I wish 2016 welcome and hope everyone will have great experiences in the new year! This is the time of year when I reflect more than usual over priorities, hopes and dreams, concrete projects and life in general.

Nina With Freckles - New Year 2016 2016-01-03

All I can say about 2015 in retrospect is that I’m rather relieved we’re done with it. In several ways it was a challenging time, some core areas of my life were (and still are for that matter) stuck in a sense, leaving me feeling like I have no say in the important matters.

That isn’t true, of course, and we have more power than we at times care to admit over our lives, both in regards to who we invite to share our daily lives and where our feet take us. I can’t but bring up the paradox of us having a choice in most things, but those choices always coming with their own consequences.

A lot of the time, our perceived life experience also depends on the perspective that we choose to view it in, and I have so many things to be grateful for. What I’m exhausted from and unbelievably tired of, however, is being unemployed. I desperately want to control daily life in regards to my academic progress yet I can’t. Someone else has decided that research will be down-prioritised and that’s that. What I’m saying is, as an example, I had planned to buy more of the white background fabric for my Tokyo Subway Map Quilt, but when time came to place an order, something actually important came up, and so I had to postpone it. To the outside it might have looked like craptastically bad planning, but life happened, and I also had to eat and pay my bills. You know? Like I said, I’m grateful for many a thing in my life, but money isn’t too silly an invention.

Since funding for scientific research is down in the basement, I’m taking actions to do other things. Currently I have no announcements in that department, but you could wish me luck, as I could use good wishes in the next six months or so. Turning a chapter, or rather a Significant Page in the yearly calendar, has meant that I’ve also been thinking about leisure and business. In the leisure area, I’m naturally including most of my quilting projects, and while participating in swaps and hosting quilt-alongs is great fun, this year I need to do more for me, invest time and energy in cranking out my first patterns, cutting out unnecessary challenges, unnecessary blogging, and more.

By unnecessary blogging I mean that I want to implement the plan I’ve mentioned last year. Which brings me on to my chosen word for 2016. I’ve had a word a couple of years now, but this is the first time I want to share it in public. This year it is ‘focus’, which includes elements of earlier years, but in a sense crystallises what is the most important aspect to keep in mind right now. Focus includes clarity, discipline, following through, and more.

Yesterday I read Christa Quilts’s blog post on being a quilter who blogs, not the other way round, and I was nodding in agreement. To me it means to define the core, then add only the bare minimum of other elements to create a warm atmosphere in one’s online corner. The challenge for me will be to find an acceptable balance between keeping things that I’ve learned to myself, and sharing them with you. I have discovered I love teaching, when I can forget about being self-conscious, but that means there’s less time for sewing, about which I’m no happy camper at all – because love teaching…

The amusing part about it is that I’m a beginner still, but on the other hand I become a micro-scale expert each time I’m tackling a new tiny bit of the quiltoverse, and that’s the stuff I want to share. And oh how I love all those weird small nuggets of information, too, which can actually make it or break it, quite literally in the case of incorrect thread weight to mention one example.

To me, focus also means a clear approach to health and leisure, the two elements that I think make up ‘personal balance’. Speaking of balance, I don’t agree with the concept of ‘work/life balance’ at all, because work is part of life, and in many cases it implies that one dislikes one’s work, and only lives life outside of all the hours spent at work. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I know that all of us can’t love with pure passion what we do for a living every single day, but still, create ‘balance in life’ and include all elements in that expression should be realistic. No?

Another funny thing is ‘in real life’ as opposed to ‘online.’ Do you feel like your online existence isn’t real, isn’t a part of your daily life, isn’t as valuable? I think it’s nonsense, as I care a great deal about how I interact with people (and feel actual shame when I perceive that I’ve let others down) and also about my contributions to the community. Writing “I want to do more for me” made me feel like I should explain that it isn’t only sewing for me, but adding things to the community that I think someone else might enjoy, too, and that is how funny it is yet how deep it goes.

So yeah, focus it is. I have already started (once again… *grins* not throwing in the towel, though; never!) up-prioritising my health, including sleeping well (enough and regularly), increasing exercise outdoors, yoga in the mornings at home, meditation in the evenings before going to bed, drinking enough water (I tend to forget about it when it is cool or cold outside), and checking what and how much I eat. All these efforts increase and decrease during the course of a year, a bit like a sinus curve, but the desire is there to keep improving, or remain in balance. If nothing else, then my stress-related migraine should be less likely to show it’s abominable head.

This winter I haven’t had a depression like I did last year, but it sure has been gloomy. Only in the past few days have we seen any sort of snow (yay! and it’s getting much, much colder, too!), and when there is nothing white on the ground at night, we have to create an impression of being awake and feeling energetic in other ways, such as what I mentioned in the above paragraph. Even though we don’t go to sleep at 15.15 in the afternoon, that is when the day ends around this time of year, the sun goes down and the night begins after fewer than six hours of daylight. Oftentimes the sky remains grey, but I’m a bit nuts in that I love this place for all that it is, and don’t feel like moving from here either, at least for now. Solstice was a great day as well, and even though daylight increases by only a minute a day still, I feel like we are going in the right direction again :)

Apart from ‘focus’, in 2016 I wish to recall “Done is better than perfect”, “Show, don’t tell”, and my own quote “Perfectionists exist, perfection doesn’t.” I have a new Moleskine on its way to me as we speak, so stay tuned for the latest twist and turns in the saga of the Bullet Journal tweaked to fit GTD! I might have a goodie in store for you, too, as a thank you for sticking with me through my silent times last year :*


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