2019 Goals: Reevaluation and Changes

It’s that time of year again, where I reevaluate my entire life and decide to change my goals for the year. It’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

So let’s do a quick recap of the goals I’ve set at the beginning of 2019 and where I’m at.

Design

  • freelance work (I’m still chugging along, always in the need of more clients)
  • plan to open online shop (this is a slow process that I’ve been procrastinating on but I think I’m going to focus more on it soon)
  • 1 personal design project a week (52) (I’ve done about 20 so far, having a bit of a hectic June/July, but I think I’ll get back to it)

Writing

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft (good LORD, this book is long and I haven’t had many days to focus on writing it)
  • NaNoWriMo ’19 (coming in November!)
  • outline fantasy series (I have been doing this and it’s been swell! outline isn’t totally done but I have mostly outlined the big picture arc of the series and the first book’s full outline to write during this year’s NaNoWriMo!)
  • Thoughtless (a book I should be writing) (lololol)

Reading

  • read 52 books (lololol, I’ve honestly been trying to read more I swear – I’ve read 9 thus far, but Reading Rush is happening now and I always read more later in the year it’s fine it’s fine I’m fine everything’s fine)
  • complete trilogies/series (literally forgot this was a goal, but I haven’t really done this yet at all, but I have a few second and third books to read, so maybe?)
  • read more often (I’m trying, okay?)
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) (happening as I type this!!!)

Film

  • watch 30 films (I’m about halfway there, which is great! TWO already in theaters!)
  • write/shoot short film (in process of writing, will decide if I want to shoot it in August???)
  • write feature-length film (probably this fall)

Illustration

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month (nah, man I don’t have the capacity – I think my time with illustration has come to an end, I’ve reached my peak, I can’t get any better without more focus and time but it’s all good)
  • Inktober (still doing this because it’s fun!!!)

Health & Fitness

  • walk everyday (have been doing great!!!!)
  • workout 3x a week (lol was doing well but stopped for a few months but back on it!!!)
  • go to bed/wake up earlier (kind of? 7am average is early, right?)
  • 2 sodas a week (I gave this up looooong before April even began but I have to say, most of the sodas I drink now – which the number has gone down significantly, but nowhere near 2 a week – are diet, which ain’t great for me but I’m trying)

Other

  • 1 intake day a week (was doing this for a while and loved it but I think an hour a day would be better? it just didn’t fit within my schedule)
  • grow social media (I’m trying but no one likes me it’s not my fault lol)
  • post regularly on blog (I have been doing this! if you read these posts, you probably could tell. I doubt it though, I see the traffic on this blog and it’s looooow but still!)
  • further learning – 12 posts (killin’ this, I love it so much and this is a great segue….)

There’s been some changes happening in my life, over the last year or so. I’ve been thinking about it and thinking about it, and I have come to the decision that I want to go back to school.

That’s right! Back to college. Back to the book learning. Since doing “Further Learning” on this blog, I’ve realized how much I love learning and how much I love learning about language, specifically. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve been thinking about going back to school for Linguistics and/or English and creative writing. Maybe something else. I haven’t nailed anything down yet. (I’ve been looking at school’s and doing some research about it, though. It’s weird being a “non-traditional student” going to school later in life at 26. There’s so many questions and it’s not easy to navigate.) But I miss school. I regret not going to college formally. I need a big, wonderful change in my life.

For a few years now, I’ve been feeling restless, feeling like my life has hit a weird stand-still. That stagnant, static life of mine burst to life briefly last summer when the opportunity to live in Spain for just under a year came about. It was exciting and terrifying and I felt like, Ah, yes, finally, my life is about to start. But when that fell through, and the small business I was co-running decided to (maybe temporarily) shut down, I felt that same static feeling wash over me again. I’m just here. Waiting and wanting and unhappy about it.

It took me a while to realize that I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to want. I can do, I can seize. All I have to do is pick myself up and do it. And I’m tired of feeling like I can’t do the things I want.

So I’m going to. It’s going to take some time. I don’t know when school would be happening. I need to figure out all of that and figure out my life as I work toward getting there, because I still need money and to work in the mean time.

That’s my new goal for this year. The main goal. And I’m excited and terrified and it feels great.

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Sketchbook Progress

While studying design, I haven’t really done much drawing or sketching for fun like I used to. I was never great at it, always disappointed in my sketches (with a few triumphs that I could brag about, even though I see them and think “yikes…that’s not as great as I thought it was in high school…”) But I loved it a lot. I loved sketching and doodling and drawing little characters. I didn’t do it often enough to get better at it, always choosing painting in art class over drawing, but in high school, I thought about going into illustration before I eventually chose graphic design.

