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Looking ahead to 2019

Do you make new year’s resolutions? At what point do you decide what they’re going to be?

I imagine that if you make them up on the fly on new year’s day – when you’re feeling bloated and uncomfortable after all the eating of the preceding month or so, and possibly hungover from the night before – swearing off booze and being determined to eat more healthily are likely to top the list. Aaaand, of course, the chances of breaking those resolutions within the month are that much higher.

I’m not much of a one for resolutions. I prefer to set goals, and new year’s day is as good a time as any.

I’m toying with the idea of doing something fairly major next year, and I don’t want to enter into it lightly, so I’m thinking about it quite carefully to decide whether it is an achievable goal.

I’m considering a fast of sorts. A few years ago, I decided to challenge my serious shoe habit and go on a year’s ‘shoe fast’. In the end, the fast went on for 18 months for a variety of reasons. But the fact is that I managed it. This time around, I’m thinking of swearing off new things altogether. Obviously I will continue to buy toiletries, food and the essentials – although, even there, I have been trying for some time to make more and buy less, and to buy sustainable, ethical products – but I’m thinking of things like clothes, shoes, jewellery, phones, appliances, furniture, bed linen, etc. I wonder if I could go a whole year without buying anything new. If I can’t find it pre-owned or make it myself, I go without.

For the most part, I’m fairly confident. But there are a few things I have to consider.

  1. Most significantly, purchases for the home don’t just affect me. I share my home with Mr Namasi. And he would have to be on board with the idea of nothing new for a year. If he wants a new sofa, my goal of only buying pre-owned items might be at risk, but I can’t strongarm him into abiding by goals he didn’t set and had no say in. This is what project managers call a ‘dependency’.
  2. Some items I’m confident I can make or repair. Others I’m not so sure of. For example, I have never made a bra. The very thought of it makes me nervous. If I were a neat little B cup, I could just choose to do without. If I were younger, I might not need a great deal of support. I am neither of those things. I am middle aged with a GG cup (and no, I’m not ‘bragging’, don’t even go there – there is absolutely no advantage and several disadvantages to having a disproportionately large bust), which means I practically need something designed by a structural engineer. I’ve also never made jeans, and don’t have a great deal of confidence in my ability to make a pair that would be robust, comfortable and flattering. I’m an odd shape. Could I do it?
  3. Some things are unforeseen. What if the year pitches me a curveball? I can make clothes if my body changes. If my prescription changes, I will consider new glasses essential and therefore exempt from the moratorium. But there might be other changes I can’t even imagine at this point. I might have to revisit things if for example I lose all my hair and have to decide whether or not a wig constitutes an essential item.

Generally speaking, I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of person. But when you’re setting goals, if you are to be true to them, you really do need to think things through. I mean, otherwise there’s no point in setting the goals in the first place. You know what they say: a goal without a plan is just a wish.

I’ll let you know whether I pluck up the courage to go through with this one as my goal for 2019.

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Do you make resolutions?

When I was a child, new year’s resolutions were the norm. In recent years, they seem to have fallen out of vogue. Or perhaps I outgrew them. Either way.

I don’t make resolutions, but the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to take stock, and set some goals for the future. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you doing that on your birthday, or your wedding anniversary, or the anniversary of your grandmother’s death, or the second Thursday of each month.

It does strike me as a little odd that the new year should begin when it does: exactly a week after Christmas. Why not the vernal equinox? Now that’s a time of new beginnings and new life and new promise. So maybe you prefer to do your goal-setting with your spring cleaning.

If you read my last post, it will come as no surprise to you that my goals in 2018 include the following:

  • Karyn’s [re]Kreations needs to become ‘proper’. So I need to start doing grown-up things like planning, and marketing and participating in markets. I’ve put this one first because it’s the scariest, the most necessary and the most challenging. This has several sub-goals. While I won’t bore you with the details, I will come back to this point shortly.
  • I want to have a positive impact on people’s lives: the people in my immediate circle, the people I encounter regularly, and random strangers. I have identified some ways to do this. I’ll come back to this one, too.
  • Our lease on this wonderful house is halfway through. I want to stay here for the foreseeable future. But long term goals need to start with short term goals. Step 1 of the long term goal is renewing our lease come summer time. I need to work on it – obviously not alone (there’s a Mr Namasi, too). I have a few ideas of how I can help towards that goal, too, but for now, I shall keep those private.

You might have seen a Facebook meme that is doing the rounds at the moment. I found the concept positive and uplifting, so I decided to join in. The first paragraph is my own addition, the second paragraph sums up the meme:

One of my longest-standing (I won’t say oldest, because she’s far from that) friends broke the ‘rules’ and gave me the word ‘deliberate’, even though her name doesn’t begin with D. She said that’s her word for 2018. And since it’s one of the things I need to work on, I’ve taken hold of that.

As I said in my last post, I need to become less scatter gun, more sniper rifle. Being a creative person with a studio full of craft supplies and a workshop full of tools and materials is wonderful. But it does mean that the process of tidying away clutter can result in something coming to light that you had forgotten you had. This leads to the instant, insatiable ‘need’ to do something with that whatever-it-is, in spite of the fact that you already have eleventy-three unfinished projects scattered throughout the house.

