Better.

That’s my word for 2018.  I began this practice of finding a word that describes how I want to define the coming year when I read about this cool website called oneword365, where you do just that – ruminate on how you want your year to go.  Last year, my word was “direction”.  When I saw the tweet yesterday that asked, “What’s your one word for 2018?”, I didn’t even hestitate – it just came to me. BETTER. 

I want to be a better instructor. I have been teaching for 10 years now, and as it is with many things one does for a long time, it’s easy to get in a rut.  My students deserve better than “rut”!  I want to have even more returning students than I already have.

I want to be better at time management. This year, when we got our two Pommies, I had to change how I use my studio.  Because they like to gnaw on things, I’ve had to keep my studio door closed when I’m not working.  This has brought about a change I wasn’t even looking for, but has made me more aware – that by closing my door at the end of the day, I am signaling that I am done working. And by making that connection, my time in the studio is more precious than ever. And I’m spending less time online (ironic, but YAY!) and WAY more time in the studio.  I’ve got a new stash of jazz records I can play, and I love spending full days doing nothing but working.  It’s a dream come true, and even though I’ve been a full-time artist for 8 years now, I’ve never been more aware of how damn lucky I am to have my studio time.  I love it so much, even more than I did in 2010.

I want to be better at saying “no”. I have really improved in this arena over the past couple of years, mainly because I just don’t have the time anymore. This is a great thing, because it means that my art is my priority.  As it should be.  Alas, that means less volunteering and fewer long lunches, but my practice has improved tenfold.  And my income has more than doubled in the past year. This year, I want it to double again.  So there’ll be even more times where I don’t allow my fear of being disliked to overwhelm my resolve to make my art the most important aspect of my workday.

I want to be even better at trying new things. Last year was the first year I did outdoor art markets.  It was terrifying for me.  But I did three, and they were fantastic (even if the weather was awful for the first one). This year, I’m seriously contemplating applying for a residency that would be two weeks long, in a very remote place. EEK. But I have to try, right?  🙂

I want to be a better artist. This one’s a no-brainer, or it should be! Of course I want to be a better artist!  I love learning new techniques and also combining techniques I’ve already learned in new ways.  I am currently doing that for a show I have in a month called “A Cut Above”, which will run from February 1-23 at ArtSpace Collective in Oshkosh.  It’s my solo member exhibit, and I’m combining printed letterpress blocks with collage.  I’m super excited about it already, and I’m only 1/7 of the way through!

(Here are two of the pieces that will be in the show – they’re called Mail I and II and are each 2″ square. The two men are the letterpressed blocks incorporated into the rest of the collage.)

I want my world to be better.  Okay, I have less control over this aspect, but there are things that we can all do if we want our communities, our government and our surroundings to be better.  And I want to be better at using those resources to make a difference, however small. I also know that I can be a better human being, and that means more kindness, more acceptance, more patience (I REALLY need help here) and more courtesy toward every other human.

I want to take better care of myself. This means eating better, exercising more, and moving more.  The older I get (and I turn FIFTY this year!), the more I realize that one’s health is the most important thing we have.  I’ve been too lax for too long in this department, and while I enjoy a pain-free life, I understand how important it is to keep it that way.  We just take it for granted, but if 2017 taught me anything it’s that nothing’s for certain, and we have to be proactive to live the life we want.

What’s YOUR word for 2018?  Follow the link and you can play along!! 🙂  Happy 2018, everyone! May the new year bring you happiness and well-being, and better things.  🙂

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