Is your 2017 off to a good start? I hope so! And yes, you read that title correctly. I’m focusing on setting myself up for a very different 2018 during this year.
Sneaky changes over the last couple years had me feeling that my sense of fun and my willpower went on a vacation without me. This is Gail speaking, mom to Sam who is my blog partner, creative buddy, and oldest of my three kids; grandma to her children Abbi and Ella; bogged-down creative person, and on-the-upswing-now sufferer of chronic depression.
Story. Stick with me; there’s a happy ending :)
Chronic depression really is a sneaky thing. A person can often be “on”, feel “on” when amongst a group but underneath that and when alone, it is a different story. Lack of physical energy. A “just don’t care enough” mentality about pretty much everything in spite of often having great plans to conquer … well, everything. I manifest this in a gigantically successful Tune Out technique: take a nap, read a book, games on computer, facebook (because that’s just thinking and typing, not requiring the changing out of pajamas. I’m great at cheering *you* on and googling stuff.) A few things break through and energize me — getting together with Abbi and Ella being my favorite frequent one.
I know I live my life on cycles of up and down. I have had to balance my energy since my 20s, not overdoing it when riding the top of a wave in order to conserve the ability to keep going when in the bottom part of the shorter term energy cycles. Most of this is from the fibromyalgia I suffer from, but part is the chronic depression — longer cycles, and there’s probably a part that’s “just me” and/or normal. When Sam and I started this blog, I can see that I was at the top of a less-depressed cycle, and had been for quite a while. Having gotten used to it — taking it for granted — the downswing snuck up and sucked me down big time. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 18 or so months working hard at Tuning Out in the ways listed above. And know what?
I AM BORED.
Yay!!! Three cheers! Woohoo!
An interesting doctor appointment mid-autumn for a medicine switch, where I was a firm and repetitive advocate for my need to sleep well every night, has begun to have payoffs. #1 payoff being Sleep! Every night. Aaaaah, waking up and not feeling the need to take a nap all day long. Going to bed, and feeling sleepiness that transforms to sleeping through until morning. I have energy! I feel hope in being able to get on with long-undone tasks! My innate optimism isn’t reduced to just a tiny core part of me, but is slowly repermeating my thinking.
Remember this Studio redo I was working on? Yeah, not done, and I haven’t done much creating in all that time, either. Most of the time I didn’t even have the urge. But now, not only am I noticing that spark of creativity and nurturing it into a flame, I have plans and a timeline in place for finishing that redo along with a few other big projects and to-do list items that are very overdue. And I can see beyond the difficult tasks to the payoffs. I can see beyond the work of 2017 and into the reward of 2018.
Just after that appointment with my doctor, God (the Universe, whatever higher power you want to attribute serendipitous things to) threw a few opportunities my way and I accepted.
The first: Susannah Conway’s “Find Your Word” series of emails. Five emails, a clear process, worksheets even. I now have a word of the year that is meaningful, inspiring, and exactly right.
The second: the Rituals For Living Dreambook + Planner from Dragontree. Oh yeah. Big time life changes can be dreamed of, organized, and made into reality with this system! I’m both terrified in a good way, and excited to have all aspects of ME marching in the same direction toward a future that *I* dreamed up, dream of, have written down with the help of questions and exercises in the Dreambook.
This year, 2017, is all about “Shed” as a command word. Shed the too-much-stuff that’s been hanging around, increasing and getting messier and being a huge black cloud on my horizon. Actually, that cloud has been parked over the top of my head for a while.
Next, Shed some weight, not by dieting per se, but by eating the way I want to always eat — implementing my dream of being a healthy person by feeding myself properly. And not just for a day or a week, or even a couple months at a time; but always. Because: not a “diet.”
Which brings us to: Shed old habits, some new, some old, that are not serving me — sitting on the couch too much (and as a catch phrase for all the other Tune Out list items); eating poorly because the “will today make any difference?” attitude was entrenched; not valuing my own goals and plans enough, and more.
Shedding stale dreams also has to happen. It’s kind of FREAKING ME OUT, but being honest with myself I can admit in my heart and head that there is no way I can ever master every creative thing I want to do in the years remaining to me. Prioritizing and cutting the bottom of that list away will free my mind to celebrate and anticipate the accomplishments, projects, and skills I plan to develop over the next 10 years (written!) and beyond (still dreaming.)
My major goals this year are from two categories, Accomplishments That End, and New Habits in Place. I will finish up quickly with my list, a thank you for sticking through to the end of this … what should it be called? statement of self? statement of self! … and a wish for you to have an amazing year!
- Declutter (muck out) and make functional three main areas of my house: garage, studio, and the miscellaneous dumping spot of master bedroom suite.
- Blogging regularly, meaning at least once a week, to reinstill my habit of creating.
- Read 12 books that aren’t pop fiction off of the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge categories.
- Eating well and wisely day after day to become the healthier person I really want to be.
- Exercise using an increasing plan with a goal marker of easily, safely, walking a 5K late this summer or in the fall.
- Stick with daily planner use, and with weekly, monthly, quarterly planning sessions as described in the RFL Dreambook. Acronym SNIP: Stick Nose In Planner.
- Begin learning Italian in preparation for a tour.
In summary, SHED what doesn’t serve, and find out what that dreamed-of future is like in reality.
Look out 2018, here I come!