New Year, Same Me, Refined Focus
I have determined to approach 2023 with a fresh perspective. It's not so much a "resolution," more of a recognition of the weight that 2022 has been for myself and my family. This is my conscious decision to do 2023 differently. To that end, I've done some deep thinking about what should stay and what needs to go as I move forward into the year. I can't blame everything on cancer, but I have to admit that I would never have allowed myself to make such drastic edits in my life without that powerful catalyst. Taking a forced break from just about everything that was "normal" in my life has given me space to be mindful and deliberate about what I want to put back into it.
First, I've recognized that I can no longer work my "day job" at anything close to a full time schedule. I absolutely love what I do for a living, but I have to admit that it carries significant mental and emotional burden. While I don't think I will ever stop in that line of work, I need to save some of my emotional and mental energy for myself (first of all) as well as my family. I was not doing a good job of balancing those those elements prior to my diagnosis.
Additionally, because my cancer was not related to a known genetic component, I don't have a family history of breast cancer, and I am generally very healthy, I need to acknowledge the extreme stress I have been living in. Ever since I figured out what "grades" were in school, I have consistently put pressure on myself to perform at my highest capacity in every activity and area I approach. That has to stop.
So, what am I choosing to focus on in this year? What am I going to be doing differently?
The biggest shift for me is that I am choosing to make time and space for activities that I genuinely enjoy, regardless of outcome or quantifiable "success." I have shied away from pouring the energy and attention into my art that I have been longing to do since I was in undergrad. I am a pragmatist, and those avenues never held enough promise of conventional success for me to justify spending time on them. Fortunately, I am now in a situation where I have the flexibility to divert attention and energy into ventures that are slow-growing but richly emotionally rewarding.
You may have noticed that I have expanded my shop parameters beyond the historical focus with my new line of jewelry, sewing notions, and more. I still want to keep a foot in the costuming world, but I also want to nurture more of my artistic talents than sewing alone. Especially because crafting was where I finally found creativity and joy again after nearly a year of not creating, living with my cancer diagnosis. And so I am giving myself permission to follow that rabbit and see where the trail goes this year.
I'm also giving myself the space and freedom to sew without purpose. My goals for sewing have shifted from "there's an event, so I can make..." or "I don't have a reason to wear this so I won't make..." Now, I want to honor the inner child who never stopped playing dress-up. That means sewing because it makes me happy, not just because I can find practical justification for an item.
I've already done some practical things this year to put my new focus in action. I've scheduled a number of crafts shows for myself this year, and I'm already planning and creating for my displays. I've started collaborating with a dear friend on projects that we have both been wanting to work on for several years. I've also started saying "yes" to more adventures, some related to sewing and crafting, some not. Scheduling trips and activities I know I will enjoy, even months out, has helped me look forward with a renewed sense of joy and excitement - and it hasn't hurt my motivation to budget, either!
Whether you relate to these thoughts or not, I wish you an abundance of peace and joy in 2023. Through tough times and easy times, may you have eyes to see the goodness and beauty that fills the world around us.