Happy New Year !
Rather than trying something new or desperately trying to reinvent ourselves for the ninetieth time - let's just call 2015 the 'bugger it' year.
Let me explain - over the Christmas and New Year period I was in the UK (partly with friends and partly with family) and - as usual - facebook exploded on New Year's Eve with the type of status we've come to expect: '2014 was both an amazing and a terrible year' (really? How does that work?) or the ubiquitous '2015 is my year - I will work hard to achieve my book deal / stop eating so much chocolate / wanting to set fire to telesales people' etc, etc... an endless list of public declarations of all the amazing things each person was going to do to become better in 2015.
I have always found this to be a terribly depressing affair - not because I think evolving and bettering yourself is a bad thing, mind - I think that's a pretty cool thing to do! What I object to, however, is the amount of pressure people feel the need to put themselves under just because it's the start of a new year and - let's be honest - we all know that you can promise to stop eating too much cake all you like, but by February the tenth, you'll be running howling through the streets with a manic look on your face and a Black Forest Gateau under your arm...
But in amongst these promises - each one more depressing than the other - shone a beacon of sense in the form of a friend's status which basically said 'Happy New Year everyone - I'm probably not going to change anything about myself in 2015. You can if you like, but I bet you won't like it!' - those weren't her exact words, but the sentiment is there and I just thought 'yes! This is what we need to hear' - we need to be replacing what is essentially a game of 'let's write down all the things I loathe about myself and post them on the internet' with 'do you know what, I reckon I'm alright as I am so I'll just keep on being that for a bit'... I loved it! (thanks Bec!)
I started to think about how this applies to us in our artistic endeavours and I came to the conclusion that the overwhelming desire to constantly better yourself leads to simply collecting a load of skills you're not very good at: the flute, which you took up in 2013, was followed by the guitar in 2014, then Salsa dancing in 2015.... and in fact all that happens is you end up being a somewhat rubbish flute-playing, Salsa-dancing nearly-guitarist. We can't master a skill if we constantly add to the list of things vying for our attention, so we just end up being mediocre at a lot of stuff.
My suggestion is to make 2015 the year where you continue to do what you did in 2014 and give yourself time to get better at it. Now obviously I'm suggesting this for artistic purposes, but if you want to use it in other areas of your life, feel free (you're on your own, mind - I'm not accepting any responsibility if you decide to give up breathing or eating...)
So here's the 'bugger it' concept in a nutshell: make a list of all the projects you have on the go - be honest. Choose the five most important things on that list - those you can't live without - no more than five. Then scratch out the rest - just cross them off (or if you're a scaredy cat and crossing-off is a bit too gung-ho for you, you can just put them on a 'I'll do it another year' list). Now stop giving any attention or energy to the things you've crossed off. Just stop. Even though you may love your African dance class, if it didn't make the cut, stop going! It will still be there next year. Any new projects should be squarely met with a 'bugger it' unless they actively make you better at your 5 keepers. Use 2015 to become further your existing skills and become awesome at the things you've decided to keep. For everything else, there's 'bugger it'.
Of course, I hope that singing made the cut! But if it didn't - 'bugger it', it will still be there next year!
All the best for a very happy, non-stressed 2015 !