Yesterday, I established that for me 2016 was a bad year. I also said that I am working on goals for myself. Not resolutions, but goals that can be hammered at with various levels of success without giving up. Part of establishing goals is taking a look at the state of each thing currently. For me, I can only set goals on tangible things, things that I actually wield some control and influence over.
Of course, I'd love to just say "I'll be happier!" in 2017, but that doesn't mean anything. How will I be happier? What makes me happy? What if what makes me happy is completely beyond my control?
The truth is that all goals are in the pursuit of happiness. They fulfill different needs within us that lead to contentment and happiness if we achieve them. They also offer lifelines to us when things start going wrong. Essentially, goals are about making ourselves stronger and able to withstand what life would throw our way, which makes us able to enjoy those moments when happiness is a real thing.
So, with all that in mind, here are my goals for 2017 with ideas on how to achieve them (and they're all important, so order doesn't matter here):
My health deteriorated in 2016. I gained weight, exercised less than I have in 15 years, and I have physical pain and more (some linked to this asinine behavior of mine, and others just a nifty nasty new present the universe decided to lob at my head.) I cannot live like this. I do not want to live like this.
My goals include getting back to the original program that worked for me so many years ago (that I stayed on for a few years, and maintained with.) This should result in significant weight loss, but my real goal is now health (and less pain.) This goal includes my husband, because we're in our mid-40's now and I worry about heart attacks and the like, especially in his case.
I feel like I am starting from square one again, something I haven't felt in about 15 years, and it's depressing. But it's important to remember that just because you are starting again, it doesn't mean you'll stay at the beginning. Eventually, you can accomplish so much and not feel so bad about where you are at anymore. This starting point will be that distant memory soon enough.
Every year, I do an art quilt. This has all the work I did for the year in it, and this is 2016:
What I see here is 99% of the work I completed in 2016, and how little I actually created. Depression hit me hard, and while I mostly made it out of bed, I didn't make it into the studio. My heart wasn't in it, or much of anything. I do see some growth, a gradual switch back to oils (finally!) and a few other things... but mostly, I see that I am lost.
I work in separate genres (surreal and fantasy, and dabble with abstracts still), and while I have been this way for a long time, I have lost my "voice" in all of those over the past few years. I'm not sure why that happened. Maybe it's a natural consequence of growth, and it's normal and you just have to find it again. I certainly hope so.
I had so many goals at the end of 2015, because I thought that is what I needed to focus on in my career. The problem with losing your artistic voice and vision is that more production when you are uninspired and lost isn't possible or reasonable. You think it's the answer because it means money, and you think you'll figure it out while you sell what you create in the meantime. It's the wrong focus.
2017 is going to be different. In some ways, I realize I have lost certain skills, or simply don't have what I need yet. 2017 is going to be about pulling back. I'm going to sort of cocoon myself in my studio and LEARN. I want and need to learn several new techniques. I need to paint, without the intent to sell, without that pressure, so that I can give myself the room to grow again.
Will I continue to sell? Oh, sure, I have a thriving business and that will continue... but sort of on the back burner. It's not my focus for 2017, and I'm lucky enough to be able to take the space to try and improve myself as an artist. I have a long way to go, but to me, this is worth more than selling a painting ever again.
And there you have it, my goals! I thought there would be more, but I think it is best if I stick close to home, simple, and quiet with them.
I have personal goals, but they're kind of vague. I also suspect a lot of my personal goals and feeling better in general will be directly linked to achieving my health and art goals. Mind, body, and spirit. I sincerely want my spirit to stop feeling so wounded. I feel... like I'm bleeding, all the time, everywhere. I don't believe this is linked to just one thing, and I certainly cannot share publicly the deeper thoughts and issues I struggle with, because let's face it, the Internet hordes would crucify me. You cannot be totally human any more, not in person, and certainly not online.
So, I'll simply say that I hope for better. For health, and peace, and balance that 2016 lacked so significantly for me. I cannot control the world, what 2017 will pelt us all with from the outside. I CAN control what happens within my bubble and focus on being a better me.
I expect that I will be doing a lot more blogging about my progress on these goals, because it will be moving in the right direction and I think I would like to share that.
Do you have goals for 2017? Are you ready?