Two hours before midnight I am sitting down to my blog again to sum up this and welcome the next year. It is difficult to write here again as I have abandoned my central journal a lot in 2014.
I have spent a lot of time working offline, making things happen in my life and sadly I simply ran out of energy to write about it too. Actually, I have more notes in my Moleskine journals than here…
2014 was not easy if I think about my levels of energy invested and often underestimated for the efforts required to conquer even just everyday life surprises. All I can say looking back at this year now is that I have learned my new limits and I have understood something my closest friends used to say a lot this year: I really need to take time, make time to rest. I had two serious meltdowns – one in September, at the end of horrific summer spent with an ill puppy and bored child behind the curtains of our house. Second just recently, before Christmas. I simply could not lift up a finger, I was so tired – physically, emotionally, intellectually. Out of those two occasions came out one conclusion: my current life in not balanced and I need to work on it. I guess it is just a question of routine and the fact that for quite a while I have put aside fun, time for myself, reading books, creative writing and travel – all the activities that feed my happiness. I should never forget about myself, really, it’s something I must learn to guard in 2015.
I have also tipped the balance between planning and actually delivering and so instead of focussing on million of ideas I have (every week!:/)
I chose a few, worked on them and finished them with a final delivery on each. I have completed my first seriously designed, planned and executed art project which also included a bit of a learning curve (video making part of it was very new to me). I am really happy that at the end of it it was the process, not just stories, that made me feel complete. I think I have re-defined success for myself and learned to look at it in a more Buddhist manner – the process itself, the journey meant so much more to me than the final result. The day I started screening the documentary I have genuinely felt that something has come to an end. Earlier on I used to enjoy exhibiting and discussing the impact my work had on guests. This time was different and in 2015 I do hope to go back to my notes and continue discovering this new approach to visual arts.
On the other hand, I have also learned to say no to projects and probably by rather unpleasant confrontations with people of very traditional and elitist take on visual arts and arts promotion in local communities I have understood my own limits as an artist too. I was invited to participate in a local initiative to promote arts in the area with the support of local funds but as the project kicked off it became really quickly quite apparent that it lacks strong leadership, management, clear goals and open, inclusive, respectful culture and transparency. I have suffered personal attacks but came out of the experience with new, very trusted friends – which means it was worth it. I have learned yet again that being honest, open and clear about situations is the best way towards sustainable, trusted relationships – and makes it easier to identify less honest ones. I have learned a lot about civic engagement and the fact that some challenges can be fixed within the group in power, others need to be addressed by external, new types of less elitist but more distributed powers. I have learned that there is something I can do about it myself and so this entire experience has helped me clarify and polish the idea of social enterprise I have been thinking off for quite a while now. Plus it helped me gain supporters to it so much that I will have to deal with it as a matter of urgency in 2015.
Speaking of which – I have finally, after 12 months of ‘thinking about it’ received the final push from my friends and started a local club for children promoting the use of tech for studies and team building, maybe also much more than that. The combination of trust from my network with almost obvious impatience of children who really need us, parents to listen, join them, participate and really just have fun together – both factors gave me the energy to start a pilot course. In 2015 I will build on it and make it even more effective and sustainable because now I really don’t have another choice. There were two children who confirmed that. A girl who drew a note on a school board during our small school disco saying: ‘Sylwia is kind because she started Minecraft Club’. I was really captivated by the use of word ‘kind’ there. And another boy, one who is labelled as difficult, restless, often ungrateful, who during our usual weekly walk with my son simply said: ‘Thank you, thank you very much for the club – it really makes a huge difference and makes me happy’. Those little glimpses of truth – that we are here to ensure that kids can make the most of the current technology and with it and WITH US thrive. That made me really humble and very, very happy. So no wonder I want to go back to the ‘grown up’ world and make the idea stick more in 2015.
I have continued my work on our local Christmas event and second year in it I have finally started receiving amazing results on Facebook and more importantly – offline. We had a great engagement, great event and a really nice time working on it.
I have also been asked to join a group of trustees of our local small park which is located just on the other side of our current garden – a place I visit at least once each day. It is my personal retreat and for my puppy her local news reading spot. So you can imagine just how privileged I feel being a part of the group of people (really amazing people) who make it so tranquil and yet so full of life.
I have learned a lot at home too, not just in my work/projects related activities. I have hacked everything I could at home to save time and energy for family and for work. You cannot believe how much a simple book on minimalism can do in practice. I can now clean our house in an hour (I am officially the one responsible for it, since my husband has a full time – me, on the other hand, more flexible – job), I have cleared and organised all areas of the house, worked out fast way of managing items at home, clothes (shopping, cleaning, putting back int he right place, monitoring amounts etc), I have improved fast access to food and stock of everything else. I have made space for breathing, change the design of the house to spend less time in front of TV, more with each other and with books and our pets; I have learned to care for plants (huge improvement). I have also improved tasks allocation in the family so everyone participates more in planning and delivery. I have organised a new allotment and so for 2015, this is our huge new family project.
In personal development, one thing stands out – reiki. I have pushed my boundaries of science and simple gut feeling to study more alternative areas of life – meditation, reiki and mindfulness (new term for my always present morning thoughts over my mandatory cup of coffee). I wish I had more time for it, but for now, I managed to cover all the basics and start applying them to my environment. In 2015 I would like to take the level 2 of reiki learning and apply it to pets more. I would like to understand dogs more – it is fascinating how much those creatures developed living with us and just how much today’s science allows us to understand about them. I am very tempted to allow myself a dog psychology course in 2015.
I have finalised my next huge step in personal development – I need to go back to university. In my industry, I would have to work in London, live a lifestyle of long working hours and few moments for family and other crucial elements of my present life. I cannot do that. What I can do is take my business learnings, combine them with questions really bother me and go back to find a methodology to research answers to those. I have been very fortunate to meet a friend who introduced me to the right department and so 2015 will be the year of my application, if not the beginning of university.
One horrible negligence of 2014 was simply the lack of writing. I have not produced much. One bit step was to produce my first newsletter and I am glad I did it – it helped me to stay in touch with so many people in this really direct way. I can only hope that in 2015 I will at least complete my two small books. I have to if I really want to make the most of my time.
I know, it must look as if I am mad. Some ask me how I have time for all this. But really – it is not much! Work, home and family can function effectively if we find the right balance. Personal development depends on us. Our projects on our faith in our own vision, on clear leadership but also on many trusted and reliable people who give us a hand – many of them!
2014 was supposed to be a year of testing how I can mange my time in preparation for university and I have indeed learned a lot about time and energy management. I take those experiences with me into 2015 and hope to hack that too a bit. I hope that I can own my vision in each commitment, focus but also store and re-charge my energy levels, trust the right people and allocate my time accordingly but most of all in December 2015 I want to feel that this list is at least as long as today, if not longer.
I want to see that this list benefits and inspires my family, my friends and my community.
Thank you for reading, for all your support and for just being here for me.
I wish you all a Happy New Year 2015!