I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions this year, but I have been thinking about how I spend my time and recognize there are changes I want to make.
In my head I can plan all kinds of activities, or endlessly mull over some dream schedule configuration, but these things don’t get me very far in reality. Apparently neither to resolutions so I am trying something different this year: paying attention.
I have this theory that mindfulness will help me be less stressed and anxious. (Not that I’m freaked out all the time, but more peace of mind is always a good thing.) I also think mindfulness means I will choose to spend time doing things I truly enjoy vs defaulting to “meh” stupid shit that leaves me wondering where those hours went.
What does paying attention look like? So far, I’m experimenting with a few different practices:
- Keeping a log book. I 100% stole this idea from Austin Kleon, right down to the moleskine I bought. I pay attention better when I write things down, and this is simple and straightforward enough the dailiness doesn’t seem like a burden.
- Doing a 52 weeks project. I think the more relaxed approach of one self portrait every week (instead of every day) will keep the project from being overwhelming, as well as give me the impetus to take more photos overall so my stream on flickr isn’t just my face. I also think it’s a good way to see how yeah, middle age is happening. The camera doesn’t lie; I look older than I did in 2007 because I am older. This is a good thing; here’s to hoping more wisdom comes with the years.
- Drawing things. On my list of things to do before I turn fifty, this took the form of “Draw, even though I think I canâ€™t. (I canâ€™t as in â€œthat does not look real, it looks malformedâ€ not canâ€™t â€œmy fingers donâ€™t function well enough to hold a penâ€)” This means making time, at least once a week, to fill a page in a sketchbook. It forces me to slow down, stop looking at screens, and concentrate in a different way.
So far, so good 2013. Happy new year.