Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cautiously optimistic (intentions for 2012)

I feel a bit torn about sharing plans and resolutions, here as well as offline. I find myself talking about some "project" I am working on and I worry it sounds pretentious. But I like the accountability that comes with sharing. I often tell people about my plans and dreams, in the hope that it will give me more of an incentive to actually realise them instead of having to admit failure or defeat. But I don't really care if I have to do the latter - I have become more gentle with myself. It also helps not to have a strict timeline - all those things I wanted to do years ago may be part of a (never actually expressed as such) ten-year plan, in which case I still have a year or two...

A lot of my long-term dreams have come true. I always wanted to live in Ireland, by the sea, and that's what I'm doing (the donkey in the garden hasn't materialised yet, though, but there is a field full of them just around the corner). I wanted to work as an artist, and although I'm not a full-time artist, I am happy I am working in the arts and grateful that I get the odd commission, and I find teaching fulfilling and inspiring. But in the last few years I have felt a bit stuck, stagnating, and although I realise that it may have been necessary, a time of healing, this year I have felt ready to get out of it.

Some years I didn't make any resolutions, and I can't say with certainty whether making any would have changed anything, but I found that this year it helped me to have some words to guide me.  I wrote them on the first page of my notebook and checked in occasionally. For me not making any feels like there is no structure; time just goes by without the thrill of new beginnings and fresh starts.

For 2011 I wanted to focus on the areas of health, work (the freelance part), relationships and fitness. I did get my health back in order, and I started exercising seriously as opposed to half-arsed. I got my own website, though never developed it (and haven't told many real-life people), and I started to work on something that I hope will turn into part-time work someday (small steps). I also connected with people more. 

So this year I want to continue with and build on all of the above.
As well as:

- Get better at working from home. Dedicate a portion of the day to working on commissions, etc., and stop telling people I'm flexible and available.

- Keep running and swimming and vary my routine more. Maybe sign up for a race or two. And walk more. Also finally acquire all the appropriate gear I need for these activities. It took me years to get the few items I own. I love clothes, but workout clothes were never a priority for me. Now that I have realised that not having any clean running clothes can easily stop me from going for a run, I will get some more - and I might even get walking boots (for hill walking).

- Get my hair cut professionally at least four times. For years I never went to the hairdresser, arguing that with long hair you didn't need to. I cringe when I look at old photos. Bad hair days aplenty. And although my sisters are quite capable, when I finally discovered the benefits of having your hair cut professionally it was a eureka moment, as I became aware that this was one important part of self-care and self-respect I had ommitted for so long, a simple ritual of changing your outer appearance and along with it something within (yes, I feel quite strongly about the transformative powers of having someone take care of your hair).

-Follow the skincare regimen that seems to work at the moment (involving oils - more soon) and start wearing SPF again

- Draw every day, anything

- Daily meditation, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation (I did well for a while, but fell off the mat in the last couple of months)

-Similarly, deep breathing every day - so important for overall health and calm, and so easy to forget

-Send more snail mail. I have a proper fountain pen and a small stationery collection. It's one of life's pleasures to receive something in the mail, but it has become so rare.

- Eat sugar-, dairy- and wheat-free most of the time, but treats are allowed.

- Be a better friend (see snail mail, but also to those around me - make more of an effort. I have lost touch with several old friends, and I am to blame for the most part. I know this is bound to happen after living in three different countries, but I could have been better at correspondence. Recent e-mails from people I haven't seen in years have moved me, and I intend to write more and see the friends who live near me more often)

-Maybe start cohabiting

So nothing major, no huge adventures planned (although the last thing on the list feels huge to me), but all these small things feel like steps in the right direction, and most importantly, they feel right.


  1. Great goals for 2012! I need to get myself in gear and set mine in concrete, too, while my resolve is still strong!

  2. I like your intention for 2012. Mine are very similar to yours, I especially want to write more letters to my friends and families-I have spent a lot of money on amazing stationary that I hardly ever use :)BTW I'm so happy I discovered your blog. I love it!

  3. Thanks, Catherine - looking forward to reading yours if you decide to share them!

    Thank you, Angeliki - I know, I have stationery that I bought over ten years ago!