Tuesday, 26 December 2017

New Year's Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions and never have, though I make resolutions all the time.   I make them when I see and feel the need for them and being an impatient person I usually want to begin them yesterday.  Having such a busy brain and thus mulling many things over constantly, I usually have several ideas at a time about changes I want to make, growth I want to pursue and always a few vague thoughts simmering in behind the more coherent ones.  As someone who is prone to talking quite a lot to the people closest to me, I am often mistaken for someone who tells all, although this is not at all true.  For all that I reveal about my thoughts or feelings there is so much more beneath the surface, and so although I might appear to others to make sudden decisions, to be a bit impulsive, I actually think everything over very carefully.  The decision comes when it all gels in my mind, when I have confidence in what the best response or course of action is and whenever that comes it certainly isn’t going to be neatly lined up with the calendar and I am not going to wait to flip the page over to January before I take any steps towards my goal.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard is to start where you are.  I would add to that, trust in the process.  By this I mean that the steps you take, what we love to call ‘the journey’ will be as important as the destination.  There is always something to learn.  As a person who can be impatient, wanting to arrive immediately, remembering to value the process is a significant effort and while it is all of life which taught me this, I think that I really internalised it through painting.  I love the process of painting, and paint from my imagination most of the time.  Often I do not know exactly where I am going or how to get there.  Each time I finish a painting and achieve something that pleases me, I worry that I can never repeat this, that my ability has been all used up and I will not be able to do it again.  Beginning a new painting is a bit daunting.  I have a goal in mind and the best thing I can do is to begin putting paint on the canvas.  If it doesn’t work out as I planned, perhaps I can work with it anyhow, perhaps it will be better than what I planned, or perhaps I will just begin over again.  I often paint on top of older paintings.  If I don’t love them it seems a better use of canvas to reuse it for something else, at least as a learning process.  I suppose this is also a bit of frugality creeping in.  Often the way the picture looks when I begin is far from how it ends up.  Some paintings are begun and set aside for a very long period of time.  Others are worked on obsessively from start to finish.   This doesn’t always mean the abandoned ones are of no use or won’t be worked on later, but sometimes I don’t know where I am going with it and need to pause.  So it is with some life goals too.

                           Some Paintings in Progress


Any time is a good time to pause and take note of what is working in your life and what isn’t. Any time is a good time to change direction.  I cannot be certain that painting taught me this but I do know that painting makes it very obvious to me.  But as the New Year approaches it’s difficult to avoid encountering talk about resolutions, changes, goals, and because everyone else is doing it and talking about it, the approach to the new year can end up being a time of reflection for me too, or at least a time when I am more aware of myself engaging in the reflective process.  Often it’s largely about noting what changes I’ve made that are working and which ones I’ve been thinking about and recently implemented which might be somewhat definitive of the upcoming year.  Rather than wait until January first to sound the starter gun, I’ve likely already made some new changes by the time mid-December arrives, and these may feel somewhat like New Year’s resolutions. 

Going forward into 2018 I am all but cutting out Facebook from my life.   It’s still the best way for me to maintain contact with a few people who are important to me, but not only does it take up too  much time to read everything posted by everyone with whom I connect as a ‘friend’ and too much effort trying to respond to most posts in some way,  certain types of posts cause me too much anxiety, stress and frustration and I’m not good at shutting it out or controlling my response so until such time as I develop better skills in that area the best solution for me is to remove it from my life.  I began by unfollowing large numbers of people on Facebook, which turned out to be easier than I thought it would be.  I also unfollowed everything I had followed for entertainment or information purposes.  All of it, whether it was cute baby animals or science news.  Now I have no reason to log in for entertainment and if I do log in to check on a few people I am close to, I am not overwhelmed by a feed full of posts by people I barely know and many whom I barely like.  I have a lot of free time.  Drastically reducing time on the internet isn’t a significant need for me, as it is for some people who want to devote more of their precious free time to people they love or activities they enjoy.  The internet can be a valuable tool for someone like me who has lots of free time, often needs to be sedentary and seeks variety and intellectual stimulation.  Facebook is not a provider of intellectual stimulation and more a provider of provocation, frustration and can push me closer to misanthropy than I want to be.  My reasons for minimising it may not be the same reasons as another might have but I suspect there are people making new year’s resolutions to give it up or use it less or even people like me, who have done this ahead of the new year.  Minimalism can apply to behaviours as well as to things, and really it is just that same old balance issue that people have been seeking for seemingly ever.  What do I want less of and what do I want more of are the questions.  I definitely want less Facebook,  and I’m addressing that in the old year, getting a head start.


  1. Getting rid of facebook is something I have done countless times, so I feel ya girl :D
    I missed your posts dear, I really do, you are one of a kind.

    1. Keit! Where have you been? I have missed you too! Are you blogging and I'm not seeing it or did you take a long break? I was worried something terrible had happened to you, and so happy to see you again! xo


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