It’s a wonderful life: my A-Z for 2018

ARTISTS: I’ve been trying on the term ‘artist’ for size ever since I went to visit the organisers of the Library for Women Artists of the North East. Because being an artist is not about drawing or painting. It’s about owning your creativity. That’s what I signed up for the daily January Challenge organised by 64 million artists in which you’re prompted to do something creative every single day. This year, I will become an artist – or recognise the artist I have been all along.

BOOKS: I need to read more. I need to watch less TV and read more, for no other reason than I love it. I’ve always lost myself in books. I want to read all the books in my house that I’ve never got round to reading. And then I want to take them all to Barter Books in Alnwick and exchange them for some more…

CONNECTION: my natural tendency is to spend much of my time alone. I’m an introvert by nature, although I do love people – just in small doses! Now that I work in a studio in my back garden, I have to push myself to get out and socialise.

DANCE – AND DOGS! Can’t imagine living without either.

ETHICAL CONSUMERISM: this is a journey through a minefield! I really feel it’s time for me to step up and take this whole area a whole lot more seriously. I believe my consumer choices make a difference and this year, I’ll be working out what to buy and where to buy it. It may actually take me more than a year, but I’m starting right now!

FUN, FAMILY, FRIENDS, FITNESS, FAITH, FOOD, FILMS, FASHION…ALL THE Fs! 

GAMES: I love a good board game and really wish games weren’t just for Christmas and my weekend away with friends once a year. Why should they be? Last year, we made film night on Saturdays an institution. How about we introduce a games night once a month instead?

HOLIDAYS AND HOME: already planning this year’s holidays – and even next year’s! – all UK based. We need to get around the country more to visit all those people we don’t see anywhere near enough of. We might even be coming your way! One great thing about being away, however, is coming home. I love my home, I really do. We’ve done so much to it in 2017 that this year, it will be all about consolidation…

INSTAGRAM ETC: so at the beginning of this year, I launched my own pet Instagram account – Dempsey365. As if I didn’t already spend enough time on social media! I also relaunched my Join Our Journey Facebook group. In head, I’m telling myself none of this will take more time, but it’s just going to have to be more focused time!

JOIN OUR JOURNEY: this is the blog where I document my faith journey. I’m working my way through the whole Bible and this year, also opening up the discussion about what faith actually looks like in practice. It’s so exciting!

KINDNESS: kindness is so under-rated. I’m not particularly good at it but I know how important it is. This is an area of my life I need to work on. I’m not a big fan of random acts of kindness, because that all seems a bit, well you know, random, but acts of kindness, yes, they’re worth going for, of that I’m sure.

LAUGHTER: I need to laugh every single day. Fortunately, my partner and kids and dogs make me laugh on a regular basis. I’m a bit of kid, so I laugh at the most inappropriate of things sometimes. I’ve learnt not to take myself too seriously.

MEDITATION: I’m only just beginning to come to an understanding of what this might mean for me in practice. It takes a discipline that I’m currently lacking but I would love for daily meditation to be an established part of my life by the end of 2018.

NARC: Each month, I write previews and reviews for NARC, a local free arts magazine. I get to learn about what’s coming to the North East and get to go to some shows that I probably would never have gone to otherwise. I’m a natural critic (constructive, not nasty, you understand!) as my friends who dance or sing in performances I’ve attended fully know. NARC is expanding its stage section this year so watch this space!

ORCHESTRA: So this is the closest I’ve come to a New Year’s Resolution. This year, I will play my violin in an orchestra again at least once.

PRETTY VINTAGE LIFE: I began to wonder if this blog still has a place in my life but the answer is yes, I’m not ready to let it go. It’s there for a part of me that doesn’t find expression anywhere else. It’s coming up for two years now since I first had the idea for Pretty Vintage Life and I’m so proud of what we have achieved here.

QUESTIONS: I will never stop asking questions because I never want to stop learning. The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. People are fascinating and everyone I meet has a fascinating story.

ROUTINE: to pack everything in that I want to achieve this year, routine is key. I have a fixed morning routine that works for me and that I move through every day without question. I’m now going to be working regularly four mornings a week until 1:30. It’s that after school time that still leaves me floundering…

SELF CARE: having had some difficult seasons in the last few years, I’ve come to see self care as self preservation rather than selfishness. I know myself now and know how to care for myself – it’s the same basic needs that we all have: sleep, good food, water, fresh air, exercise and quality rest. That last one is a sticking point for me, because I’m pretty sure five episodes of Stranger Things 2 back to back does not count as quality rest…I am a work in progress! 

TRAVEL: last February, I went to New York on my own. I still can’t believe I did that! My travel this year is not going to be as impressive, but it will be more frequent. My job is going to take me all over the country and we have lots of family adventures planned to. I’ll be embracing train travel in a big way.

UNKNOWN: there’s always plenty of unknown that we have no control over as we look forward into a new year. And I’m a fan of the unknown. Trying new things gets the adrenaline going. Walking into new situations increases self-confidence. Life is an adventure!

VEGETARIAN MEALS: Having become a vegetarian back in September, I’m now considering what it would look like for me to become largely vegan. When asked what it’s like to be a vegetarian, I always say ‘Not great’ which surprises some people. I’m not doing it because I prefer it. I still miss meat. But I’m proving I can do it and I believe the ‘why’ of the whole equation, so giving up dairy and eggs is the next logical step – but it may take me some time!

WRITING: When writing for Yogamatters became my day job, creative writing (novels, short stories etc) naturally took a back seat. I want to write a really good short story this year.

X RAYS – HOPEFULLY NOT! I could do without that kind of excitement, but let’s go with excitement for X. I have a feeling there’s going to be plenty of excitement this year, not least of all because I’ll be a grandma again in May!

YOGA: I’m still on a journey when it comes to yoga. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I’m hoping that this will be the year when I settle on a style of yoga and start attending a regular class.

ZEAL: that’s just a fancy word for enthusiasm. I came out of 2017 recognising that enthusiasm is one of the things that defines who I am. I just can’t help it. When I hear about an exciting new project or have the idea for one myself, I want to jump in with both feet! But I’m going to stop apologising for it and embrace it – there are worse things in life to have in bucketloads!

 

 

 

 

Helen R loves words, running, dance, her dogs and yoga. For her, age really is just a number. She believes in living life to the full and adopting an attitude of gratitude.

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