I don’t know about you all, but I’m sitting here thinking “what just happened?” Was it not Thanksgiving, like, two minutes ago? Christmas was a whirlwind and now it’s already 2014. I kinda feel like I got gypped a little bit. There wasn’t as much time to savor the holidays. I let Christmas get to me. Not the advent Christmas that my soul craves, but the busy, hectic, I-forgot-I-needed-to-bake-that Christmas that I vow to avoid each year.
Coming away from the chaos, I’m really wanting to approach this year differently. We spent some time with the real Miss Wyolene over the holidays and I was reminded of an interaction she and I had when I was in the fourth grade. She and my grandaddy had come up from Georgia for a few days to hang with the broseph and me while my parents were out of town. According to my grandmother, my mom left her no major instructions, except, could she possibly organize Morgan’s bedroom? (Shudders all around.)
Now, understand that I have ALWAYS been a creative person (meaning, I’ve lived amongst piles of glitter and magazine scraps my entire life.) Also understand that at her core, Miss Wyolene is THE most organized person I have EVER met. So imagine my dismay when I came home from school to find my “creations” and belongings categorized into piles that stretched from my bedroom, down the hallway, all the way to the den. We’re talking, Bedazzler, colored pencils, baskeball card collection, and aforementioned glitter. I’m sure my horror bordered on disrespect towards Miss Wyolene. She calmly sat me down and explained why this exercise in organization was important.
(Please read the following in your best “Scarlett O’Hara southern accent.)
“Morgan, I have a saying that I want you to learn. ‘A place for everything and everything in it’s place.’ Do you know what that means?”
“No,” I undoubtedly hmmphed.
“It means that everything you have needs to live in a certain place. That way, you always know where everything is. When your grandaddy comes to me and says ