A New Year

A New Year…

I’m a big fan of choosing a word or theme for the year.

thinking ahead
Detail from “Illiscript” by Jiseon Lee Isbara.  I saw her incredible work this past year at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.

This year I have chosen “Think Ahead” as my theme. I want to work on being more prepared instead of dealing with things as they come. This is a tall order for a consummate procrastinator! It’s a concept that I started working on this past year and it served me well when I suddenly had to go to Chicago to be with my father who had a stroke the weekend before Thanksgiving.

I had already started preparing for Thanksgiving a week ahead of time. I had some prepared food in the freezer. The house was tidy. I had caught up with paperwork a few days before and only had to pay a couple of bills before I left. Clothes were clean and ready to pack. It was a rare snippet of being on top of my game domestically. It was a true blessing because my family was able to celebrate a smaller Thanksgiving without me and did not have to start from scratch. It made me feel good and relieved so much stress.*

So how might this theme this play out in other parts of my life? I have have a few ideas…

In my art life, when I get into an exhibition, I could pack everything up way ahead of time so I’m prepared for drop-off and not running around the day of drop-off pulling everything together. I could enter shows a few weeks before the deadline instead of on the deadline day as is my usual method. I could update my resume with each new exhibit so it’s ready to go at any time. I could review my website on a weekly or monthly basis and update information as needed. 

In my work and volunteer life, I could make notes and organize my files as soon as a project is finished. That way, if I have to go back to it again, I won’t have to try and remember important details. If it is a project or reoccurring event that I will do again, I will look ahead to my future self and think about what might make her happy. Perhaps I could do a little bit of preliminary work ahead of time so it is easier to relaunch the project in the future.

At home, I would like to have a week or two of meals in the freezer ready to go for those days or  weeks that are particularly busy. I don’t like take-out. I would rather pull something out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave. It takes less time than take-out and is a fraction of the price! I would also like to be on top of my paperwork/bills at home by doing a little bit each week instead of spending an afternoon of drudgery going through it all because the pile in the in-box is giving me panic attacks!

I could schedule doctor appointments months ahead of time. I could clear brush out of the garden as soon as the snow melts instead of waiting until planting time. I could plan ahead for the holidays in early November. So many things!

The one thing that I don’t want to do is spend so much time thinking ahead that I’m not enjoying what is happening in the moment. The goal is to make things easier for myself so that I can enjoy my life and not have to occasionally put everything aside to fight a fire. It will be a fine balance. 

Do you like to have a theme or word for the year? If so, I would love to hear what you are planning to focus on in 2019! 

You can read more about Laura Morrison and her art at www.LauraMorrisonArt.com

*Now…before everyone’s feminist hackles get caught up in a hissy fit, let me be perfectly clear. My family is very self-sufficient and able to cook and clean for themselves. My husband can pay the bills. Everyone knows how to do laundry. We are a team and it is not all on me to do all of these things. They could have pulled Thanksgiving together without the food I had prepared or they could have gone out to eat. However, I like to “orchestrate” Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday I have been doing for 30 years. I am the cook in the family and Thanksgiving is my jam. It simply made me feel good to have some things done ahead of time! (It also made me very happy that I had clean clothes to pack!)