Getting A Little Creative

March has just begun, and man, it’s starting to feel a bit busy!

Last month – when I’d originally planned to release this post – the year was still fairly new, and not much was going on.

I was going to reflect on how I hadn’t been feeling particularly creative over the last year, how – despite recent changes at my place of employment – my job, and the duties it entails, have sort of remained the same.

But as I was about to type my intentions into existence … things already have started to shift. Kind of.

Before I get to that, let me back-track a bit.

Last year was supposed to be when I finally started making changes at work – even if they were temporary ones. I contacted a more senior colleague to pick her brain, and perhaps throw my name out there.

Long story short, we couldn’t align our schedules, so I didn’t get to meet with her until mid-July. (The story’s a bit complicated, but it was out of my hands, and I won’t bore you with details.) That meeting led me to dropping by other people’s offices to chat. So at least people know I’m still here.

I’m still struggling to build that bridge, so I’m in the same spot as before. I’m trying to find a way to work on my skill set in my current position, but it feels awkward and uncomfortable.

Maybe I’m suffering from a fear of change, of failure, and of imposter syndrome, so I’m sabotaging myself. Perhaps there’s a part of myself that believes – wrongly – that I’ve worked hard enough and am now entitled to things that I probably haven’t earned.

Colour me conflicted.

Outside of work, I wasn’t achieving creative fulfillment, either. I mean, I had been working on the ongoing podcast I do with my friends Renée and Kath. But it was the only outlet, and I wasn’t parlaying that into other endeavours.

I think a lot of it was probably the result of feeling drained after long days at work, which meant a lack of motivation. If I spent time away from social media, it wasn’t to work on my writing – I spent more time watching Netflix, YouTube and *cough* other sources of TV streaming.

Look, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with watching Netflix and YouTube as a release. But I didn’t balance it with anything else. And the time I could have spent cultivating another creative outlet, I chose to spend it watching the fruits of other people’s labours.

So this post was going to serve as a type of self-pep-talk …

Which brings me to the present.

I suppose I’ve somehow been putting this sentiment out into the universe … because while things work-wise are still the same, things outside of work are actually starting to pick up.

For starters, the podcast started its third season in January. If  you’ve been visiting regularly, you’ve come across my recent post(s) promoting the most recent episode(s).  I’m trying to do a better job of showcasing it this time around.

(If you’re on my main blog page – not the page for this entry – scroll down for the most recent episode.)

Also, one of my other friends – a very talented writer/screenwriter – approached me in February about joining a project she’s connected with. I’m at the beginning stages of this journey, which means I’m simultaneously excited, and terrified.

(That’s all I’ll say about it for now, but I’ll reveal more further down the road.)

So I’m taking teeny, tiny baby steps toward being more prolific. It won’t happen overnight – far from it. But this is a very good start.


2012: Start!

So 2012 is finally here, in all of its cold, wet glory.

Actually, it’s almost apt that it’s been raining – as if to partially cleanse some of the filth off of the city before the snow, ice and sleet arrives.

It’s also the perfect weather to start thinking a lot about what I’d like out of this year.

I looked back at last year’s list. Overall, I somehow managed to achieve about half of what I wanted to see happen last year. But – it seemed – things only started to cook in the last few months. And even then, it was a simmer.

Not that that’s a bad thing. But I feel as if I want to take that momentum of accomplishing small personal goals, and kick it up a couple of notches.

And at the moment, as I’m coming down off of last night’s heart-and-soul-busting euphoria, I’m feeling a sense of anxiety about how to make thinngs happen.

All I can think is: Will this be the year I start getting it right? And how the HELL am I going to pull some of this off?

As I try and make the most of my days off of work, here is my wishlist of what I would like to see for 2012:

Start taking better care of myself. Yes, this was on my list last year (phrased a different way), but I would like to seriously try for this one. In the last couple of years, I’ve had a four-day, 40-plus hour schedule, which had me working on weekends. It’s a weird life to get used to. And up until late September, it threw me out of whack. In that time, I’ve packed on about 20 pounds – 10, for sure from the past year alone. It’s all well and good to say that it doesn’t matter what one weighs, and that skinniness shouldn’t a goal to strive for. But I’ve noticed myself feeling a bit out of breath going up stairs or escalators, my clothes becoming increasingly tighter (sometimes to the point that I’ve split my pants), and even how the weight feels on my back and knees. And I’d like to finally dig deep and find the motivation to go and exercise, even if it’s after a frustrating day at work. Who knows? Maybe that can be my motivation.

