I am late with this first blog of 2014, partly because I have spent my time clearing up the mess and muddle that inevitably arises when one has had a house full for Christmas, but also because I am trying to learn to pace myself. I haven’t made a New Year resolution as such, instead I am thinking in themes.
Last year was exciting, a new lovely home, exhausting, two moves in under five months and the consequences of buying a property of delightful character, but one that needs work. So my days were peopled, quite literally, with men of various trades coming and going to no discernible timetable, to fix electrics, decorate inside and out or cut down trees that were casting deep shadows over the meadow. I listened to a couple of interesting programmes on Radio 4, one about happiness, how we define and achieve it, and another about busyness, how it affects our work and relationships — it followed four people with differing issues of being time–poor and stressed. Techniques were applied to help ameliorate each individual’s scattered and exhausting lives. What struck me about both these programmes was that in the end what everyone valued was a sense of control over their lives and what they enjoyed most was spending time with friends or family. One recommendation was to complete a task, see it through to the end and not allow constant interruptions to deflect one from the task in hand. So when I should have been writing this blog, I was actually finishing making three gauze curtains for the yellow sitting room. They are finished and hanging in said room; I remarkably proud of this minor accomplishment not least because I am a very poor seamstress, impatient with sewing machines and bad at measuring accurately. But there they hang a testament to finishing what I had started.
So after a fragmented 2013 the themes I am working on this year are as follows: pacing myself; forgoing the tyranny of the ‘to do’ list; completing one task at a time.
I hope that this will lead me to feel less distracted and pressurised, that I will take pleasure in the tasks that I accomplish and that it will free my unconscious to do the creative work that enriches my life. A few years ago I realised that my creativity was central to my being and that it must take centre stage in everything I do. I have stood by this maxim and I am far happier for it. I have recently decided that I am going to develop my artistic practice, I have a love of drawing and painting and I am going to develop my still–life painting again. The balance of creating art and literature is something that I will take great pleasure in and so the task that I intend to see through to the finish line in the next week is sorting my studio — which has become a dumping ground for the things that haven’t yet found a home. I am excited about 2014, much of the hard work of the past two years is behind me and I am looking forward to a creative year of accomplishments and a year lived at a comfortable pace.