Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Now that January is almost over and I've had some time to reflect, I decided it's time to post a little year in review for 2016, along with some looking ahead for 2017. I wrote a few resolutions and goals on New Year's Day in 2016, which I've never really done before. They included speaking more kindly about myself, buying myself a piano, hiking more, moving into a solo apartment, and expanding my creativity, whatever that looked like. They may seem self-centered, but investing in these goals helped the year become more about other people than I could have imagined.

Most of those resolutions were met, believe it or not! Except maybe the "speaking more kindly about myself" one - bad habits are hard to break. This past year I climbed several mountains, visited Arkansas and drove farther south than I've ever been before (historical Fort Smith, AR), went camping for the first time ever at Acadia National Park, got published in not one but three Stampington magazines, taught my very first workshop, discovered Chris Thile at Prescott Park in Portsmouth while out to dinner, saw Swan Lake performed by the Boston Ballet (absolutely breathtaking), went on a short solo hike, drew a magnificent bald eagle on my friend's shoulders for Independence Day, learned how to spin, displayed my fiber art at two local shops, moved into my own apartment, made it into my second year of online classes, submitted my first book proposal, and so much more.

New people came into my life and lots of lessons were learned. An area where I grew a lot was letting go of anxiety about other people. I learned to not second-guess quite so much, and my decision-making became stronger. I owe all of this to the Lord, by the way. Change is slow but it is happening. I am learning to see myself through God's eyes instead of my own condemnation and judgement, and from there to focus on Him instead of me.

This year I live in a beautiful little apartment right across the street from the library where I work. I have space for my crafts, space for reflection, and space for hosting. I love cooking dinner for my friends and offering my home as a game night spot, and I'm hoping to also turn it into a jam center for playing music. Little plants hang here and there, lighting up the space with greenery, and I've even displayed a few of my favorite pieces of artwork. I am recycling as much as I can, and I'm even hoping to stop using paper towels and start a rag basket instead. I also look forward to growing some vegetables and herbs on my tiny back deck this summer.

This year I've  decided to change my major from marketing to graphic design. It's a logical decision, based on my desire to incorporate creativity into my job and life. I also realized I am not good with statistics, numbers, economics, or really anything involving money and demographics. So marketing is out and graphic design is in, and I can't wait to see where it goes.

This year I am reading more books that are good for my soul. I've read a lot of YA fiction, which, even though I've come across some gems, is not the best choice for my brain and my heart. This year I'm going to read more classics, more nonfiction, and more craft/art/DIY/home living books. (I am currently reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr for the book club I lead at the library - I am also struggling through Anna Karenina.) I would also like to start learning a foreign language in earnest, but maybe I'll save that for 2018.

This year I am going to travel a little more. I am visiting my cousin in North Carolina in April, and I would really like to see the West Coast. I'm still aching to see Iceland, too. My passport is in progress, so who knows what the next few years will bring for travel!

This year I hope to write more. About life, about plants, about solo apartment life, about projects, about music, about travel, and about the books I'm reading. This is the start.