As well, I realize I’ve let my personal appearance go a bit, because I’ve had such an alternative schedule, so I figure, who cares? But I need to roll up my sleeves on this one. I’ve started trying to do small things. Perhaps I can improve on this ten-fold.

Start feeding my mind. Somewhere between early summer and now, I think I somehow gave up on reading. I mean, I still read the weekly magazine I subscribe to (and I’m still about two to three weeks behind), but I haven’t really read anything else. No newspapers. And definitely no more books. I have to make a renewed effort not to be a walking zombie when it comes to these things. I’m surrounded by so many smart people in my life daily, and yet I’ve let things slide. Bored? Perhaps. (Maybe I was just bored this whole year in general.) Hopefully I can find it within me to be more diligent.

Start making things happen at work. Yes, I say this every year. But maybe this year, it’ll be different. Last summer, I finally got the chance to verbalize to my boss that I wanted to do something different (without crying from frustration). In about a week’s time, I’m returning to a Monday-to-Friday schedule for the first time in 26 months, and I’d like to think that my conversation 6 months ago was the catalyst. My hope is that – once I master the gauntlet of assignments that are heading my way – I can find the niche I want to occupy, and perhaps transition to another area of my workplace in the next 6-8 months. That last part of my goal is probably the loftiest, considering how long it took me to get off weekends. But a working girl can dream, right?

Start travelling again. Last year, I left Toronto (and the GTA) once – to visit a friend in Ottawa. Which is well and good … but I have other friends in Ottawa, and in OTHER places, that I didn’t get to visit. I also had two chunks of time during the summer and early fall to go travelling. And then life happened. In July, my mother had surgery. That was a no-brainer. In September, I spent time I’d hoped to use travelling, moving myself up and out of my parents’ house. So this year, I REALLY want to make up for this. And I’d like those locations to be warm ones. I have three destinations in mind, so I hope the universe will rule in my favour and let me go there, as well as throw in a couple of small side trips.

Start making my apartment feel like home. I’ve had a few people over, but I’ve felt a bit sheepish about it, because there’s really nothing special or “homey” about it. I mean, I understand it’ll take time, and some people take months, even years, to completely unpack and organize their lives. But I’d like to make an effort in the next few months to make things a bit homier. A picture here, a rug there, maybe a couple of nice lamps, would definitely help. And I’ll probably be relying on my friends, since my decor saavy is virtually non-existent at the moment.

Start figuring ME out. By age 35, a fair number of people usually know who they are. I think I know who I am in general. My outline doesn’t need work. It’s … my inner self, I guess, that needs the makeover. I feel that now that I’ve moved out, it’s not just a new chapter of my life. It’s me starting from scratch, in a way. What do I want? What am I passionate about? What am I willing to put up with? What will I absolutely not tolerate? What parts of me need work? I don’t expect to have it figured out in a year. But if I can start creating the conditions under which I can blossom, it would be a start.

Start finding ways of being creative. That could probably start by writing – and blogging – more. I said tthis last year, and didn’t deliver. Maybe I can try a bit harder this year. And perhaps there are other ways to tap into my creative side. Perhaps it’s taking an African dance class. Or working on learning to cook. Or getting involved in friends’ projects in some way. I can only hope I get to experiment.

Start having more fun. I consider myself to be quite social as it is. But maybe once in a while I can do things I wouldn’t normally do. Don’t ask me exactly what that might be. I can only hope I can seize the opportunities if/when they present themselves.

Start being a bit more uncomfortable. I kept things pretty safe this year. The last thing I wanted to do was put myself out there, in uncomfortable positions. I think this is something I need to start doing, because I’m aware I tend to act immaturely in some cases, depending on the situation. Perhaps it’ll help me grow up a bit.

Finally, one secret wish I have for this year:

I’d like to see more “OMG Moments”. By this, I mean the anecdotes you can’t make up, that just make you smile or give you happy goosebumps. The stories I’ll tell my kids (if I decide to have any) and grandkids. I mean, it could be ANYTHING. Who knows what I’ll get to see? Will I get to witness seeing something like this? Will I get something as small as, say, an upgrade to first-class on a flight? Or will I be in the right place at the right time, and bump into someone I admire? (Which would be cool. But I’d probably soil myself, and/or say something utterly ridiculous.) The thing is, my life is pretty good without having crazy stuff happen to me. But everyone likes a red cherry on top of their sundae once in a while.

The year is young. And anything can happen. I can only hope that those things are BIG.

Happy New Year, folks! Here’s hoping there are big things in store for you, too!