Monday, December 30, 2013

In Defense of Letting Oneself Off The Hook

What with a new year upon us, I want to say a few things about that.

This is the time of year when so many people commit to a word for the next year and/or a set of goals to accomplish in the various facets of their lives.

I'm here to extol the virtues of not doing this, of leaving oneself open to whatever life has in store and dancing with that...instead of having a finely-honed plan of how one thinks things should work out and what one should accomplish.  Should is the operative word, but you could easily use want or hope to here instead...or any other word that implies that we have control over life, when we all know that's just not the case.

I've lived without goals for the last two years, and I'm a much better person for it. 

Had I gone into 2012 with a laundry list of things I hoped to accomplish as an art quilter, which is what I was up to creatively at that time, I wouldn't have found my way to mixed media, art journaling, book arts, painting.  I also shaped the circumstances to greatly reduce the stress in my life by removing the ambition, the competition, the need to constantly fire myself up to create more-better-different. 

The same goes for having a special word for the year.  I'd had enough years where I'd selected a word at the outset, only to quickly forget that word, then remember it somewhere middle of February and berate myself for forgetting or not doing all I could do to BE that word for the year. 

Better to strive to become a person with more inherent value...as in more serene, intrinsically happier, more content, mellower, more peaceful, able to live in the now.  More confident that every day I am in the right place, doing the right thing, becoming more mySelf all the time.  And knowing that this is what life is really about ~ not how well I stick to an adopted word for the year or how many widgets I create or how many shows I have or how much of my work sells.

17 comments:

Jacki Long said...

I had been thinking of a blog along these same lines, as I agree with your words. Thanks for doing it for me, and better! ♥

Irene said...

I agree with you, because like you, I know that from one day to the other, life is unpredictable. My main objective is too live as well as I can with my bipolarity and to have as many peaceful days as I can without giving a strict definition to that. Anything else would be placing myself inside a box with a label. Thanks for bringing this up. xox

Roberta said...

I agree totally. I say, goals, schmoals. I can't plan for anything in my life. So I prefer to just do the work to the best of my abilities and I am happy with that.

Maggi said...

Beautifully put Connie.

Dawn said...

Well said Connie!! Lol I think loose goals/wishes/dreams can help keep an element of focus to a hectic life but I also believe that setting them in stone can put way too much pressure on and be counter-productive, and dare I say it - self-destructive some times.
Hugs x x x

donna!ee said...

i totally agree that there can be limitations on life that some goals/words impose. although I never have a list of goals, I do have one word for 2014.... practice. practice whatever is in that moment. blest be ;D

Els said...

Hi there Connie ! Never ever was good at making resolutions ...
AND I WON'T START NOW .... ;-)

All the best !

Leslie said...

I dropped out of the world of competitive quilt making 25 years ago cause coming in 3rd out of 100 quilts would depress me for weeks. Crazy.

So... I agree, better to work at being the sort of person you mention in your last paragraph. Much better.

That said, I am making a short list of things I want to try to fit into each week or so - a digital collage, a journal page, the next video in that class I signed up for. Just reminders of things I enjoy that get forgotten.

Charlton Stitcher said...

What beautiful thoughts, Connie. It is so easy to set goals which bring disappointment and defeat when we fail to achieve them. This can be depressing, defeating and limiting.
Still, I find some general hopes and aspirations are helpful - feelings that I might try this or that and above all that I might find pleasure and fulfilment in the doing of these things.
A happy and contented New Year to you.

PamelaArtsinSF said...

Excellent post. I agree! I never make "resolutions". But this year I did decide to use a little stash of money I saved up to take some classes at SF Center for the Book. Happy 2014, Connie!

Jeannie said...

Thank you!!! I have seen the "what is your word" posts on FB and I really want to say something odd like "window" or "dog's tail", just to cause a ruckus. :) In the past I have made resolutions, had words, etc. Then real life happens. Things I didn't anticipate, want, not plan. Go with the flow is my motto. Put that on a word chart!!! :) Happy New Year, dear friend! I hope it is a wonderful one for you.

ileneharris said...

Thoughtful post, Connie. I see you received lots of comments, which makes me think that other people have considered the pros and cons.

ileneharris said...

Thoughtful post, Connie. I see you received lots of comments, which makes me think that other people have considered the pros and cons.

Margaret Cooter said...

Hear, hear! Less is more certainly applies when it comes to word-of-the-year, daily-projects, resolutions, and others of that cluttersome ilk.
A happy and uncluttered new year to you!

tiedyejudy said...

Connie, I think I'll follow your path next year, although this year's word for me - play - turned out to be a good one! But I never get to all the goals, maybe because I constantly come up with new ones as I go along. I have a list of things I hope to try but I'm not aiming for anything lofty, and I'm sure not planning to enter any competitions. I hope you enjoy 2014 even more than you have this year, and I look forward to continuing to be inspired by your lovely work!
Hugs,
Judy

KrisR said...

Yes, I think goal setting is highly over-rated. I'm more a go-with-the-flow type of gal (after 50+ years of trying to direct my life without feeling very successful at it). Even 'intentions' seem airy fairy and don't get me started on New Years Resolutions.

I have had two years of success with selecting a word (or two) for the year. I think it's successful for me because I use it as a mantra in my daily meditation sessions when I can't stop my monkey mind. Last year was "I am enough. I am at peace". This year...."I love you. I forgive you."

Love your work. Thank you for blogging.

ingridp said...

well written. glad to hear there are more persons out there like me. letting each day take you away!