Monday, January 01, 2024

the isolation journals five lists

on this rainy, grey first day of january, i was catching up on my substack feed, waiting for it to clear up a bit so that i can go for a walk. i read suleika jouoad's isolation journals sunday prompt on the five lists and it seemed like a good activity to indulge in while i wait for a break in the rain. it's always nice to do a bit of reflecting on the first day of a fresh, new year. 

1. what in the last year are you proud of?

the first thing that springs to mind is the podcast i'm creating at work. it's something that i always wanted to do and while it's not perfect, i have learned so much along the way and i got to have a lot of great conversations with a lot of interesting people. i have really grown professionally making this work. and it wasn't the only great project i was part of at work. we also worked with a top agency to make some really great short videos that tell some emotional stories that all take place in a kitchen - it was a completely different and new kind of content for us as a company and i'm really proud to have been part of pushing us in that direction. 

i'm really proud of my brave, beautiful child and how hard she works at school and how she's managed to surround herself with good friends and how she bravely makes her way through the world, 9 time zones away from us. she's a wonderful young woman and i'm so proud of her. 

and lastly, i'm proud of my weight loss. yes, i have used the help that wegovy gives me, and i have zero shame for that. i am healthier, my cholesterol numbers are down and i just feel about a thousand times better. plus, i also look so much better and i realize that matters more to me than i imagined it would. i have definitely been hiding underneath over-sized, drab clothing choices for some years now and it feels so good to not need to do that anymore. i can actually find items on the sale rack in size medium and even small and they fit me! and damn, it makes me happy and proud.

2. what did this year leave you yearning for?

i have struggled this year to restart a social life after the corona years. it seems overwhelming to invite people over like we used to. we would have spontaneous game nights and do dinner together with friends, and now we almost never do that. it doesn't help that the main friends we did that with moved a bit further away. and after that and corona, we just drifted apart. but i find myself yearning for more time with friends and good conversations and evenings filled with good food and laughter. we had a few of those over the past year, but not nearly enough.

3. what's causing you anxiety?

i think money is always a source of anxiety. one could always do with more of it. it's not really that we lack, per se, but we could do things faster and complete more of the house projects if we had a bit more. i shouldn't complain, as we do have two good incomes in our household, i guess i wish that i had less anxiety about it.

naturally, the state of the world causes a lot of anxiety and in light of that, it feels a little meaningless to be worried about money. but world issues feel so huge and insurmountable, that maybe it's easier to look at one's own life and try to grab onto an anxiety that's closer to home. 

i'm pretty apprehensive about the election in november, but if i let myself fully stare that one in the face, i'll completely destroy what's left of my back teeth after the first trump administration, since that anxiety manifests as clenching my jaw in my sleep to the point where i wake up with a swollen cheek.

4. what resources, skills and practices can you rely on in the next year?

this one feels the most like setting new year's resolutions and i'm finding it a little difficult. i suppose the main resource that i rely on in general is my fearlessness in just jumping into things with both feet. i also, despite my advancing age, love to learn new things and stay up-to-date on trends and technology, and try out all the new things that are popping up all the time - ai, tiktok, blue sky, etc. i don't know really know whether these are resources or skills that i possess, but it's what comes to mind. staying curious is probably the best thing i can do to keep growing and developing.

as for the practice that i can rely on, it's my dogged determination to take a photo every day. i've been doing it since may 2008 and i don't intend to stop now. and if i can keep that commitment for such a long time, i can surely keep other commitments - like dry january, and taking a walk or jog every day, finding a regular yoga class to attend, inviting people over once a month, learning to knit, reading a book instead of endlessly scrolling on my phone...

5. what are your wildest, most harebrained ideas and dreams?

i would love to have a small podcast production company, making limited series podcasts for companies, to help them tell their stories. it would be a great way to keep getting to talk to interesting people and learn new things. 

one day, i want to have a little café right here in the countryside. this one has been in the back of my mind for some years. it would only have a few seats and maybe limited opening hours, but it would be a destination worth seeking out. everything in the café would also be for sale - it would be furnished with antiques and the serving dishes/cups/plates would be cool ceramics from local artists and you would be able to buy anything that struck your fancy.

i'd also like to make the old part of the house into a couple of rooms that we could put up on airbnb, so i could get back some of the feeling i used to have when we had couchsurfers on a regular basis. meeting interesting people and sharing our space, especially our outdoor spaces, with them. 

i want to do another art project/exhibition together with my friend christina. and just generally develop my creative practice. maybe something with pinhole photography?

i'm sure there are other things, but these are the ones that come to mind. it was nice to spend an hour or so pondering these questions. let me know if you do it too. 

and here's hoping 2024 will be a good year for all of us.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

You are so thin! Bravo!! You have lots of interesting aspirations and knowing you, I won't be surprised if they come to fruition.
I have never been a social butterfly but I have become downright reclusive and I don't know what to do about it. It's not good to be isolated.
I remember the couch surfers, you were very brave and open to welcome complete strangers to your home!
You have a right to be proud of the daughter you raised. She beautiful inside and out. I enjoyed her so much during the time I knew her.
May 2024 be good to all of us.