Over the last few years, I’ve heard other designers say that they can’t draw to save their life or they’re terrible—and so I sort of gave up drawing, too busy working on design, thinking “well, if they can’t, I don’t need to draw well.” But recently I’ve been inspired by illustrators on Instagram and YouTube, and I realized that being good at both can only be a plus. So I’ve been wanting to work on my illustration skills for a while—and for the last few weeks, I’ve been sketching and doodling for a half hour every day. And I’m really enjoying it.

This particular one didn’t make me want to throw it across the room, so I thought I’d share it as the start of a progress. It’s not great, but not as bad as my first few days starting this new journey (seriously, at one point I said aloud, “I think I forgot how to use my hand to draw things”). Eventually I’d like to experiment with using watercolor paints and do full on pieces, but for now, I’m going to try to sketch (nearly) every day in my little sketchbook and get the basics down, find my style. I’ll be hoping to buy some markers (I have my eyes on Copic Ciao brush-tip markers) and do some color work, too. I don’t know! It’s all knew (and old) and exciting.

I will for sure be updating my progress, starting with this sketch and updating in the next few weeks with work that will be much better (hopefully). I’m slowly improving—and I’m falling in love all over again.

Travel Plans

At the start of this year, I wrote about my new goals for 2016 and one of them was to travel more. Because it’s only January, I haven’t traveled anywhere yet, but I did want to post about my plans for traveling, whether it’s this year or in a few years or eventually sometime in my life.

THIS YEAR

Food Trip

For years and years, I’ve watched Food Network and Cooking Channel shows that feature restaurants all over the country with food that looks incredible. And I have said over and over again that I want to take a trip, maybe not around the whole country, maybe just one region, and find those restaurants and eat there. I would love to finally do it this year, but of course there’s a money factor that will come into play and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. It might be a short trip. Maybe it won’t happen this year, but I sure hope I can do it.

Copper Harbor, MI

This trip is every year. My family heads north to Copper Harbor, usually in the summer time, for a weekend in a cabin. We always stay at the same cabin, though this year they’re booked and we may have to find somewhere else, and have a great time. Though three days never feels like enough, it’s always a highlight of the year, looking back.

Anywhere

Honestly, any small trip counts. If I take a trip a few hours away, that’s still visiting a different city, a different state. Any opportunity that gets me away for a bit counts as travel. And I’m going to be looking for those types of trips to go on this year and report back here with the details.

IN A FEW YEARS

Road Trip, USA

The plan for a trip around eating at delicious restaurants, most likely just one region of the country, is one plan. I have another plan to take a trip around the entire US, visiting different cities I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ve primarily only traveled around the midwest and down through to Georgia once, and through Canada to Vermont. I’d really love to travel to the west coast, the south, and more of the New England area and the east coast. I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip, but because I could never afford it right now and I wouldn’t want to go alone, I would have to go with my parents, but they don’t have the time or funds to do it either. Maybe some day, maybe alone or with others, but I want it to happen while I’m still in my twenties and am able to.

Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia

Recently, with the help of Ancestry, I’ve learned that my third great-grandmother Zelire was born and grew up in Canada (her ancestry being French) on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia. I was so excited to find that out because it reminded me of Anne of Green Gables and it’s a place I would love to visit. Not even just because it’s  a beautiful place, but maybe it would be a place to find out more about Zelire and her life there and more of the family that lived there. Maybe if I visit I’ll feel a connection to the island or the town she grew up in. Maybe I won’t, but I’ll never know until I go there to find out for myself.

Hawaii

I’ve never been anywhere exotic, I’ve never seen the ocean. For my entire life, I see people go on these great trips and have vacations, and I’ve never been able to experience that, and I’d love to. From what my parents tell me, Hawaii is beautiful and I want to experience it soon. I’d love to be able to go on a family trip with them. That would be incredible.

EVENTUALLY IN MY LIFE

Europe & Asia & Australia & Everywhere

My entire life, I have been obsessed with the idea of visiting the world, specifically Europe. Both sides of my family come from Europe. On my mom’s side: mostly Swedish, French, and German. On my dad’s: mostly Italian, French, and German. I want to visit these places and feel the history of them, because where I live, the history only goes back a hundred or so years. I’ve never seen a building that was older than 100. I want to feel the history, I want experience the cultures. I’ve been a bit of a francophile and an anglophile for most of my life, wanting to visit France and the UK. Here’s a list of the countries I’d love to visit:

  • France
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • China
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • Switzerland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • The UK
  • Egypt
  • More of Canada
  • And literally all of them. Just, all of them.

