Monday, 2 January 2017

Vlogmas Epiphany - 2017 Word of the Year & Goals

Last year (2016) was the first year I did Vlogmas and during the process of filming myself every day, I learnt *a lot*... so much so I had an Epiphany, which I made a video about.

In the video I talk about my word of the year for 2016 and my word last year was "Me".   I wanted to try and focus more on myself; on my health, my enjoyment, my fulfilment, rather than others... which is what I always have done previously.
I specifically chose the word ME, rather than "self-love" or "self-care" as I was formally diagnosed with ME earlier in 2015 and I wanted to claim the word ME back for myself... rather than it just being this label I had been given for the illness I had been struggling with for the last few years.
After re-watching the video this morning, I initially thought, "wow I never really moved onto to looking after me much this year did I?".  Did I let go of anything?  No, not really.  Work is still the same, home life is still the same, parental care is still the same, charity commitments are still the same, and I'm still lacking in hobby time... so, seemingly, everything is still the same.
But then I remembered, in summer, on good weather days, I started to carve out time to sit in the sun on the new decking, I sat in the conservatory every now and then reading a book... not often, not daily... but I did occasionally.  I also watched all the Tennis tournaments.  I love tennis but don't make the time to watch it, this year I did, following Andy Murray entirely through the season.
I also spent the whole year of going to Kings College Hospital for ME Treatment every two weeks and part of that treatment involved having psychotherapy, which has been extremely eye opening for me.  Since becoming ill with ME, I suffer from extreme anxiety which has been very limiting and getting to understand that better has been definitely an revelation for me.
So... as much as I didn't give up work, get a cleaner and just make art every day... I definitely did started focusing more on myself.  So there was actually quite a bit of forward momentum on that front!
But I still have too much stuff on my plate, it seems I just can't be "not busy"! 
So I've been thinking about my job,  do I still want it?  What does it give me?  Yes, obviously I earn money from it, but some months I've earnt more selling stuff on eBay than I have at work. And as I've said previously, we, as a household, don't need the money... however I do like to pay my way and have an independent income.
But there is so much I still want to do and having a job keeps me anchored or committed to something that I'm not necessarily passionate about.  So I went into work on the Wednesday before Christmas and had a chat with my manager about it; they are such a lovely company to work for and I think that's the reason I stay.  He said "but you're like family"... and I agree, we are like a whatever I decide, that factor alone makes the decision hard.
So what do I enjoy?  Well...I enjoy making YouTube videos... because I love the interaction with subscribers, the sharing of knowledge with others on the same journey as myself.  However, I definitely don't to be a big youtuber because some YouTube viewers are just a bit too judgemental.  There are too many keyboard warriors, spreading hate for no reason.  I don't want to worry about being judged by strangers on the internet who have dogs as their profile pictures and have never uploaded a video in their life!
I mean look at me, I is what I is! I don't wear makeup, I have crooked teeth, mad hair, a saggy jaw... I'm not  here to compete with make-up gurus or 30 something housewife's with perfect hair, perfect teeth and perfect homes!  I don't need to be told I have too much stuff (not as much as others buster!) or that I "should get my teeth fixed".  I mean, blimey, I'm 50 this year... if I haven't paid to have perfectly straight fake teeth by now... I doubt I'm going to bother.  Life is too short for me to worry about looking perfect all the time and I don't want to deal with people telling me that I should be worried about those things.
I'm just living my life and sharing it as I go, this is as real as it gets.  I'm not a master of anything, I don't profess to know how to do anything... I'm just sharing my journey.  The reason I started making my decluttering videos because I wanted to be held accountable... and it seems to work.  Knowing I have to make a video about the next phase of decluttering, keeps me motivated to move onto the next phase of decluttering!
Anyway... I've rambled too much, this post is supposed to be about my goals for 2017 and my word of the year.  I've been choosing a word of the year since 2011, when my word was "Balance" as back then I was struggling with balancing work and homelife.  My word for 2015 was Simplify as I started to strip back on consumerism and also on focus more on less processed, whole foods.
And so what it my word for this year?  In November I really thought my word of the year was going to be "Focus" because I wanted to carry over the self-care part of last years word ...but Focus on it more.  I also wanted to focus on other pursuits, be more mindful, more aware... and focus seemed to encompass everything.  But for some reason the word never stuck, it never felt right.
And then in early December, as I was having my last therapy session of the year, my word hit me like a ton of bricks... I'd been saying it for the last few weeks about various things and I realised it was the word I wanted to take me through 2017.
For the last few years I have been drifting through life; working too hard, consuming to much, eating, sleeping, being distracted by life, going to bed and getting up the next day, rinse and repeat.  Following trends, buying stuff because that's what we are told to do, having a craft room full of stuff because that's what crafters do, buying books I see advertised and leaving the unread, following along like a consumeristic sheep.
I remember when the urge to break the cycle came, it was early in the year, when I was making a "look how many planners I have" video.  I was sickened by my own consumerism.  I had bought into the "it's okay to have 20 planners because you swap them out like handbags" theory... but its not really ok is it? It's unnecessary.  I didn't have that many handbags!
Having 20 planners does not add value to my life.  And remember I'm talking about me here, not you, not your collection of planners... your collection may add value to you life but for me, it was the straw that broke the camel's back, the realisation that I had been buying stuff I didn't really need... probably for the last 8+ years or so... really since I had become ill and my ability to travel had been limited.  I had been keeping myself distracted with stuff... probably to fill a void.
And so I woke up.  And I realised that my house was full of crap from clearing out my in-law's house in 2009, 2010 and again in 2015 and I also had a craft room packed to the gunnels of stuff that I had been collecting for the last 10+ years, because that's what all my crafter friends did too.
And once I was awake... I was awake!  I could see the wood for the trees, I could see what had value and what did not, I could see what I wanted in my life and what I did not.  And I was falling over myself to clear the clutter.
I started with the 30 bags in 30 days and it wasn't enough, more and more stuff needed to go.  My eyes were open I could see the stuff that had been pushed in every corner, piled on shelves and hidden inside cupboards for the last 15 years and I wanted it all gone!  Why on earth had we kept some of these things? 
With 15 years worth of stuff in the house I had to rein myself in, I focused on the craft room because I knew that once that room was done, I'd be able to spend time in there and actually enjoy the things I chose to keep.  And that's where I am today... sitting in my gorgeous craft room and looking forward to using it in 2017 and making this new Epiphany video for 2017.

I am awake and it's an amazing feeling!
So what can you expect from me in 2017? 

More decluttering videos for sure.  I have a garage and a attic full of crap and they need to be cleared out before the end of March.  I am scared of sharing the attic with you as it is an embarrassing hidey-hole of crap... but if I want to continue to use youtube as my accountability partner, then I must swallow the embarrasment and take the camera up there.  No judging!

I will hopefully also get to make more art and share more art videos... but then I said that last year too, so lets see what happens!

One thing you won't see from me is haul videos. I won't be hauling anything, I've deciding to do a no spend for January, February and March and I will continue to sell things both on Facebook and eBay.  On that note, and after requests, I may start a Facebook group where my craft and planner items will be listed for sale.

And that's about it.  My goals for 2017 are to continue to be awake and enjoy the meaningful things in life!  Happy New Year to you all!


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