This time it was me taking my own best advice.
So this whole 2014 Challenge… it takes a bit of work and negotiation to keep things on track. As I write this, we are only two weeks into the challenge and the unexpected has already reared its ugly head.
When I wrote The Year of 100 Books, I sketched out several tips for planning out a successful challenge. One of those tips was… “don’t sweat the small stuff”.
My first challenge for the year was the reading challenge. This year it’s 50 books. I got the first book read and reviewed the first few days of the year. Blammo!
I was feeling pretty accomplished.
The next challenge to start was the pistol competition challenge. It started out easy enough.
I did research, asked lots of questions, and spent some time preparing by doing holster pulls and magazine changes. (More on that later.)
When the competition day arrived, Saturday, January 10th, my gear was packed, my car was packed, and I woke up on time with… a sinus infection.
It felt like my head was lying under a semi-truck. Knowing that we’d be out in the desert where it was likely to be dusty and with gunpowder filling the air… I made a painful but necessary decision to skip the event.
It’s no fun doing things when you don’t feel 100% and when loaded weapons are involved, it seemed practical to miss this first challenge.
You bet. But there will be another competition in a month. I can use the extra time to get additional practice in and learn more.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
The point is that not everything is within our control. I happen to be allergic to the entire world it seems and somehow my allergies got out of control. I also realize that by giving myself time to recover, I spend a lot less time being sick and more time on my challenges.
It is what it is… I’m dealing with it by moving the pistol competition challenge to February and moving up the paper quilling challenge. That means two art challenges for this month.
Meanwhile, the third challenge item, learn how to paint with acrylics, starts on Tuesday the 12th. I’ve procured the items needed. I have painted with watercolor paints but with acrylics I need to have a different set of brushes, paints, and canvas to paint on along with mediums.
The instructor for the 8 week course provided a list of items we would need for the class and I called upon my favorite artist, Christine Martell, to guide me through the stuff I didn’t understand.
Finally, I ran to the library and grabbed a few “basics” books so that I could understand the basics. I want to enjoy the course as much as possible and always feel better when I go into a class with some basic understanding.
Finally, you might have noticed the odd looking picture for this post. It’s my Challenge 2014 Map.
The map is part of a wonderful challenge hosted by Jill K. Berry called Mapping 2014 Artfully. The project was to create a map of your 2014 future.
I decided to use the project to think about and artfully map my Challenge 2014.
The map is for me. It’s mine to hang and remind me to keep moving forward. All the challenges are listed. I used the outline of a brain, top-view, and filled it with artistic neurons to remind me to be more creative. One of my goals for the year is to include more creative activities.
Just the act of creating the map, after not using watercolor paints in years, was a scary undertaking. And, truth be told, the first map was a bit of a bust. Part of being more creative for me is letting go of the end result. I have this tendency to see what I want to create in my mind and that can be very hard to achieve.
Not only that, once you get the idea out… it doesn’t always look or feel like what you intended when you started. My arty mentor, Christine, has been trying hard to push me to embrace the process of creating instead of focusing so much energy on the destination. This is very hard for my lefty-brain to overcome.
For the second map I tried hard to be a bit more bold, but it was a lot of work. And I tried hard to let go but struggled when I experimented and things didn’t go as expected. I was still holding on to the destination. Poor Christine… she had to deal with my struggles.
The map you see is the end result. It is not exactly what I had in mind when I started even though I wasn’t supposed to have anything in mind…
I kept moving forward, I kept working on solutions to mistakes and problems. I wouldn’t give up on the map.
The map now represents so much more than my future challenges. It represents the constant struggle to learn and grow, and it represents my ability to work through problems, to keep moving forward, and to not give in.
As the challenge moves forward, I’ll be sharing lots of information about how to learn better, how to be more productive, how to build a better life and business, but also about the stuff that sits up inside our skulls that allows us to actually do all the things we want to. Because sometimes you don’t actually need to know more or learn more… sometimes you just have to let go and be more of you.
If you want to see a whole bunch of cool arty maps, you can visit Jill’s page and see the maps that others have created for their year. I hope you’ll be inspired to do something creative for yourself.
Let’s do this people!