“Really? It’s already a new year?” One year I hope I’ll stop saying and thinking that and realize how amazing the year was and that it has finally come to a close. This wasn’t that year, but I think it helps to reflect and figure out why and to make the next year more of what you imagined.
I’m more than a week late on resolutions and I don’t typically make resolutions because I believe more in every day, simple goals, so here are my reflections and hopes for 2014, and links to some good articles that hopefully with inspire and push you more.
Worry and anxiety. This year will be about embracing the uncertainty and worrying just a little bit less. The first, full week of 2014 has me filled up with worry and anxiety. Maybe it’s because the Christmas/holiday spirit has ended and it’s a slap of reality, but I hope to not think of it that way (if you haven’t already, this is a good read about ‘hygge’ and why Denmark is the happiest country on earth). I hope to spend each month or each week focusing on the good and letting the bad weigh less on my head and heart. Sometimes it’s hard to stop your heart from beating super fast and your head from racing with a million thoughts but taking a break from what’s worrying you and doing something FUN really helps. If you can work with your hands and create something it is oddly satisfying (even building a puzzle!).
Comparing success. Sucks, doesn’t it? With social media today it’s pretty easy to compare someone’s curated Instagram or Facebook feed to your reality, which is why I’ve been trying to only use those outlets as inspiration and motivation to push myself and give me self confidence in my work. This brainpickings article with the creator of Calvin and Hobbe, Bill Watterson, is a great read and helps me sum up that “there are many kinds of success,” and you need to figure out what works for you.
Think about what you want out of this life, and recognize that there are many kinds of success.
Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.
You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.
To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.
– Bill Watterson
If you’re also looking for some inspiration and motivation The Great Discontent is my go to place to read interviews with some amazing creatives. It also reminds me when I’m feeling alone that everyone’s path is different.
Money. It’s kind of hard to not worry about money or have money be a topic of discussion in this day and age, but I always remind myself of this article by Seth Godin, Thinking About Money, which I posted about before, that helps me deal with my personal expenses and the “how much do you make?” question.
Don’t get caught confusing money with security.
Within very wide bands, more money doesn’t make people happier. Learning how to think about money, though, usually does.
– Seth Godin
Self Judgement. Whether it’s you judging yourself and your abilities or you thinking someone else is judging you. Who cares, right? Easier said than done, easier to tell your best friend, “Who cares!”, when they’re in a similar situation, but when it comes to ourselves it’s hard to take our own advice. It’s hard to get out of our own heads but taking a breath and stepping back, as simple as it sounds, helps to regain your thoughts and remind yourself not to be so hard on yourself. We are our own worst critic, so take a step back to reflect on the situation and remind yourself that everyone’s different.
Defining Yourself. I think this goes hand in hand with why we judge ourselves too harshly, especially when we’re still on a journey trying to figure it out and be OK with who we are. But are you going to let other people define you? I watched this video last night, that Oh Joy tweeted, and you should too.
Being Proactive. It’s great to think positively and reflect on your experience but you also have to take action and be a go-getter in making changes. Within the last two years I feel I’ve really started to pinpoint what it is I’m passionate about and going after it, and it’s the most satisfying feeling. Last night I read this great article on The Great Discontent with Invisible Creature about finding what it is your passionate about and being fully immersed in that culture (which is why it helps to do something you care about, not something that will make you money).
I think the biggest thing for us—and I always go back to our story, because it’s the only one I know—was the niche that we found in terms of design. It’s such a broad, vast, huge world. We get a lot of designers who say, “I like to draw. Where do I start?” There are so many questions to answer before that. What do you love? When there’s downtime, what do you like to do? When you go to the bookstore, what do you gravitate toward?
– Don Clark, Invisible Creature
Last year was my first, full year of freelancing and it had its ups and downs and lots of things I wish I had dealt with better, but now that I have that under my belt, here’s to creating new experiences this year!
That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. But no, not in the way you think of “getting lost.” I’ve been getting lost…in my work, and in a good way. I love getting projects where I can’t eat or sleep until I’ve solved the problem, that doesn’t sound exactly healthy, but it’s not something I do a lot of time, which makes it special when a project comes along that makes me feel that way. It makes me feel excited to get the job done and make the deadline. I will blame that for my lack of posts for the past few weeks, but anyway…I thought I’d take the time to reflect and appreciate how things fall into place in life and to always stay positive and active in your pursuits. I really believe that you can’t put all your eggs into one basket. You can’t expect just one thing to satisfy all of your creative energy, your happiness, your motivation, your drive, etc. I’ve learned that when one thing isn’t going right to move on to the next and that other thing will sort itself out along the way. It’s never healthy to expect ONE thing (or person) to solve ALL of your problems or questions in life, or to make you happy. It’s really an accumulation of everything. That way, if one endeavor goes wrong or one person disappoints you you have another endeavor or someone else to turn to give you hope and excitement.
“I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice.”
– J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
You also have to learn to let go of things you can’t control. If something happened yesterday that made you feel embarrassed, stupid, or crappy, let it go, it happened and you can’t take it back, you just keep moving forward.