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On resolutions January 11, 2019

Posted by thejinx in art, life.
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newyears2019When I was younger, I wasn’t crazy about New Year’s. (Admittedly, I didn’t get invited to many parties.) These days, however, I like the spirit of renewal. A blank slate. Casting off the wearied remnants of the old year and looking toward the bright potential of the future.

Yes, it’s an arbitrary date and people shouldn’t need an excuse to improve themselves. But it’s a landmark. A reminder, when we’re so often swept up in the chaos of our daily lives, that we should constantly be trying to better ourselves.

And now, in the Information Age, it’s easier than ever to do. Free apps can teach you a new language, how to play an instrument, how to draw and meditate and all sorts of things. YouTube videos can show you how to make or do almost anything. There’s a mountain of free ebooks and online courses out there that can help you master a new skill or subject. Most of these options are even broken down into chunks that only require a few minutes a day. There’s no excuse not to attempt any pursuit one might desire.

I don’t tend to make resolutions. I made an exception with my Goodreads reading challenge for 2019, and I’ll admit I like the push it gives me. Otherwise, however, I don’t want to pressure myself. I prefer goals. Google Fit keeps trying to get me to lower my fitness goals, make them more consistently attainable for me. But I’m not out to check boxes off every day. I want to strive for those goals. I won’t beat myself up if I don’t make them, but I’ll allow myself to feel good if I do.

I don’t have a lot of goals for 2019. I already started trying to exercise regularly a few months ago, and last year I made some changes to my health that significantly improved my overall quality of life. I want to read more, of course. I do want to try to get the second Sisters of Chaos book out this year. Editing continues to be a slog, but I’m using the spirit of improvement the new year provides to try to push myself to at least continue working on it.

Of course, with all these options for personal improvement out there, it’s hard not to get swept up in the different things one can learn or do. I look at the guitar(s) in my bedroom and think about the apps I’ve looked at to try to start playing again. I watch my daughter using new art supplies and think about breaking out some of my own that I haven’t touched for years. I even downloaded one of those language learning apps on a whim last night.

Is it too much? Maybe. Do I have too little time to explore all these interests? Maybe not, at least based on the apps I’ve seen. Will I lose interest before the month’s out? Possibly. But these options are better than just sitting around playing a silly mobile game or watching cat videos on YouTube, which I tend to do more often in my free time because it’s easier than doing anything that can be judged. Maybe my true resolution should be to stop being intimidated by starting anything.

The key to a good new year is not merely hoping or wishing that it will be better. Now’s the time to start making things happen.

Here’s to a great 2019.

20190108_192133

The year of trying more? Oil pastels, 2.5″ x 3.5″

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A time for reflection January 2, 2013

Posted by thejinx in life, writing.
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Interestingly, when it comes to new year celebrations/traditions, I am if anything less cynical than I was when I was younger. No, one shouldn’t need a calendar turning to reflect on one’s behaviors or attitude or resolve to improve oneself, but it does provide a useful milestone for doing so.

There are a number of things I should resolve to do for 2013. The common personal goals of exercising and perhaps losing weight. Trying to do more art, or any of the other hobbies/outlets I enjoy. Trying to be a better mother.

There isn’t much I want to or will resolve to do this year, however. For one thing, my daughter’s growth has me constantly reevaluating my free time and my priorities, so it’s difficult to plan for very large or general self-improvements. That also means that I have been modifying my free time and how to use it, particularly in the last few months.

A consistent problem with me is procrastination. Not necessarily that I don’t want to do something, but working myself up to doing it is often more difficult than necessary. I recently rediscovered a quote that sums up both my problem and the solution for it: “To think too much about doing something is often its undoing.” This is usually what causes me to put off what I should be doing, such as editing my next novel.

I’ve tried to reduce distractions in an attempt to help me focus on what needs to be done, like blocking time-wasting websites from my computer. But there are always other distractions to be had, which is something I’ve discovered with the latest attempt.

And so, in the past couple weeks, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not about reducing one’s distractions, but to just force myself to sit down and work on what needs to be done. It’s not easy to do, especially with a task as subjective and full of potential failure as editing. Ultimately, however, it’s not as difficult as I make it out to be in my mind when I just sit down and do it. So, I’ve made some pretty good progress in just the last week or so of December, compared to the rest of the month, and it’s momentum I intend to build on.

Truthfully, I’ve gotten a number of aspects of my life where I want them to be right now. I’ve started getting back into the convention circuit and put more work into my business. I’m getting better – at intervals – at handling being a stay-at-home mom. I don’t watch TV anymore and often don’t even spend evenings watching DVDs or Netflix. I am able to make myself get work done on my own projects.

Certainly, there are things that could stand to be improved upon. I would like to be able to devote at least some time to my other hobbies, and the number of books I read last year was dismal. But overall, I am pretty content with where my life is right now. I don’t see the new year as a time to make changes so much as an opportunity to reflect on the past and keep myself on track. And at the moment, I’m feeling pretty hopeful about it.

Happy new year, everyone.

Kung Hei Fat Choi June 1, 2008

Posted by thejinx in art, calendar.
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New art:

With that, the 2009 catgirl calendar is underway. Seeing as it’s already June, I’m going to focus on the calendar for the next little bit. I’d like to get it done early for once.