January | Starting Fresh And Starting New
It seems that as of late, December is the only time of year that I take a considerable amount of time off work and allow myself the opportunity to unwind. And this year, in particular, I needed the break more than ever.
I like to approach the end of a year as an opportunity to assess the lessons brought forth by the past 365 days, as well as reflect on a renewed hope for the clean, blank slate of the months ahead. I know I speak for many people when I say that 2018 was a challenging year; in fact, it was the most challenging year I’ve faced to date. It broke my heart. The hits just kept on coming, and I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to the new year for the mere fact that it’s no longer 2018.
Anyway, despite the harrowing year I’m leaving behind, I did manage to write some half-decent articles and get a lot more projects done than I would’ve otherwise anticipated. (Notable mentions for the articles: How We Get Stuck, Fixing Other People’s Problems, and We Need To Talk About Infidelity - over a thousand views and several hundred reads each on Medium.)
When reflecting on the new year, one thing I’d love to leave behind is feeling angry. Anger is an emotion that’s overstayed its welcome in my life these past few months. I’ve been comparing myself to an Obscurial from JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them - once I get going, I start to spin into a dark cloud, ripping the paint off the walls and seeking to destroy everything around me. Metaphorically-speaking, of course.
It’s not that I’m particularly uncomfortable with anger; admittedly, my teenage years were a testament to just how comfortable my anger can feel. It’s just that right now, being angry overwhelms and exhausts me. Never mind the fact that it’s counterproductive and only drags me away from accomplishing whatever goal I’m focusing on. It always hurts me more than it hurts whomever I’m angry at. And I get that anger does serve a purpose - it’s a beacon to let you know when you’re hurt, an alarm to notify you that an intruder has crossed one of your boundaries. But anger that overstays its welcome is nothing but a poison to chew on, and I’d like to see it visiting a lot less frequently in the new year.
Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.
I’m also finding myself more and more interested in minimalism and doing less with more. I’ve been monitoring my consumption habits, getting rid of clutter, and focusing on making quality purchases over quantity. I want my purchases to be more like investments - lasting a long time, and not likely to need replacing anytime soon. I also want to be mindful about why I’m buying certain things, and asking myself questions like:
“Am I buying this because I need it, want it, or want it to play into an idea I have about myself? Will I use it? Do I have more of the same thing right now that I am not using?”
Another new endeavour for 2019 - I want to start saving more money each month. I’ve been looking into doing a 52-week money challenge (this site makes it easy to set up if you’re interested). My goal is to put aside a set amount each week that’s affordable for my budget, and end up with money that I can use however I like at the end of the year. For example, withdrawing just $26.50 a week leaves you with $1,378.00 in a year! I’m planning to set up an automatic weekly withdrawal so that I won’t forget to transfer it, I won’t even realize it’s gone, and I can then budget my spending around it.
Also: As mentioned in last month’s blog post, I’m now only doing one monthly post (where I share a little bit of everything I was doing before, but more condensed). More quality, less quantity.
And I’m keeping the wallpaper downloads, but will save those for subscribers only. I won’t be sending a newsletter the same way that I was before, but I’ll be sending the monthly wallpapers as a link in email.
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this article about letting our kids navigate their own emotional growth
this heartbreakingly accurate (yet beautifully written) account of loss
the disease of being busy and how it’s self-destructive
this interesting article by the school of life
how the great recession influenced a decade of design
why you should consider wearing non-stretch jeans
ten reasons to escape excessive consumerism
the art of giving advice and saying goodbye
how to be better with money in 2019
how to navigate the first holiday without a loved one
this cover of the classic donna lewis song from 1996
how millennials are prolonging their childhoods at christmas
elizabeth wurtzel on discovering the truth about her parents
exploring new terrain
pushing my comfort zone
My most recent article is an ode to John Mayer’s new song “I Guess I Just Feel Like”. By no means is this list exhaustive or “the truth”, it’s just a neat summary of things I’ve been chewing on lately. So, without further adieu, here’s what I came up with:
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