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Blog // Thoughts
December 16, 2011

12 For 2012

Around this time last year I wrote two lists; of things I wanted more and less of in my life. Last year’s lists were an exercise in setting goals, articulating hopes and ending frustrations. Yesterday I went through those lists and made some comments. Although it has felt like a frustrating year, it’s good to […]

Walking in Singapore

Around this time last year I wrote two lists; of things I wanted more and less of in my life. Last year’s lists were an exercise in setting goals, articulating hopes and ending frustrations. Yesterday I went through those lists and made some comments. Although it has felt like a frustrating year, it’s good to look back and see what I managed to make of the changes I set for myself in 2011.

For many of us resolutions are a regular pattern – we make promises to ourselves to change each new year; to embrace new things, to try and reach our goals.

This year I’m approaching things a little differently. Instead of looking forward and embracing change, I’m looking backwards and embracing constancy. I’ve already written about the one big, overarching goal for 2012, what a friend in an email called “the quest to regain your amateur status.”

So, for 2012 my list looks like this,

Family
Guitar
Spirituality
Remote Control Cars
Writing
Friends
Reading
Walking and Cycling
Photography
Cooking
Travel
Film

You might be looking at that list thinking, wow, how totally unremarkable! In a way it is. There is nothing on there that would surprise regular readers of this blog (except maybe for the bit about remote control cars). In fact it’s a remarkably un-unique list; a lot of people could come up with a very similar set of commitments.

But, like any list, sometimes it’s what doesn’t get mentioned that matters.

I haven’t put career in there, for example. There are no big plans, or projects; in fact, there are no goals at all.

In place of plans and projects, there are paths and passions. This is a list about the small things that make up every day and rhythms that give meaning to each week.

But, more than that, this list is an admission that I have too often given in to trying to design my life, tying to be an architect of my future. Not that plans and goals are bad things, but they can sometimes blind us to the unexpected surprises and joys of life, make us inflexible at the moments in our journey when we need to be supple and responsive.

Sometimes we don’t need more visions, dreams and ambitions – we just need to get on with the work. What inspires me right now is the idea of week upon week of mundane work. Get up, cook a good breakfast, work all day in the studio, cook a good dinner, then relax with a book, or film or the company of family and friends, or, just do some more work.

It might sound modest, but it also sounds right. I love what I do and it’s taken a long time to get to a place where I can honestly say that.

“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” – Epicurus

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