So will I be able to do it? I hope I can travel to all of these places in my life, whether it be soon or twenty years from now—I’d rather it be sooner—I just want to go, I just want to experience it all. And, related to my feeling on travel, here is a little excerpt I love from one of my favorite books:

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

– Lila Bard and Kell in A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Great Closet Clean of 2016

This past weekend, I cleaned out my bedroom closet. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. This closet has been mine since I was 14 years old. And before that, it was my sister’s closet for many years, and before that it was our shared closet. Until this weekend, I don’t think it had ever been cleaned out. There were boxes of stuff and literal trash—broken toys and school papers and things that I needed gloves to remove—accumulated during a period spanning nearly fifteen years.

closet_4
Trash closet (minus clothes, all stacked on my bed already).

Though it was tiring and took me two and a half days to complete the project, it is now cleaned and organized and only has two boxes of old toys and things that I wanted to keep for the memories. For most of the weekend, my entire room’s floor was covered in stuff. Stuffed animals, Beanie Babies, that old typewriter I mentioned here, a Pokémon box full of marbles and a bag full of Pokémon cards, our old karaoke machine, and a thousand more things that my sister and I used to play with.

closet_1
That safari hat next to the lion is not from my childhood…that’s a recent purchase. For reasons. (I really wanted one.)

As I went through it all—throwing away two and a half garbage bags worth of junk and packing away those two boxes I wanted to keep—I started to notice something. There were about ten or eleven small boxes, around the size of a shoe box or larger, and each one contained roughly a year of my life. It was strange to realize at first, finding all the toys I distinctly remember playing with in the 5th grade, and notes I know are from the 8th grade. Every year had a box—and I didn’t know it was something I had done.

Though I know I do it now, every year or so I get the itch to throw everything away. But instead of doing that, I put all the things I’m not into anymore into a box and…put it in that closet. And it wasn’t until I cleaned it out did I realize that it’s not a new thing for me to do. I’ve been doing it, about once a year, since I was a kid. And I still do it now—sort of. Just recently, I started to put a few things away that I didn’t want out on display—the start of a long journey to becoming more minimalist.

I’ve always been one that thrived off of change—when it’s of my own doing. (If you change an actor in a tv show instead of killing off the character, I will quit watching. If there is a change in menu of my favorite restaurant, I will cry and never go to it again. If you haven’t guessed, yes I’m a control freak.) When it comes to my space and house, it needs to change often, to keep it feeling fresh, alive. A room that remains the same for too long starts to feel stagnant and I become restless in them. My bedroom has gone through several changes throughout the years. I rearrange the furniture and do a big clean about every season or two, most often every spring. I even rearrange my parents’ living room at least twice a year, once before Christmas to fit the tree (we put it in a different place every year) and once before summer starts. Sometimes we rearrange before the Super Bowl, too, for maximum seating for our big party we end up having even if we don’t invite anyone—our house is the party magnet, attracting usuals and strays for most major events. It always ends up a party.

Change is big with me. And I never realized how much it had been all throughout my life. But really, how much change was there? All I did was shove a new box of junk in the same closet, over and over, for years. I’ve been holding on to all of this stuff for so long and I didn’t even realize I still had it.

I threw a lot of it away. Even if my gut reaction was to keep it, I tossed it. Because even with me constantly wanting change and rearrangement, I have a problem with letting things go. I become attached to objects and hate throwing them out. A lot what was filled in the boxes was old junk that I thought was cool or worth keeping, even if it were old parts from a toy or a bolt or a broken pen. I wanted change, wanted things out of my room, but didn’t want to actually give anything up. So in the closet it went.

After throwing a lot of junk away, I donated an entire bag of my clothes and made room for the clothes I actually wear on the regular in my closet, all in one place. With all of the old stuff out of the closet, I’m now able to fit my tiny dresser and shoe rack in the closet, freeing some space in my room. It felt good to get rid of that old stuff, even when it was hard. And it was fun to find all the things I used to have and play with, to play with them again. I kept those two boxes worth of my favorite things, but the rest had to go. It was time.

closet_2
Large bag of clothes ready to donate.

The whole experience was cathartic and freeing. I no longer feel a strange weight I’d felt every time I opened my closet and looked down at all the stuff piled up, feeling guilty that it was there in the first place.

My advice: go clean that thing you’ve been meaning to clean. That closet, a cupboard, the drawer that won’t open in the bathroom and you don’t even remember what’s in there, your attic, the basement if you have one. It takes a lot of work and energy but it feels so good to go through it all and have more space for the things that matter to you now.

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The incredible end result. I’ve never been more excited to open my closet in the morning to get dressed.

I started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo just after I did the closet, and I’m not very far into it, but I like what’s being said. I’m inspired by it and maybe I’ll go further with this tidying thing, do an overhaul of all my stuff—all at once, as the book suggests. Maybe there will be an updated post about it in the future!

That’s all for now!