I just looked at my 2018 Word post and laughed and laughed.
Simplify was last year’s word, and WOW did I do a lot of that. I undertook a mahoooosive decluttering/belongings purge. I didn’t do it all at one time, just here and there throughout the year. I also simplified my calendar by learning to say no and not scheduling every spare minute. I simplified my long-term savings goals by having spare change automatically whooshed into an Acorns account (in six months I socked away $500 that I never even missed!). Meal planning and ordering groceries online to pick up at the store meant I had a few extra hours each week to make art.
Beginning in October I simplified some habits and made some huge personal growth leaps by starting Miracle Mornings. I stopped hustling for approval and trying to be everywhere all the time.
I chopped my Facebook friends list in half, which enabled me to have space to create more meaningful connections with the people I interacted with on a regular basis.
As it turns out, Simplify was the perfect word for 2018. I’m heading into 2019 with more space, time, and energy than I can ever remember having. Like seriously. I’m super motivated to get out of bed in the morning and have so much energy I have to make myself go to bed. In the beginning of the year, I was dragging myself out of bed at the last possible minute, limping through the day, and then collapsing in bed by 8 p.m. – this is a HUGE difference.
Let’s take a look at the 2018 crafty goals and see how I did, shall we?
- Improve my cross-stitch skills (did it!)
- Learn embroidery (I’m doing a stitch a day to help with this) (tried it and hated it, so I abandoned this goal)
- Finish my 2017 temperature blanket (declared project bankruptcy – unraveled what I’d started and reclaimed the yarn)
- Learn to hand letter (nope, didn’t even start)
- Improve my watercolor skills (some progress, have put occasional effort into it, also fell in love with gouache)
- Publish at least 12 crochet patterns (oh 2018 Jen was just adorable I think I published one lol)
- Make afghans for my two oldest boys and husband (this was a goal last year that I failed to even start) (this was a goal last year that I failed to even start – again)
- Give this blog a makeover. I’ve learned a LOT in the past year and a half about blogging, especially about how the nuts and bolts work behind the scenes and with what direction I’d like to move in. I’m proud of what I created but see how things could be so much better. So don’t panic when things start looking different. I’ll give you a heads up when I start working on it. (I showed up for this in a BIG way, spent a few months on it, and am thrilled with how it turned out!)
While I might not have even touched some of the things on my crafty goals list, I ended up doing a bunch of other things not on the list.
- I started writing a book and began planning a workshop! A couple of months ago I test-drove it with a few friends and the feedback was awesome, and also it needs more work before I’ll be 100% happy with things.
- Discovered junk journaling and my life will never be the same. I even started a YouTube channel so I could share flipthroughs!
- Started playing around with art journaling and mixed media art.
- While at In the MKNG in September, I entered a crafting competition sponsored by Paper House. I was not a paper crafter but figured it would be a fun way to spend an hour. I ended up winning. (Nobody was more surprised than I was!) And I had so much fun paper crafting has become a new hobby.
- Read a LOT of books – crafty, personal development, and biographies were the theme this year.
- Took a big step back from doing projects for other people and started focusing on my goals and Big Dreams. 2018 was really challenging for us on the homefront, so my time and energy were in short supply for big chunks of the year.
- Declared project bankruptcy and unraveled years’ worth of half-started projects and reclaimed the yarn. That was part of my larger *finally get the craft room in shape* project which is now done.
- I sold my first piece of art!
- I re-opened my Etsy shop and whoa do I have plans for 2019!
- Embraced the idea that I just might be an artist and it’s ok if I suck at it.
- Began developing Blood on (Y)Our Hands, a long-term project that I hope to grow in 2019.
So. Got a lot done last year and moved in some really weird new directions.
The list of things I *didn’t* get done is long, but you know what? If they didn’t get done they must not have been that important. I’m so NOT going to beat myself up over those things because the only one holding up a measuring stick is me.
Yay for trying new things and continued growth as a maker, writer, and artist!
On to 2019!
Part of Simplify was tidying up my messy head. My brain has anxiety and depression. I may have even had a mini midlife unraveling. So. I put a lot of effort into sorting that out this year. I found a therapist, got on some meds, started meditating and gratitude journaling, surrounded myself with light at home and at work, and prioritized self-care.
And also, I opened up to my friends and family about the challenges we face as parents raising a child who has mental health concerns and what it’s like to navigate the mental health care system and getting services through his IEP at school. To me it was more simple to just start being honest about why we couldn’t commit to things and why sometimes we had to cancel things at the last minute. Rather than continuing to make up excuse after excuse why I couldn’t show up or help and feeling guilty about that, being honest enable to me ask for what I needed (I suck at that) whether it was time, space, or practical advice.
An amazing thing happened: my friends, family, and even strangers showed up with help, support, encouragement, and love. They helped us with things we never even would have known to ask for. AND, being honest provided me with opportunities to help other people who are struggling with similar issues. The foundation of my community has been shored up just by being able to drop the elaborate façade of “always happy family” I’d presented to the world.
It’s so freeing and I highly recommend it.
Somewhere along the way I stumbled across Brené Brown and she is a national treasure. I have no idea how I’ve missed her work up until this point, but I guess it’s one of those “when the student is ready the teacher appears” sort of things. (Here’s her TED Talk if you’re not familiar with who she is.)
I’ve been tearing through her books for the last couple of months, highlighter in hand and journal by my side.
Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brown outlines ten guideposts for Wholehearted Living:
- Cultivating Authenticity: letting go of what people think
- Cultivating Self-Compassion: letting go of perfectionism
- Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness
- Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
- Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: letting go of the need for certainty
- Cultivating Creativity: letting go of comparison
- Cultivating Play and Rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
- Cultivating Calm and Stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
- Cultivating Meaningful Work: letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
- Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: letting go of being cool and “always in control”
I want more of ALL of these things in my life. I want more of all of these things in our family’s life.
Adopting Wholehearted as my word for 2019 will be a great reminder through the year to stay focused on what I really want to grow in my life.
And as I write this I’m thinking about focusing on one guidepost each month as a Mini-Word in addition to Wholehearted.
I’m not going to make a crafty bucket list this year. Just going to give myself permission to create whatever my heart and mind wants to express in the moment. No pressure. No deadlines. No list.
Thank you all so very much for hanging with me this year! Blessings to you and your loved ones for a joyous holiday season and a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.
Have you chosen a word yet? I’d love to hear about it and cheer you on!