A New Perspective
I love everything about New Year’s Day. I love the idea of a clean slate. I love the promise of a new year. I love the opportunity to pivot and approach life differently.
While we have lots of plans that we will share with you soon, here are a couple of themes that I’ll be working to integrate into my life this year. I don’t want to call them resolutions because resolutions are easily broken. I hope these strategies will help me work toward being the person I aim to be.
- Cooperation – As odd as it sounds, it was receiving the board game Pandemic for Christmas that inspired this theme. It hit me like a thunderbolt as we learned the rules of this very complicated game. Unlike every other game I’ve ever played that pitted players against each other, Pandemic is a game of cooperation in which all of the players work together, sharing resources and ideas to cure illnesses that threaten the world. I began thinking how differently I would feel about my work if I worried less about competing against others and focused more about how to share resources and work cooperatively. So I would like to spend part of my energies this year thinking about how I can bring out the best in others and how working cooperatively might yield some new and positive things.
- Recognizing enough – For those of us who design fabric or write books or teach classes, there’s a relentless pressure to outsell, outpromote, out-everything other designers, authors and teachers. It’s in the contract in some cases: you will write X number of blog posts, make X number of sample quilts (without compensation and then give away the pattern) so you can outsell everyone else. It’s exhausting and is endless. It has made me feel as though my work is never good enough and that I’ll never be able to please those we work with. It’s creative poison. As our daughter once said, “I’m competitive but don’t want to be super-aggressive.” Exactly. I still want our fabrics, classes and books to be successful but I’m going to try hard not to let the pressure keep me up at night. My mantra will be: “I’ve done my best and that’s enough.”
- Making time to learn – When you own your own business, you never come close to crossing everything off the to-do list. No one covers for you if you take a day off or much less a vacation. So the idea of taking time to learn seems like an out-of-reach luxury. However, I’m a better person and do better work when I’m learning. Whether it’s sewing more garments, or walking down the block for a drop-in life drawing class, or making more time for woodworking, I am not happy if I am not learning something new.
- Cherishing the Mom Years – Having had to wait 5 years to become a mother and knowing that we’d only have a single child, I’ve always been very mindful that our daughter’s childhood would fly. Now at 14, she will be out of the house very soon. We stayed at home for the holidays and had such a nice time together. She joined us at the gym every day and we had fun watching each other struggle through tough classes. We’ve cooked together, made fires, hosted her friends, played games, walked to Starbucks for drinks in the middle of the afternoon, went shopping, watched some TV, and even worked together to fill an unexpected tsunami of orders for our business. It’s been wonderful. I hear others complain about the teenage years, but I’m vowing to cherish them because they will be gone very soon.
- Purging distractions – There are people and things in our lives that distract us from the things that matter. Sometimes they are work relationships that cause too much drama. Sometimes it’s household clutter or mental clutter. Sometimes it’s a wound that just won’t heal or an internal dialog that sabotages us. I’m vowing not to allow these things to distract me from other things in my life that are more important. Last summer I began liberally unfriending people on Facebook whose behavior wasn’t worthy of the word “friendship.” I made some very intentional choices to leave behind a lot of baggage in 2015. It’s not coming with me into the new year and that’s a relief.
I’m interested in what you plan to do differently in 2016. Please leave comments and share your hopes and thoughts for the new year. Happy New Year! Let’s make it a great one!
I applaude your perspectives Weeks. I have been leaving behind hurts and relationships that don’t bring me peace or joy. I am trying to figure out my creative voice and be happy with everything I do make or learn from it! But like you most of all it’s about family. Our oldest sets of granddaughters finishing grad school and planning weddings, hard to imagine! The littles are growing so fast we are trying to savor everything from pizza nights to recitals. Happy New Year to you all!
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Happy New Year to you as well!
I can identify with some of this Weeks. I owned a small quilt and fabric business for a while, started up and opperated by me. At first I had so many ideas for quilts and creating, but as the pressure and the competition and demands crowded in it took over my life! I supported my only daughter through her entire schooling, working for myself, making and teaching quilts and selling fabric. Her time with me as a single parent, was challenging but such a joy and I’m glad I opted to be around for her as a mum, and to share her growing up years. When she left home at 18 and went to Canada to live, I fortunately sold my busines and now I’m teaching English in China. I miss my shop, but I don’t miss the pressure of production. I’ve made a quilt here, because I wanted to, and needed one. I’ve got a slow hand project on the go, and I’m planning another quilt now…and enjoying it. Those teenage years with your child are so precious. My daughter has moved back to Australia, but I’m still here and enjoying my life. We have a fantastic relationship, and it’s time for both of us to stretch our wings. This went on a bit longer than I anticipated but Happy New Year!
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Ann – As someone who moved to Tokyo at 21 to teach English, I have watched with interest your posts from China. You are clearly having a lot of adventures and never bored. Warm wishes for a wonderful 2016.
May God help you integrate your “goals,” or maybe more properly, “new outlooks” into your life, Weeks!!
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Thank you Rachel!
Regardiing number 2: My favorite phrase is, “Enough is as good as a feast.”, by Sir Thomas Mallory. I try hard to remember this. We have enough and we are very fortunate. We don’t always need to have, or to do, more.
Regarding number 4: So glad this is a priority with you. My youngest is also 14 years old and my oldest turns 31 in a few weeks. It has gone by so quickly. I cherish my mom years.
Happy New Year!
Enough is as good as a feast. LOVE that! Re: 4 When I was waiting those 5 long years to adopt our daughter I would hear people complain about their children and always wanted to say to them, “Give me your house keys. I’ll pick them up and take them to our house and raise them because clearly you’ve taken on more than you want to handle.”