2021: The year of savouring, seeking and settling in
New years that begin on a weekend? Sign me up.
It was a relief to wake up and not feel the pressure of a Monday along with the expectations of a fresh year.
I was able to walk my dog, make breakfast and an Americano and just sit with my thoughts in my living room, watch the birds flit past and slowly percolate on everything that 2021 was, and everything I hope for 2022 to be.
Every year I have an urge to write something about the 365 prior days. Time is short and the edges of memories get worn away with the passing of it until we miss just how visceral everything felt in those moments.
I like to savour things. I blink up at the depth of blue skies and am mesmerized by sunlight and shadow dancing on sidewalks, birdsong in trees encourages me to hold my breath in order to listen better, fresh breezes entice me to pull them into my lungs and rejoice at the expansion of my chest, the zing in my blood. We live surrounded by magic, daily, little magics that are overlooked, and then capped off on December 31st to make way for the disembarking of a new 365.
So, annually, I try to put something together to commemorate what has been. What things conspired to sculpt me into who I am today? What have I accomplished, what challenged me?
Being too focused on what’s to come leaves us with a sense of the present not mattering because it’s not tomorrow, or next week, or five years from now, it’s simply now. When now starts to feel as if it isn’t enough, I remind myself that it’s essential to celebrate where we’ve come from, what we’ve slogged through. Rejoice in our wins, no matter how small, because they contributed to our now, and bring us to our someday.
The previous 365 were a riot. Of colours, of decisions, of emotions, cities, homes, books and dreams. I loved it, I loved, I was loved.
Celebrated a year of love with my partner, seven as friends
My puppy turned a year old
Gradated from the certificate program at the Ottawa School of Art
Started at OCAD University
Moved to Toronto and made a home with my partner and dog
Sold the most original art and commissions of my career to date, doubling my business income in a year
Covered 14,331 square inches of canvas and paper
Created 49 new artworks, seven of which were commissions, and 16 were original paintings of my design that found forever homes with fantastic collectors, all while in school full-time
Designed, published and sold my first photography book
Designed, printed and sold my first art calendar
Read / listened to 91 books
When I compile my yearly reviews, sometimes just for myself, sometimes to share, I get struck with this overwhelming urge to sprint headlong into the new opportunities to come. I ache to stay up late and dream to-do lists and goals into fruition in my journal, overcommitting myself to taking life by the balls. Ovaries? Whichever.
In practice, I live a tamer version of what I imagine for myself in pre-sleep delirium, but I appreciate being able to look back at what I was thinking, what I tried to put into motion for myself.
When I looked back this year, I read about my life in 2019 and into 2020. That was a hard time, but I find a home in my sentences from that time, like “The promise of this year is so vast it’s nearly painful” and “A little while ago I caught a glimpse in the mirror of the person I’m actively becoming. She’s not the Hannah from years past, besides, that girl doesn’t belong here. I do.”
As we grow older, I think we take more time and build more tools to reconcile the morphing versions of ourselves. I have more compassion for myself now, and the trials I’ve overcome have proved to me my resilience and capability. This more tattered version of me has far more confidence than the bravado I hid behind in my early 20s and teens. My partner and I like to call it patina. Like a nice leather couch, life is breaking us in, and it’s beautiful. It’s unstoppable. So I’ll embrace it.
These previous 365 were wonderful and terrifying. I made decisions that scared me, like moving in with the love of my life, relocating cities, starting a second degree, and I settled more into my life as an artist, I got more comfortable with the sound of that job title on my lips. I started new projects, took leaps of faith, launching myself into the foggy realm of possibility, buoyed by trust in myself and those around me for support. I grew, I evolved, I patina-ed.
These next 365 are going to be glorious, I can feel it in the roots of my soul.
Again: the promise of this year is so vast it’s nearly painful.
I’m excited to make mistakes, because I will. I’m excited to see where I am this time next year.
Some simple goals to disembark from this shore with are:
Make more art than I ever have before
Take more leaps that scare the crap out of me
Leap boldly in the direction of what puts stars in my eyes and awe in my heart and the sense of weightlessness around me.
And if it can put some funds in my bank account, that’s great too.
More on that to come.