And so another year is tallied in the books and we come to the close of 2011. l have always liked New Year’s Eve. Not because it was a reason to ‘party’ but it was a good time to reflect on the previous twelve months and plan ahead for the year to come. Those of you who read often know how much I enjoy Mondays. And to me bringing in the new year is like bringing in a big, giant Monday – filled with hopes, goals and dreams. It is a fresh start. A new beginning. A chance to take a breath and work toward somehow bettering our lives and making new commitments to ourselves.
To some, I realize, it is just like any other day. Just another page turned on the calendar. But to those like me who live from goal to goal, it is a chance to start fresh and set some new boundaries and plan ahead to achieve new accomplishments. And also to reflect back on the past year to evaluate what we were able to accomplish and also what we feel perhaps needs more work. It is quite a significant day.
Traditionally on this day, I find myself thinking back through the past twelve months. I think of not only the good things that happened, but also of the not so good things. I think of the goals that I have achieved and also of the goals that are still ahead of me and I evaluate the overall year.
I had many wonderful things to remember in the year 2011. The first part of the year was focused on my trip to the States to lecture and teach and reconnect with my family. The middle of the year was focused on my business and designing and also working on the online class here at Lumberjocks. I must admit that I have slowed down a bit in the last few months of the year, as I was beginning to feel anxious and overwhelmed and was going through some things personally that were taking my attention. I don’t look at that as a negative though, as I feel it was necessary for me to be kind to myself in order to remain healthy and productive. I think it is important to set goals, but equally important to adjust them to your current situation as necessary to enhance your overall well-being. You may not fully accomplish what you have set out to do, but in the long run, you will have achieved much more than you initially expected and done so in a way that is healthy and have far more lasting effects on your life.
It’s all about being flexible and being able to bend your goals in order to fit in with the changes that living every day brings. I don’t feel that it is about succeeding or failing. For every step you take towards achieving what you set out to accomplish is a step in the right direction, no matter how small. And for even that small step, we are overall in a better place. Aren’t we?
I am the first to admit that I really don’t like numbers. Numbers are cold and unfeeling and – well factual. As an artist, I far prefer to look at things from a point of view of feelings and emotions. But as a business person, I realize that it is impossible to view my business from an emotional point of view and make good business decisions. Coming to this realization has taken me many years and has caused me great hardship in the past. My love for what I do many times has overshadowed the practicality of doing it, and as a result my business and my life in general was in despair. I know that many of you also go through this dilemma, as I have read stories of it here and have heard from you personally.
But sometimes, it takes reaching a point where you need to decide just how much you want something and how much you are willing to give to make it work for you. For me, it was a decision that I had to face the numbers that I dreaded and I had to make them work for me or do something else with my life. That was not an easy transition, and I admittedly still struggle with it at times. But I have found that the way to overcome this is to seek advice from others who are successful and try to approach the situation differently. After all, if I didn’t change something, how could I expect things to change?
In part that is where this forum has become invaluable to me over the past year and a half. Not only have I heard much welcome advice, but I have also forged many deep and lasting friendships with so many of you who are going through similar things. By opening myself up to you all every morning, I have reaped great rewards by your kindness and willingness to share part of yourself with me. There are too many of you to thank you all personally, but I am sure you know who you are.
I have also been fortunate enough to have found a partner who shares with me in every sense of the word. Keith has a talent and style all his own and although we are quite different from each other in many ways, we tend to compliment each other completely and he brings a whole new dimension to my business and my life. I owe so very much to him and appreciate his kindness, intelligence, creativity and support every single day. (He would kill me if he read this! Good thing he doesn’t read my blog often!)
I am thoroughly excited about the upcoming year. I have so many new exciting ideas that I can’t wait to implement and introduce. Not only in the scroll sawing aspect, but also in the painting and finishing aspect of work. I still believe in my heart in teaching others to stretch their creativity to the limits of their imagination and hopefully my designs will be the springboard and catalyst for them to do so.
I feel that this past month of ‘slowing down’ has done me well. It allowed me to enjoy the Christmas season and focus on my family and friends and took me a couple of steps away from ‘work’. I truly needed that, as much as I love what I do. I admittedly coasted through the month of December and enjoyed all the things that I had worked for all year. After all, what would be the point of accomplishing things if we don’t take time to enjoy them?
So I will start this new year feeling rested and happy and grateful for all that I have. The anticipation that I feel for the new year is in itself intoxicating and I feel filled with hope that it will be a good one.
So to my friends and my customers (who are also my friends) I wish you all the health and happiness that a new year can bring. I encourage you to set your goals high and strive to be the best you can. We are our own destiny. We are the writers in our own stories. Remember that and write the best story your imagination allows.
Happy New Year to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"