If there's ever been a time to not set a whole sway of new year resolutions, its this new year. Seriously, I think we've had a hard enough time of late to not add a list of should and should nots to the mix. Historically, Im a new year resolution maker (and breaker) but this year, Im taking it easy on the making of an absurd set of rules.
The dictionary meaning of resolution is 'A FIRM decision to do or not do something'. Sounds way too constrained and cemented to me and the only resolution I'm making is... to not make any.
It's good to set goals. Moving forward, they can become our guides and sign posts to where we want to be, but what I absolutely love to make is plans.
Planning is 'a detailed PROPOSAL for doing or achieving something...basically, a how to get there strategy. It's also an intention or decision about how to go about doing it. Planning is a highly operative word, it allows us to mind map, day dream, goal set and basically, well...plan.
Yet, we well know, after a year of the crazy, plans can go astray in the blink of an eye. Psychologically, better a plan losing momentum and needing a plot twist , than a resolution going unchecked, don't you think?
2020 saw me starting the year with a daughter living in Northern Italy pursuing her internship for her masters degree in Yacht Design, with plans to meet us for a mid year sailing holiday in Greece. I had a diary full of art exhibitions and a major house renovation to fit all my exciting art and holiday plans around.
Then Covid hit.
The daughter was hurried home, packed up within 2 days and into one suitcase, just as Italy went into lockdown and Australia started to close its borders. We finished half of our renovation, leaving a house divided into useable and unusable areas, dust covers on everything and a daughter needing a bedroom that was not available, due to it being part of the renovation. Our house was a shambles and the news across the world was terrifying. Art was very, very far from my mind.
As the months progressed and we thanked our hard border closures for the safety we found ourselves in Western Australia, I started to reflect on what I wanted from my art; to hit the pause button was, funnily enough, just what I needed. To ponder what gave me enjoyment, peace and contentment when the outside world to my home sanctuary was in chaos.
Reflection lead to a reset, trying new art materials, playing with techniques, assessing what wasn't working and what it was I admired in other artists. It was a really cathartic and enjoyable time. To not have the constraints of deadlines, the hurry to get organised for exhibitions, to not have any pressing events leading to hurried and compromised projects.
I emerged with new ideas, some that made it onto canvas and worked incredibly successfully and others that will never see the light of day! Such is the art life. Imaginative realism became my main focus and oh boy, was it needed. Luckily for me, as the world got darker, my art got lighter and my galleries and followers responded so positively. Thank you.
The rubbish of 2020 was not finished for us yet though. My brother was made redundant from his hard won aviation career, returning to Perth after 20 years away...and we shuffled our home to make room for his family of 4 to temporarily join ours.
Two months of too much wine, food, tears, laughter and absolute disbelief at this curveball of a year, with art time being my precious haven from the emotions of the house, my hubby even making a sign 'Mia at work, do not disturb' for the back door (happy wife, happy life and all that). Yet again, with chaos swirling around me, my plans were adjusted...'make new art' became 'rework old art, making them new again.'
As we head into the New Year, life has calmed once more. The house is finished, bedrooms back to their rightful owners, the extended family moved into their own home, furniture and possessions decluttered or rearranged, and my studio is once again in daily use...and I plan on getting in there as often as possible in 2021, paintbrushes crossed.
So, the moral of this rambling story is, if you are thinking of setting resolutions...don't. Simple.
Make plans instead, plans that are flexible, changeable and unconstrained, that allow life to happen without sabotaging the firmness of a resolution.
Take time to reflect, reset and emerge in a world that needs a few more exciting plans and a whole lot less resolutions.
Happy New Year. Here's to health and happiness and a whole lot of new, exciting and interchangeable plans.