I know a lot of people don't like the idea of New Year's resolutions, and they scoff about the whole exercise. Why, they say, do something like this only once a year? Why not change things whenever? I happen to really like the idea of closing out the current year, and making a list of things I would like to see different in the coming year. Things I can change, actions I can take to improve my life. Sure, you can do that on any old day, but there is something right in the turning of a whole calendar, rather than just a day, that really frames the whole process. 

 
For me, 2017 was a horrible year. Between personal struggles with my own health, a serious family problem that is devastating (and ongoing) with one of my children, and more... well 2017 can go jump off a cliff as far as I am concerned. They say that each year has its own lesson to teach you. For me, 2017 was all about how I don't have as much control or influence over things as I would wish. I cannot change some things, no matter how hard I try or how responsible I feel. Sometimes, bad things are beyond our control. 
 
Some things cannot be fixed, only survived. It's a darn bleak truth to have to face, and I did not do it with grace.
 
2017 feels like a year of failures. There were/are a lot of emotional and personal issues, but I also really let my own art business go - and really I have been for a couple of years. I moved in 2015, which was fraught with unexpected complications and issues that come with uprooting a whole family from the northeast to the southeast. 2016, well that just felt off. 2017, now that was the year I was going to get my studio back in gear! I even mapped out a painting schedule that would have had me feeling pretty good about myself. All that blew up when my world turned upside down in March. What I have learned, after producing very little for three years, but most notably this year (the image with this post is most of the paintings I did in 2017 - it should be quintuple that), is what I already knew but didn't acknowledge properly: I am my art.
 
Not painting, like I should have been, meant I wasn't doing a lot of things I should have been because it is reflective of me as a person. Exercise fell off for the first time in 15 years. I used to exercise six days a week! I actually went a few months without any exercise at all. Now, I was so stressed out I barely got any sleep and wasn't able to eat - and I am a stress-eater, so that was a new one on me (I actually lost weight, but it's strange how little that means when everything is in crisis.) I stopped doing anything beneficial for myself for the most part, because if I did anything for me it felt like I was doing something wrong. One could theorize this might have been reflected in my own health issues that have cropped up now. I was, and still feel to some extent, sick inside and out.
 
And YUCK! I am SO over feeling like this!
 
Yeah, OK, I can NOT change everything. The things that went bad, they're not my fault. They're not anyone's fault. It just is what it is, and it needs to be dealt with. That's life. In order to deal with things, I need to be better. I need to stop engaging in behaviors that make me LESS, and start doing things that make me MORE. I need to be able to be here for my family, and that means getting myself together as best I can even when everything else is falling apart. Problems happening outside of my control don't mean that I should put my own needs to the side, it means my wants get shelved but my needs get met so I can meet everyone else's needs. That's a crucial piece that probably seems so simple and obvious, but in a crisis, you might be surprised what you would do (or not do.) To me, with everything happening, I mattered least of all. 
 
For me, 2018 is going to be about getting myself back on the right path. The main crisis is ongoing, and expected to get a lot worse over the coming months (though not as bas as last Spring), but hopefully will get better eventually. Rough waters ahead. In order to meet it being the best I can be with the most to offer to the situation I need to cover and meet the needs that make me a better person:
 
*Eat right, including eliminating foods that are causing me health issues (gluten and sugar are both on the hit list, after completing the Whole30 I found adding them back in caused actual pain and other problems. This is actually serious, and I have doctors involved.) I'm doing a hybrid of Whole30, but a bit lower fat. Also working on testing the 16:8 eating schedule.
 
*Exercise, because I am always better when I do. Also, health and pain benefits, so it's non-negotiable. I've been running and lifting weights, but I think I am going to switch to a round of P90X (It's been long enough since last time that I hope the DVDs don't annoy me anymore. Worst case, I'll mute them!)
 
*Sleep, I'm really trying to manage this one but I don't have a lot of great strategies yet. Not eating after 6 or 7pm helps me sleep better. I'm taking melatonin as well, but it's the anxiety that is ruining my sleep. As that anxiety is actually rooted in when something actually happens, there isn't a lot I can do about it.
 
*Art/Career, I'm making it a real point to make it into my studio. Today will be the first day of painting for 2018, because already life got in the way (although I did get my business taxes filed, so... whatever, the boring stuff counts too!) I may share some of the paintings I complete on here. I also know that I am now searching for my "opus". For me, I want to create a large series that will be well worth leaving behind me when I am gone. So, I am searching for that idea that inspires that in me. Once I have it, I will "train" towards it, until I'm ready to start. This is a years-long journey, but it's worth it. I have purpose again beyond the commissions and gallery shows.
 
*Breath, I'm trying really hard to give myself time to breath (I hate yoga and meditation, it actually makes me angry... running is my zen. I'm that type. So, that's not what I mean.) I'm working on speaking to myself (on the inside, in the moment) about how it's not all my responsibility and I cannot fix everything, and how that is OK even if it feels like it's not. It's the closest I can get to treating myself with kindness.
 
My hope is from these five things, I can grow other beneficial behaviors and results. This is my base, I am hopeful to see what I can build on top of it once it is stable.
 
If you made it this far, wow! You stuck with all my rambling! I promise my next entries will be more upbeat. Honestly, this is pretty upbeat considering the topics covered (even if vaguely, because they have to be.) But, a LOT more upbeat! 
 
I'm going to really try to make 2018 better than 2017 was. I'm fearful, because 2017 was so bad, but it's one of those things, isn't it? The days will pass whether I want them to or not, at their own speed. Better to meet tomorrow better than I did today, and next month better than this month, so that maybe - just maybe - I'll meet 2019 in a completely different place.