While I do value personal growth, I've never been much for any books that could be comfortably shelved in the "Self-Help" section of the bookstore. Maybe it stems from the working class notion that life is hard and you just deal with it, or maybe it was just a bias of youth, but those kinds of books have always seemed so New Age-y and self-absorbed to me. But several weeks ago, and I don't even remember where or how, I stumbled upon a reference to Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher. One look at those customer reviews and an excerpt from the book, and I knew I had found my people. I love books, but I rarely buy them for myself. It seems so extravagant a luxury when money is so tight and the library is free, but I ordered this one without hesitation. It sounds dramatic, but I just knew this book was going to change my life. And it has, if in no other way than finally identifying myself as a "Scanner" has assured me that I'm not alone and re-colored my view of myself. I'm not a sidetracked loser, hopeless dabbler or a Jack-of-all-trades because I have so many interests, passions, and talents. The trail of diverse (and often unfinished) projects and accomplishments in my wake is not evidence of failure or a lack of discipline, but instead the work of a creative mind not content to follow just one path--a Renaissance person. I can't tell you the number of times that I've bemoaned my lack of one singular, passionate focus in life. "But, I love art! And music! And embroidery and sewing and making things with my hands! And self-sufficiency! And cooking and baking! And vintage stuff! And history! And writing! And blogging! And graphic design! And hair and beauty! And feminism and women's issues! And homeschooling my children! And camping! And foraging for wild foods! And taking photos!" I could go on, but you get the idea. I'm just so damn excited about and interested in so many things. And because I'm pulled in so many directions, I end up feeling overwhelmed, disorganized, and unfocused. It has affected my self-esteem, and it has certainly affected my blogging (or lack thereof). All the blogging advice out there tells you that you must have a theme, or at least a somewhat narrowed focus, but that has been next to impossible for me. What is the underlying theme of all of my interests and passions? I know creativity is huge for me and underlies nearly everything I do, as well as appreciation for and love of the past. But how do I weave all of these varied and sometimes disparate interests into one blog package that anyone but my mom wants to read? And how do I focus on one or two things long enough to actually accomplish anything? I still don't have those answers, but I am on track to figuring out who I am, and it's only taken me (nearly) 33 years to get here!
2012 was not a particularly bad year for me, but it ended on a bit of a rough note with some new challenges and a health scare. For 48 hours, I was faced with the very real worry that my body was failing me. And besides the gut-wrenching fear that I might not get to raise my babies or spend a lifetime with my soul mate, do you know what pained me the most? Not that I wouldn't get to travel, to see amazing technological advances, or finally learn to fold a fitted sheet properly, but that I wouldn't get to make all the art that lives inside my head and heart. Over the last few years, I have been slowly growing more comfortable with the idea of identifying myself as an artist. I am more sure than ever that I want and really need to make art and live an even more creative life. So that is high on my list of priorities for this year. I have purchased a large sketchbook which will double as a sketchbook (duh!) and my "Scanner's Daybook" as suggested by Sher in Refuse To Choose!. Basically, the daybook is a place to record each and every idea we Scanners have throughout the course of a day or week or month. No matter how crazy an idea or how unlikely we are to ever follow through with it, getting all of these ideas out of our heads and on paper for safe keeping means we can return to them someday, or at the very least have a really great time letting our imaginations run wild for a little while. Most importantly, and this is what really resonated with me, it teaches us to value our ideas and the way our multifaceted brains work. I have discarded so many ideas with the excuse that it's not realistic, not possible, I don't have enough time, I already have a million unfinished projects, that would be cool to try if I had another lifetime, and on and on. Valuing all my crazy ideas means valuing myself and the particular way that I'm wired instead of beating myself up for my lack of focus and discipline. I'm also vowing to be better at sharing all these things I love and do with the world, rather than trying to edit myself down to less than a full picture of me. In no particular order, here is my list of my priorities for 2013:
making art of all kindsAnything else I accomplish is just gravy. So, that is where my head is on this second day of a new year. I hope 2013 is full of wonderful things for all of us. Have you made any resolutions or set any goals for this year?
keeping a sketchbook of ideas
focus on The Beauty Saloon and other print on demand business goals
more homeschooling projects
more reading with my girls
taking better care of myself
blogging more frequently