I’m not going to achieve any of my goals by flitting from bough to bough like that other dainty bird – one I resemble rather more than I would like these days: the elephant (and if you don’t get the reference, you need to go here immediately and forthwith – I’ll wait). I have been self employed most of my working life, and was a very disciplined and focused self-manager during my years as a learning solutions designer (usually) working from home. I need to find a way to carry that over into this new chapter. 2018 is the year I plan to figure out how to make that happen.

As to the matter of making a positive impact. I am looking into a few opportunities to do that on a structured basis, but there are the everyday encounters, too. I am determined to try to add something positive to the situations in which I find myself for as long as I am able. I recognise that the black dog might come calling, and I will cross that bridge if/when I come to it. But I plan to steer clear of toxic online conversations, and to add value to those spaces I do occupy. I recognise that something that I consider to be a positive contribution make offend someone, but you can’t please everyone (some people get seriously miffed when you point out that the link they’ve just shared is fake) and, as long as my conscience is clear, I shall consider myself to be on track. I shall continue to strike up conversations with fellow shoppers over the frozen veg in the supermarket, but I shall focus on looking for ways to inject something cheerful and positive into the conversation (preferably without resorting to platitudes – they make me come out in hives). I shall continue to tell random strangers in the craft store that their bright blue hair is glorious and their silver Doc Martens are droolworthy. Instead of just hitting the ‘like’ button on the posts I encounter in my various social media spaces, I plan to make more comments.

The list of words given in response to the FB meme include ‘brave’ (which I’m going to need to be), and ‘jubilant’ which would be wonderful!

What words are you taking into the year? In keeping with the meme, I’m going to wish you kindness – both as a giver and as a recipient.

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As 2017 gets underway…

Sincere and heartfelt wishes for a happy New Year to you and yours. May the year ahead be somewhat kinder to us than the one behind.

I’m not fool enough to believe that the arbitrary flip of a calendar page has much cosmic significance. But I find myself wanting to believe that the fact that 2016 is now over will somehow also bring an end to the very negative circumstances that befell us during the year.

I’m not much of a one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to do a little reflection, introspection and goal setting as each new year gets underway. It’s as good a time as any.

When our sons were still living at home, lunch time on New Year’s Day included a time slot for each person to share their goals for the year ahead – both for themselves and for the family. The idea was that in sharing them with each other, we were making ourselves accountable to each other as we worked towards those goals.

For the first time this year, it was just the two of us. Mr Namasi is totally focused on finding a job and selling the house – he isn’t thinking beyond that at this point. And I’m fine with that. After all, whenever either or both of those things happen, that will be just as appropriate a time for goal setting.

So what about me, then? What about your friendly Upsycho? I have set myself a few goals, and I’d like to share them with you. That way, I’m accountable to you.

Sharing the Link Love

I have decided that I will promote the work of fellow makers, crafters and artisans this year. I’m aiming for one a day. I’ll do that in my most used online spaces: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. At the end of each week, I’ll write a summary post here. I have already started this practice, so my first summary post should appear at the end of this week.

 “Do not feed the trolls”

I have a tendency to feel things very strongly and to take personally things not directed towards me. After all, everything’s personal if you’re a person. Even as a child, I had an overdeveloped sense of injustice, and would loudly and persistently champion the cause of someone who had been wronged, sometimes even to the point that the wronged party would beg me to shut up and let it go.

I haven’t outgrown that, and I have found that some of the ugliness that has arisen out of political situations of late has ground me down to breaking point. I need to step away.

I won’t be turning a blind eye to injustice any time soon – I’m not sure I could live with myself if I became inured to the conditions under which some people are forced to live and raise their families – but I must try to avoid engaging in debate with people whose minds I will never change and to whom my own views are as abhorrent as theirs are to me.

I gently suggested this approach to a Twitter follower who attracts trolls in vast numbers. I need to think about whether there is mileage even in that – if people want to feed the trolls and tilt at windmills, I guess that’s their right, too. 

Learning New Things

I need to improve the accuracy of my woodwork. Practice (and YouTube tutorials) makes perfect.

I also want to learn new skills. I haven’t identified those yet, but I don’t feel under pressure to have all the answers at this point. As the year unfolds, I will try to live by Bigweld’s mantra:

I’ll come back to this point.

Sharing the Knowledge

A very dear friend of mine recently retired from the police, having served her 30 years in exemplary fashion. She prefers to refer to herself as rewired, rather than retired, and is setting up a business in which I will have a part to play.

My crafting skills will come in very handy, and I look forward to passing them on:

  • To my friend, who is keen to learn
  • To paying customers, with the funds going towards this charity (another brainchild of the same friend)
  • To the clients of the charity, with a view to helping them produce items they can sell

These endeavours will steer me towards the sorts of skills I need to learn under the banner of Learning New Things

That’s pretty much it. These aren’t really SMART goals…yet. This is the broad framework within which I will look to operate this year, and which will inform such SMART goals as I do set as the year unfolds. I’m leaving room for JIT and LEAN and all those things. Aren’t you proud of me?

After all, who knows what a day (or a year) may bring forth? If Mr Namasi lands a job in some far flung place, a complete rethink will be necessary.