8. Be intentional about noticing things in nature.
What greenery is persistent in growing in the winter months? Note the sturdiness of the evergreens in the cold months, the way the birds search and collect food, the raw starkness of the leaves stripped bare of their coverings. Press leaves, take notes in a journal, or pictures to record your discoveries. (Don't forget to print your pictures).
9. Make a list of 21 things you want to do in 2021.
It doesn't have to be goal oriented accomplishments (but it could be). The 21 things could be books read or planting different vegetables or supporting different local restaurants you've never frequented).
11. Take all of the unfinished art or the art you didn't like: cut it up and create a collage.
12. Buy a magazine and cut out words and pictures that inspire you. Tape them on the mirror or the dashboard of your car.
13. Write a letter a week to a friend or family member. Doodle designs on the envelope and write an fun note on the inside flap of the envelope. Add in stickers, a photo, a piece of your art.
14. Introduce yourself to a neighbor you haven't met. If you're feeling brave, bring a handmade gift, a small piece of your art, flowers from your garden or something else. There's something expansive at getting out of my own world and reaching out to others (and letting them reach out to you). This does not come naturally for me, but it gets easier with practice.
15. Break down the sense of walls and isolation between you and your colleagues, neighbors, and family. Be creative with random quick phone calls, outdoor gatherings, bring your own chair to parks, nature areas etc. I've seen so many "tail gating" small gatherings in parking lots this year! Now that the weather is warmer, I'm anticipating some outdoor "spring teas" and coffee get togethers.
16. Change your color palette of your wardrobe or a room or the office.
The 80/20 rule applies to so many areas of our life. You don't necessarily need to buy things. Pull out colors you don't normally wear or change a few things in a room. Switch up the art or paint a bold color on a few canvases and use them to decorate a room along with a change in the furniture setup.
18. Paint out your "word of the year" or favorite quote in watercolor.
Add in doodles, flowers, shapes with micron and gel pens. For an alternative project, rip out magazine pictures/ scrapbook paper and create the words with pieces of paper.
19. Plan a day trip to a local museum, celebrated garden, vintage stores, etc.
My friend Kinsay and I were discussing several "touristy" things to do in our city that neither of us have seen: historical homes (they're gorgeous), local hobby farms, that sort of thing. It's amazing how easy it is to overlook local museums, gardens, historical homes. Be a tourist in your own town or city for a day!
Things are opening slowly where I am with limited capacities. This means I may not be able to be as spontaneous as I normally would be. Just a note if you tend to wait until the last minute to run to a museum like I sometimes do.
20. Start a project that scares you or has felt 'too big' for the year.
Could be anything from baking through Paul Hollywood's Baking book, learning a new language, making five new friends, starting a writing group, finishing your degree, buying a home, reading all of the Jane Austen books, planning a trip to see your sponsored kids in Uganda. What might 2021 hold for you?
21. Set aside an hour every week for intentional thinking and imagination time.
Be a kid again. No worrying or fretting or making of lists or planning how to do things. Think and imagine! Don't worry if it's hard at first, that's normal. As C.S. Lewis said, "Some day you'll be old enough to read fairy tales again." In the bleak and sobering circumstances of the world, so many of us – myself included – have "grown up" so much that we don't even believe that good wins, that beauty is essential to the thriving of our world, that beauty matters terribly, and the fairy tales may be based more in reality than some of modern editorials and commentary on human existence. Allowing ourselves to develop our imagination and ability to think is not only important work but essential for our flourishing.
Remember, the external chaos is just that: external. We have lots of influence over our own spheres of life and what goes on there.
I'm starting to move out of the fog of my own life as the year progresses.
I'm excited to see the growth in skills, attitude, and life for all of us in 2021!