course we should try, we should always, always try. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t at least consider what the new year could bring if I tried hard enough. Progress, not perfection is my mantra but progress cannot happen without a willingness to examine where you are, and an occasional course correction and I suppose that is what New Year’s Eve is all about.

So, here it is, my dreams and goals for 2017, a year I hope will have more good and less bad than 2016.

Yoga and less sugar. I hate physical activity, and I hate thinking about what I eat, but I am getting older now, and things have got to change. I’m not going promise a whole new lifestyle, but I promise to start I promise to try out a Yoga habit and to be more aware of the amount of sugar I am consuming.

 

30 books, for real this time. I failed my reading goal this year, but I don’t care, I read way more than I did in 2015, so I am happy. This year I am going to have a reading plan, a list of specific books to read so that I don’t waste any time.

A new direction in writing. This year I am going to be very busy. I am going to be working more hours at work, and I am going to spend more time writing. I want to put together a collection of poetry. I want to work on this novel and possibly start on a sequel for next year’s NaNoWriMo. I want to write more on science, philosophy, and current events too. I hope to do everything I can to start getting paid for these words too.

Snail mail! I have always wanted a pen pal, and I think 2017 is as good a year as any to get one. I love snail mail and paper products, and I’d love to have a reason to start making things and sending them out to someone. I need a reason to experiment I suppose.

Weekend trips and a real vacation? I want to see new places, eat new foods, and breathe new air. I want to stimulate my mind and make some memories. I want to get out of this town and see the ways that other people live. I want to slow time and see the world.

I will never be a real artist. I had to choose between language and art and writing was something I could never let go of no matter how much art pulled. So, art will be regulated to nothing but a silly thing I do when the words don’t come so easily. I look forward to sharing my doodles with you.

Do scary things! There are two things hat give me terrible anxiety, and they are two things I need to be able to do if I want to start changing my life in real and meaningful ways. I need to meet new people, and I need to get over my fear of driving. Every day next year I will do one scary thing. I will tweet someone I admire, I will share ugly drawings, I will ask for help, I will drive to the store, and I will submit work wherever I can. I will do the thing!

I know that even though a new year starts tomorrow that doesn’t mean I am instantly a new me. I know that change takes time and hard work. I know that I need dedication and motivation. I know I have to be flexible and let myself fail a few times too.

Tomorrow I will still be me, but I will try to be a better me. Maybe I will make it and maybe I won’t but I will treat January 2nd the same way, and January 3rd, 4th, 5th, and so one all the way to December 31st, 2017. A new year is a new chance, and so is every day of that.

I hope we all make progress. I hope we all find what we are looking for, learn to love ourselves and each other, and come out a little better than we hoped. That would all be wonderful, but even if we all just survive with our hope and curiosity intact we will have accomplished more than most.

Good luck to you all in the coming year.

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Currently // December 2016

Welp, we’ve come to the end of another month, and I wanted to take a moment to share with you how I feel, all the changes I have made, and everything I am looking forward to. Here is what I am currently:

Writing poems, lots of poems. I am trying something a little different for awhile. I used to hate poetry but over the past year I’ve written a few small things here and there just to change it up, and I’ve slowly fallen in love with the medium. I’m thinking of putting together a collection next year if I can write anything worth sharing.

Planning my wedding! We’ve been engaged for so long, but we can’t ever seem to save enough to manage our time well enough to make it happen. We’ve had to push the date back again, BUT we have chosen a venue, and we even made a guest list. It’ll happen eventually, sigh.

Making a mini-zine all about how much I suck at making zines. I got the idea from this beautifully messy Tumblr post all about zine making. I’m over thinking the whole thing, I know, and I am scared too. I want to make something perfect, and that just isn’t the point. The words are the point. The ideas and the feelings and getting them out that is what I need to focus on.

Anticipating all the great movies, music, and TV shows coming in 2017. The return of Game of Thrones and Stranger Things! Star Wars: Episode VIII, Logan, and Wonder Woman! And, maybe, that fabled Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole project will drop? It’s going to be a wonderful year in pop culture.

Reading Republic by Plato. Wow, this is not a very fun read, but there are some pretty important ideas in this book, and I think I should try to understand them. I’ve been thinking a lot about elections, and democracy, and the inherent flaws of various systems of government, and I hear Plato had a few things to say on the subject.

Watching nothing at the moment. I finished TheOA, True Detective, and Narcos all within the last month. I’m on the lookout for some new shows to watch so if you have any recommendations drop them in the comments, please.

Feeling lost. I feel like I am floating out in the middle of the ocean with no idea in which direction to start swimming. I desperately want to find land, but I don’t know how to get there.  My self-esteem has taken a dip in the last few months, but I feel incredibly motivated and hopeful. I want to do something, but I don’t know what I can do or if I will be any good at whatever it is.

Needing to get back to my regular schedule already. I had hoped that having all this time off would be good for my writing but the holidays ruined all of that. I tried but the truth is having a day job is the best thing for me right now. It gives me a reason to get up early. It gives me a schedule to keep. It gives me a place to work quietly and away from distraction and the pull of Netflix and my couch. Just a few more days.

Loving this bit of advice from Seth Godin. This past year I didn’t write as much on current events as I wanted to simply because I felt I didn’t know enough about an issue to have anything to say about it. I told myself I didn’t know the first thing about politics, war, and civil rights but Seth reminded me that I did. I know something, I know how I feel so far, and I know that I don’t know it all, and knowing all that means I can start.

Hating Donald Trump, still. Sorry but I’m not sorry. The man seems to be doing whatever the hell he wants and making the entire country and nearly every institution we hold dear look like one big joke. I am embarrassed by him, and I am angry beyond words about his appointments and conflicts of interest.

Hoping that 2017 will be a year of motivation and milestones. I am working on a list of resolutions to share with you either later today or early tomorrow. There is a lot I want to do, and I think with focus and flexibility I can make some big things happen.

All in all, I had a good month and despite my emotional ups and downs, the deepening dread I feel for our collective future, and the stress of gift giving and receiving, I honestly felt surrounded by love and warmth and grateful for all the people in my life. I’m looking forward to January, and to 2017, and an incrementally better me, hopefully :)

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If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering (:

The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image via Unsplash