I'm going to go ahead and jump on the "Happy New Year" train.
I explained a couple blogs ago that I don't typically follow most seasonal blog/post trends. I don't like to post what I'm most thankful for around Thanksgiving. I don't like feeling pressured to be more giving around Christmas. And I don't like setting annual goals in around New Years.
It’s not because I’m a grump. It's not because I don't value a grateful, giving, aspiring disposition. It just seems so fake when one does it just because everyone else is, and I don’t like feeling that way. It feels yucky. Does anyone else feel that way? Do you know what I’m talking about?
I know that's not usually the case, most people are genuinely grateful, giving, and goal-setting. The special holidays just help remind us of the importance of these characteristics.
But I still don't like the way it FEELS. Naturally, I believe everyone should be grateful all year. We should be giving all year. And we should be setting new goals, reaching for new heights, all year round.
That doesn't mean it happens, and I will admit it's nice to have a reminder, a starting place, a refresher. I DO feel more focused and ready to take on new challenges in the month of January. I DO feel more generous and see more generosity in others around the holidays. So why not run with it?
Going into 2020
This year I do have goals I'll be setting and trying to reach throughout the year. While these goals have been developing over the last few months, it does feel appropriate to really narrow in my focus at the beginning of the year. The holidays are over. There isn't much else occupying my time and mind like there might be during other months.
I'm going to be honest - although this is an art-related, kid-related blog and website, many of my goals are starting to branch away from Share Paint. I enjoy teaching classes and I enjoy building a connection with kids and their parents. I still plan on running roughly the same number of classes per month that I have been. But I have little desire to grow BIGGER. There have been some things about teaching art that I don't love so much. Here’s what I mean:
1. I've never been one to enjoy working nights and weekends, when classes need to be run to meet the needs of working parents and kids in school. I have been SO fortunate in my adult life and have not worked many nights and weekends in the last probably 10 years. Those times of the day/week have become family time. My children are just getting into the ages where they have interest in extracurricular activities and have started taking classes themselves. I consider our family fairly active and adventurous, and weekends are when we do our exploring. In addition, nights and weekends are the only time I typically have with my husband, and I already have 3-4 nights a month I am volunteering at one place or another. It's hard to justify working evenings when it would be better for my family if I could work during the day when my children are at school.
2. The ONLY other thing I do not particularly like about teaching classes (mostly just the Paint Nights) is the amount of waste I create. I consider myself pretty environmentally conscious and I truly believe there are few things more important than taking care of the Earth for the survival of all life. I use reusable bags. I volunteer with wildlife conservation groups. I have reusable straws in my purse. But in one Paint Night I throw away up to 4 plastic table covers, 20+ plates, countless non-recyclable paper towels, and plastic trash bags, not to mention the paint, old brushes, and the huge canvases which may be displayed for a time but probably eventually ending up in a landfill. I have been justifying this waste because I TRULY believe these classes have value. Second to taking care of the earth, I believe the next most important positive impact I can have is through bringing people together, creating a safe space for creativity, being a part of the laughter, the smiles, and the new experiences. This is also SO important and I am honored to be a part of it.
These issues have been leading me to consider other career paths (still related to what I’m doing now). It may take me all year to narrow these ideas down and begin working toward new goals. But for now I will continue to teach and focus on the positive impacts I can make, while getting creative about ways I can reduce these two concerns of mine. If I am more intentional with my family time, the moments we do have together will be well spent and memorable. I try to remember that these classes help our family too by providing a secondary income to lower our financial stress, and allowing me a creative outlet so I can be more present and relaxed around my family. Truthfully I have discovered and accepted that I NEED this outlet for my mental and emotional health. I am learning more about art materials that are recyclable, or that can be reduced without impacting the quality of the class. Maybe I don’t have to give up this business that I love, I just have to get more creative about how I build it.
Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear about your New Year challenges, and how you plan to overcome them.