I think after 2020 we all might be a little hesitant to make big plans or resolutions for 2021. But life has a funny way of working out and moving along even when it seems like everything is falling apart.

For example, my “30 day challenge” resolution ideas for 2020 included going on a walk outside every day for a month, paint every day for a month, and cook a meal every week for a month…and without me even trying, those goals all still kind of happened for me by accident. I went on more family hikes than usual in the summer due to outside activities being the only safe way to spend some time together, and in December I dogsat for 3 weeks, taking the dogs out on 20 minute walks every day. So that’s an accidental month’s worth of daily walks. From September-November, I was part of a huge mural installation, so even though we weren’t painting every day, and even though it wasn’t me painting little detailed personal things for fun, a few months’ worth of painting for hours 2-4 days a week technically more than fulfills that goal. And lastly, while I was dogsitting this December, I got into the habit of cooking myself a few simple meals (mostly eggs or pasta…but we’ll count it because it got me a little more comfortable with the idea of cooking daily stuff and not as a big event) so I think that somewhat qualifies for the weekly cooking goal also.

So, is this a win for believing in manifesting/the law of attraction? I think so. 😉 I really do believe that the act of putting a concrete goal into your mind, the act of writing it down and telling yourself it is something you want to achieve, something you believe that you can do, will eventually make it a reality for you. Heck, I had even been more vocal about wanting to paint a mural someday this past year, and the opportunity fell right into my lap! It was truly amazing. It’s not magic, it’s maybe a little bit fate or chance, or it’s prayers being answered. However you want to look at it, I think a little blind faith is really practical in life, even if you don’t notice how many pieces fell apart only for the right ones to fall together until you look at it in hindsight.

In 2021, I don’t really want many “resolutions,” I just want one overarching goal: be more present. Don’t let unlimited possibilities and trying to look too far ahead overwhelm you. Don’t try to have it all figured out before you take the next step. Just take one day at a time. One day is never too overwhelming to face, it will be over in a matter of hours. It’s good to have long term goals and short term goals, but sometimes you really need to ask yourself what you need to do just today to bring you one step closer in what you think is the right direction. 2020 was full of days that blurred together into months of similarity, and I want 2021 to be filled with more individual days and more present moments. I don’t want to wonder how other people find time to sip tea and journal and be early to things and take walks every day, I want to find that kind of presence and space in my own life before it’s too late. It’s something that I’ve been striving for for years, but that I finally have tasted in small bursts. It’s finally within my reach. 2021 will be a year of growth, but slow growth. Steady, intentional steps.

Here are my few small, hopeful goals:

Read 12 books this year. I don’t think I’ve read even 4 whole books in a year in a while. But I used to devour books as a child and as a teen, and heck, if I watched 196 movies last year while also finishing college, I think I can manage 12 books in a year, I’m not saying they have to be long or heavy content. I just might have to cut out a few movie nights this year to make room. 🙂 I actually technically finished one already, though I had read over half of it in 2019…but hey, I’m counting it! Haha, follow along at my new Goodreads account if you want to see what I’m reading.

Get a decent job. This is a little scary to type because it’s like…whoa. The rest of my life starts now. My career starts now. And I fully acknowledge that I am extremely privileged that getting a job isn’t a survival situation for me, that my parents like having me living at home for the time being, and I am in a position of currently having very minimal expenses. So while I have the luxury of having more options than someone in a more urgent position, and I have a college degree…it’s also a tumultuous time in the world, so I’ll have to see what I can get and where I can hopefully feel valuable. I’ve never been the kind of person who is concerned with establishing a “career” either, I’m kind of expecting to do a few different things in my life, but that adds another level of uncertainty to approaching where to start.

This also connects to a conversation I had with my best friend on New Year’s…we are introverts and homebodies by nature, and we feel that while the pandemic and stay-at-home orders were more tolerable for us than for more social-natured people, we also feel that it has made us regress a bit as far as social skills and comfort zones. Champagne problems, perhaps, but they are still real obstacles to overcome. Part of why I want to focus on being more present this year is because I really am overwhelmed at the idea of jumping back into the “real world” and interacting with people every day for a job, because it’s going to be a bigger and stranger transition now after this past year. I know it will be 10x harder for me to put myself out there and adjust after months of being cozy and safe at home most days than it would have been in 2019 when I was used to a much more busy and social schedule, but of course a lot of jobs are also more open to work-from-home setups now, not that I necessarily prefer that. Just getting started is often the hardest part. We’ll see.

Make better art. Last year, I made a fair amount of decent art, but I don’t feel like I progressed amazingly. I still feel that my art is often too “childish” for my own tastes, even though that’s my own personal criticism, and even though children’s art is my goal…I like art that can appeal to all ages, rather than art that is made for children specifically, you know? I want to build better technique, go back to basics a bit and hone my skills, work on my weaknesses, refine my color palettes. Have the patience and perseverance to tackle bigger projects rather than just simple little one-off drawings.

Propose that mural. Like I mentioned before, I had to come up with my own mural design and a fully drawn-up proposal with timeline and budget for my mural class final project. My instructor was actually very encouraging about my particular proposal because it is very approachable and realistic, and I also received similarly encouraging feedback from some people that work in beautification and neighborhood development for the city after my instructor recently shared our final proposals with them. So really, now it’s on me to ask the owners of the building about making my mural happen. Again, I’ve been in my comfort zone too much this past year, so I even hesitated to type this out as a goal because getting in contact with the business owner, and the process of making it happen if they say yes, feels very intimidating right now. But manifestation and all that…I know I’ll kick myself if I never put this into motion when I have it all ready to go.

Embrace a little weirdness. I think every year I shed a few more iotas of insecurity. I’d like to embrace my love of weirdness a little more this year, especially creativity-wise. I get so jazzed seeing illustrations of made-up creatures or reading oddball/surreal stories, etc. etc. and I know the weird-factor is what my art is missing sometimes that keeps it from feeling right to me. It’s almost like I see something really out there and think, whoa, we’re allowed to do stuff like this? As if there are some kind of unwritten rules I’ve been trapping myself within. I don’t know how I’ll find my own slightly strange stride, but I know I’ve been trying to be “normal” for the last decade to my detriment. I don’t want to suppress my natural personality in an effort to be “normal”…it’s just not me. 🙂 (the Creative Pep Talk podcast is a huge motivation for embracing one’s true self, weirdness and all, and I so appreciate everything Andy J. Pizza puts out, including the fact that he goes by Andy J. Pizza.)

So, I know specificity is important in making achievable goals, and half of these are more on the vague side. But to me, these feel specific in ways that only I can define for myself, in ways I can’t really put into concise words, or maybe that I just don’t want to try to explain, if that makes any sense at all. If anything, 2021 is going to be the year of embracing the unpredictability of life, because 2020 taught us all that lesson that our plans are never set in stone. I don’t want my plans to be set in stone anyway, I much prefer when things evolve naturally. 2021 is for being present, and growing slowly.

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