GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

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New Year, Same Me

I forgot the write my annual obligatory year-end post but I don’t have any esoteric wisdom to share. I could do a year in review. Maybe I did that last year? Well, in 2021. I forget what I write on this blog, and I don’t go back to re-read what I’ve written in the past. Just verifying renewal info, I’ve had this incarnation of this blog since 2018. I know I had one before that and found where I had saved some old posts I had intended to share. That didn’t happen. Maybe that was the year before. Everything blurs together, and the pandemic year(s) didn’t help.

Quick review – I didn’t ride my bike as much in 2022 as I did in 2021 but I did ride a few new locations, working on hills. I had more trainer miles, and I expect that trend to continue.

I did go on vacation, and didn’t have a panic attack about it. I’m learning to spin wool and when it’s warmer outside will try to wash a small bit of fleece to learn that process. Back to knitting and found some local knitters to hang out with once a month.

I’m back doing Duolingo, working on learning Spanish. Maybe I’ll never be comfortably conversational but if I can add to the words I understand and improve grammar, it’ll be a win.

I do want to write more here. I’m paying for it, and social media has become annoying so I’ll share more here. Back to basics in a weird way.

The word I selected for 2023 is Connect but I really feel like disconnecting. Or maybe looking more at how & why I connect. Social media is reminding me more and more of the seagulls in Finding Nemo all screaming MINE MINE MINE. There are some genuine connections but I doubt many of the people who follow me (or who I follow) would recognize me if I passed them on the street, or was sitting next to them in a coffee shop. And would I recognize them? How is that connection?

I’m also reading a book titled “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection” by John T Cacioppo and William Patrick. I knew chronic loneliness can lead to many physical ailments, but I didn’t realize it could impair cognitive functions as well. I know it’s more difficult to make friends as an adult and I wonder how many people, especially the elderly, die earlier than they would have if they had more social connections. That sentence feels bulky but Grammarly didn’t give me any red lines on it

So really new me, same me. Maybe more mindfully connected. Or maybe just rambling what’s in my head onto this blog.

Happy New Year!

Obligatory Year-End Post 2021 Edition

The last week of the year always makes me think about what I’ve accomplished & what my goals will be for next year.

I’ve accomplished a lot that I never imagined possible in the last year. It mainly revolves around cycling, and I want to continue riding into 2022 but maybe push myself less to reach specific goals. I think a 30-mile ride is a nice sustainable practice, and maybe when it’s summer and outside riding weather again, I’ll want to try for 40 or 50. Or maybe not. That’s where I’m thinking of dialing it back. I spent a lot of this last summer working up to 30 for the Cycle 66 event. I didn’t focus on much else and didn’t spend as much time drawing and painting as I would have liked.

So this year I will focus more on creativity and I want to spend more time learning Spanish. I’m brainstorming ideas for my Word of the Year (and will share that on my podcast). I think it will help me determine what is really important as I navigate all the things I want to do.

This week, the time between Christmas and New Years, feels magical in that it’s sort of a void. The portal between celebrating a winter holiday, and the new year. It’s either quiet at work, or crazy busy. I’m practicing being in the moment, acknowledging the turn of another year but I also want to acknowledge the small turns that occur. Seasonal, lunar changes.

There’s been a lot going through my mind and I don’t feel like it’s all sorted out. Like a snowglobe that has been shaken, everything is floating and flitting around. I think having things sorted out may be overrated.

I look forward to sharing more of my rambling trains of thought in 2022.

Farewell 2018

I’ve tried to look back at this past year and see what I’ve accomplished.  Nothing really stands out.  I started playing ukulele then quit when I cut my thumb and couldn’t strum without pain.  I have sketched more, and completed 1 sketchbook, maybe 2.    I cut back on the postcards I’ve sent through Postcrossing, but I did geocache more than previous years.

But my habits are very consistent…  constantly check Instagram, constantly check Facebook, started checking Twitter again.

I’ve decided my mantra for 2019 will be More Sketchbook Less Social Media.   Instead of setting my phone on my desk, I’ll set my sketchbook out and doodle when I need a break from spreadsheets.

I’m also going to buy fewer books and read the ones I have purchased.  Kindle First, BookBub and the selection of books for less than $5.00 on my e-readers has provided me with plenty of reading material.   I completed my Goodreads book challenge goal for 2018 (First time ever!), so there’s another accomplishment for the list, but as of today I have 627 books in my “to read” shelf.

Back to the ukulele, it’s easier to catch up to where I was but my skill level is still pretty raw.  I fell into the same madness as I did with sketching… if I can’t do it perfectly the first time, I don’t want to try.   I saw a video on holding the uke in a specific way, and it’s uncomfortable for me.  If I can’t hold it ‘the right way’, there’s no point to playing it.  I may going back up with the ukulele jam group here. Maybe.

Art, Books, Music.  That’s my focus for the New Year.


Obligatory End of the Year Post 2017

If I’m not consistent with my blog posts, I am consistent about doing a year-end post.  Unfortunately, those were all on my previous blog and now lost.  Probably for the best.

I noticed on my Facebook Memories for Dec 31st, there’s a common theme of “this year sucked, I’m ready to get it over with”.   I could say this year is no different, but instead of focusing on the bad things that happened, and there have been a LOT of challenges this year, I want to focus on the things that were good about 2017.

  • I started with a new company in January 2017, finally getting out of the unstable oil & gas industry.
  • With the various deaths in my family, my cousins & I got together for a dinner for the first time ever.  I would like to this to become a regular thing.
  • I’ve also become more at peace with death and dying, and how people grieve in their own ways.
  • I started sketching in public and now our little group is an offical Urban Sketchers chapter.
  • I started geocaching again, and recently hit my 230th find.
  • We got our 2nd corgi, Vision.  It’s been fun to watch him & Jarvis play and wrestle.
  • My daughter self published a book.
  • My oldest son returned to school for automotive maintenance.
  • My youngest son enlisted in the Marines.
  • I finished 21 books.
  • I finished 2 sketchbooks.
  • We have a roof, food and water, and clothing.
  • I’m reasonably healthy.

I’m sure next year’s Obligatory End of the Year post will have a longer list.  I’m going to work on focusing on the good that happens daily, and keep a daily Gratitude Journal.

I was thinking of what my focus word will be for 2018, and I did one of those quizzes that analyzes your Facebook page, and the word given to me was Family.  That is fitting for 2018 so I’ll stick with it.

So farewell 2017.  I’ve learned a lot from you and look forward to 2018.

Happy New Years Y’all.