Twenty Sixteen, Slate Wiped Clean

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are my favorite holidays.  It’s a time to first reflect upon the past year or years, evaluate and reset if necessary, then look actively toward the future.  Plus, since my birthday is June 30th, I have two neatly divided 6 month periods within the year for this work.  It’s convenient and satisfying for me, and I thought I might iterate the process in public this time around.

I keep a 5 year journal.  I’m on year three.  These haven’t necessarily been the most active years of my life, but they sure do contain the widest range of emotion I’ve ever experienced, and writing each day while reading back on the two years prior is a pretty wild ride.  With entries beginning like, “Home sweet home!  What a dream,”  (not joking), 2014 started completely differently than it ended, with a small but whopping handful upheaving and unforseen events.  The following year, however, began smack dab in the middle of the worst crisis of my life.  It occurred more than once that my entry merely muttered something about “darkness the likes of which I thought I’d never see again.”  My only real goal that New Year was just to keep making it day to day, and say yes to anything that would help me survive, even if it meant sacrificing a bead (or a loaf) of precious mental health.

Well, this one feels big for me.  

Forgive me if this comes off as boasting, but I haven’t felt this at peace, this happy, and this hopeful in a long time.  Here’s why:

First, I finally have the energy to even consider my health again.  I took a pretty long fall from where I was as far as diet and exercise goes in early 2014 and prior, because out of necessity I had to cram those things into the “everything else” folder just beyond “just keep swimming.”  I un-did a lot of really wonderful habits, and introduced some that I’ll now have to un-do.  But my goodness, what an utter joy to have energy to put forth in the arena of optimization again.

Second, and I’ve been holding out on gushing about this until now, I really love my day job working as a support assistant for Dribbble.  Though of course I’ll always be at least a low-grade coffee nerd, I was burnt worse than Folgers on working in the food service industry.  It’s a bad place for introverts, and for conservationists.  The move has been a greatly needed and wholly positive change for me.  My co-workers are a tiny team of genuine human beings, and the company is a vital player in the global design community, which I’m on the fringe of as an artist/illustrator.  Since I get to work remotely, I can travel.  This helps me feel certain that I can be there for my sister when it starts being “baby time,” and for my parents as they age.  I can move around without having to completely start over each time.  The level of feeling free that this job has provided me is absolutely priceless.

Third, I’m very happy about where my creative life is heading this year.  There are some clients I’m looking forward to working with that I can’t quite discuss yet.  My sister and I are talking about a children’s book, as she’s a writer.  I’m also finally making headway on my Tarot deck, which is named Tall Grass.  In addition, my Etsy store is up and running, with some product photography and a lot more items on the way.  I’m planning on giving my website a second glance, finally (overhaul.)  I’m getting more serious about a writing schedule for this blog, which I greatly enjoy writing in spite of pretty much no one reading it.  I’m adamantly staking out the space in my schedule to work on these personal projects.  

I’m also staking out space for nothing at all for the first time in almost a year and a half.  I’m making room to say “no” to client projects by lowering my overhead and of course working to increase income.  I’m scheduling myself some margin between projects.  I’m taking at least one day completely off per week.  I’m going to get myself to the ocean this year, and possibly out of the country for a spell.

There’s a primary and personal difference, too, between this budding phase of contentment and past phases.  This time my happiness is one hundred percent of my own making.  Well, no one is an island, and of course I’m shaped and helped everyday by the endless spring of human kindness and those who support me, but I’m specifically referring to a lack of dependence on a partner in this regard.  I don’t depend on a person other than me for things continuing to go well or for my plans to come to fruition, so I feel an odd absence of anxiety about doing what I hope to do in 2016.  In all honesty, that is a new feeling for me.

This post is sort of a blanket of feelings toward 2016.  I’ll have a few more posts  in January pertaining to my specific resolutions, my annual i Ching consultation, and thoughts on setting goals in general.