Begin with a year, any year. Compress it to an afternoon, a day, a week of looking back with 20/20 vision. Measure its worth. What will you find as you look behind? Will you look? Do you find value in reflection or scorn it as arbitrary, like the dates on a calendar, like the numbers on the clock?
I, for one, relish reflection. It helps me to find how I've grown. I can re-experience memories and feel the rush of emotions from a certain time. I can find comfort in doses of nostalgia. I find value in reseting with a "blank slate" and finding it on New Year's Eve/Day.
One of my favorite youtubers, John Green of the duo Vlogbrothers, gave sound advice in a recent video on what he will leave behind in 2017. He asks followers to do the same. In that spirit, I'll look back at what to leave behind, and what to hold on to in the coming new year. If you will do the same, please comment or reach out. High fives to you :)
What to leave behind:
- neglecting sleep, exercise, and nourishing food for its effects on my physical, mental, and emotional health
- creating principles for the sake of having principles. In the words of V. Van Gogh to his brother Theo in an 1882 letter: "My opinion on the matter is this: what matters is deeds, not some abstract idea. I only approve of principles and think them worth the trouble if they turn into deeds...great things do not just happen by impulse but are a succession of small things linked together."
- creating a theme of work simply based on past interest in it rather than my own interest (hey there trying to increase visibility on insta)
What to Hold on to:
- trying out new identities and traits. I went by "Alex" on a summer trip rather than "Alexa". It was eye-opening to see how a simple name change affected how I perceived myself and the confidence I felt at this flexibility.
- experimenting with new mediums. This was the year of Zines! A huge thank you to The Monster Ducky for making and creating collaborative zines and thus inspiring my first zine all the way to my fourth! You can find my two poetry zines for sale here. The freedom of diy publishing is exhilarating. People want to read what you have written! The history is inspiring and the amount of information and topics I've discovered in the zine world is mind-boggling. It's also incredibly cathartic and if you've never tried to make one for yourself go do it. It's possible with your brain and a printer. Wondering what the heck I'm talking about ? Read more about zines and their history here.
- getting comfortable with failure. In every aspect of my life this year: career, (art) business, artistic, romantic, mental, physical, etc., I've experienced success and failure. The term "rollercoaster" is well-applied to my 2017 as well as to yours too, I'm sure. Wisdom isn't found in the moment of failure, but looking back I feel stronger and more ready for those hard lessons.
- being confident. Let's call this my "focus" for the next year. 2017 was about increasing my powers of intuition. This year, I'm ready to show more of my internal "fire", which means, for lack of a better metaphor, stoking and building the blaze. Now that I'm in tune with what I need to continue creating and being a whole person, it's time to own it.
I foresee 2018 as a year of tremendous change and growth, even if its only perceptible to the pages of my journal.
What are you going to leave behind? What are you going to hold on to? I'd love to hear!