Hey there, Pollywog!
As I mentioned last year, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, words of the year*, or anything along those lines. For me, for various reasons, they’re a giant nope sundae with a drizzle of hot nope sauce, topped off with a generous dollop of whipped let’s just not.
But! I do seriously enjoy my yearly reviews. They’re the perfect way to celebrate the things I did and made… and to acknowledge the things that put on a pair of combat boots and kicked me square in the keister.
They’re also a way to suggest to myself, in a very tentative and low-pressure way, some things I might want to work on this year.
So without further ado, in Look List fashion….
Things that kicked ass.
- Continued to work on the Persistent Polymath and play around with site design, banners, and graphics.
- Created the Creating In Chaos and Show and Tell series; am especially proud of this post.
- Started at least a dozen post drafts and dictated about two hours of bloggy ideas into Audacity.
- Became completely and utterly obsessed with drawing. Experimented with new tools, materials, techniques. Started and finished dozens of pieces and shared with friends, clients, co-workers, and even curious strangers at the library.
- Made a mixed media necklace, which you can see here.
- Also made several pairs of earrings from old Spirograph pieces — which I love and wear all the freaking time.
- Re-rooted several dolls using a new, faster re-rooting technique.
- Became obsessed with doll photography and took literally hundreds of photos. Experimented with lighting, props, backgrounds, and basic photo editing in PicMonkey.
- Expanded my physical comfort zone and made the library my second home. Checked out all kinds of books and movies, and spent hours and hours in the cafe area with my art supplies.
- Moved into my very first apartment and made the place a home — a fun, comfortable, quirky, and clean place to live.
- Set up spreadsheets to track my expenses and income. Kept consistent with them for the whole year.
- Made more money pet-sitting than last year and explored new ways of finding clients.
- Found a part-time job to supplement my pet-sitting income — an amazing place that I love and care about, full of great people, free chocolate, great customers… and plenty of secondhand awesomeness to spend my paycheck on.
- Started collecting secondhand miniatures again, including a miniature cash register, assorted Christmas and Halloween decorations, and two adorable alligator figures I’ve named Leopold and Loeb.**
- Created a very creepy dolly diorama for Halloween… which I still haven’t taken down.
- Generally became more independent and adulty. Renewed my car registration and driver’s license by myself, learned to do my own navigating to and from new clients’ homes, and even replaced my own power steering fluid.
- Focused on emotional healing and finding healthy ways to deal with grief, depression, and anxiety — including drawing, journaling, yoga, and little therapy sessions with myself in Audacity.
- Became closer with friends and supported them through some very rough times — and vice versa.
- Branched out and made new friends. Met some seriously amazing and interesting and kind people, including artists, writers, and musicians.
Things that kicked my ass.
- Often avoided Persistent Polymath because of technical and design issues.
- Let my own instincts drown in a sea of blogging and business advice written by people who, for the most part, don’t write the same content or have the same goals and values as I do.
- In several cases, did not say no to clients and other commitments that I didn’t have the time or energy for. As a result, felt exhausted, stressed, resentful, and wimpy.
- Cared for a senior dog who needed more care/supervision than I could provide.
- Took on a dog-sitting client who needed more care/supervision/coddling than I could provide. Let client put me in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation when she expected me to stay the night with complete strangers in addition to the dog.
- Cared for a cat I not-so-affectionately nicknamed Little Satan. Was scratched and bitten and generally traumatized because clients deliberately lied about cat’s temperament. Did not confront clients about this.
- Had a few stressful encounters with creepy men who didn’t understand the concept of physical boundaries.
- Dealt with unwanted six-legged house guests for several months before landlord finally took care of them.
- Lost my best friend and favorite dog to old age. I still miss you, B-dog, and I’ll never forget you.
- Before landing the awesome second job, took on a part-time job with a generally horrible boss at another job. Lasted five days before I quit on the spot, never to return.
This was a tough year for a lot of reasons, but I have to say that overall, it was a year of growing up. Becoming a more solid adult, expanding my creative, emotional, and physical comfort zones, and getting to know myself.
More than anything, it became a year of moving on. Mourning the loss of my old life, realizing that I wanted and needed to build a new one, and taking some huge steps to make that happen.
On the polymath front, it was also a year of playing around with polymathy.
I’m the type who focuses obsessively on one interest for months, or years, before moving on to the next. This year plenty of little odds and ends found their way into my life. Some of it was a conscious decision, but a lot of it just happened.
Besides everything I mentioned above, I did some painting and worked on my bed quilt. I helped a friend with weeding and learned about different types of plants… and how fun it is to rip the little buggers out of the ground.*** I forged some copper clasps, made a few new soups including spicy black bean and carrot ginger, did some nonfiction writing, and even edited a story I wrote years and years ago.
And I have to say, as intense as I can get when there’s something new I’m chasing after, I can see the benefit of switching things up a little more. It kept my mind fresh and my ideas flowing. It kept the intensity from getting out of control.
In typical Look List fashion, the thing I’m the most proud of is the drawing. I love a lot of the things I made, but more than anything, I love that this new obsession is turning me into a different person. Or maybe just helping me become more myself? Either way, I’m glad it happened.
And if there’s anything I neglected that I wish I’d made more time for, it’s dolls — sewing for them, but also just playing with them. I unpacked most of my things last year, but one thing I didn’t set up was all my little doll rooms/dioramas. I might want to do that this year.
Speaking of things I might want to do….
Suggestions for this year
As I said before, I’m just not into resolutions. As someone who’s still building confidence in her ability to follow through on projects, and who has come to learn that the most interesting and rewarding things (like drawing) are often unplanned, I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself.
But. At this moment in time, I have some things I might want to do, and these things might just make my life better. I may or may not get around to them. My priorities may or may not change as the days, weeks, and months go by. Nevertheless, here they are:
- I might want to keep experimenting with polymathy — to move further away from the single-minded focus I tend to slip into and closer to juggling or rotating my interests.
- I might want to keep drawing and keep boredom at bay by finding new ways to play with materials and techniques.
- I might want to add doll customizing and photography to the mix again.
- I might want to discover a new obsession. Maybe something I abandoned years ago, or maybe something I’ve never done before — as I write this, micro mosaics look promising, and so does weaving.
- I might want to put more time and energy into Persistent Polymath. To post more frequently about a wider variety of topics, find a site design I’m genuinely excited about, and work the little bugs out of the site.
- I might want to ignore any and all blogging advice that doesn’t fit who I am and what I want to do.
- I might want to keep making new friends and discovering new things about myself.
- I might want to put time and energy into friendships I already have.
- I might want to put more energy into relationships with people who reciprocate my interest… and spend less time chasing people who just aren’t interested.
- I might want to practice saying no to the things that overwhelm me, stress me out, take too much of my time, and generally make me cranky.
- I might want to practice standing up to people who don’t respect my boundaries.
- I might want to continue exploring adulting and do it on my own terms.
And that, my Pollywog pal, concludes my review for the year. Now it’s your turn: how did your year go? What were the things that kicked ass… and kicked your ass? What are the things you might want to do this year?
*But if I had to pick a word, it would be bacon.
**I know. I’m deranged.
***Deranged and mildly barbaric!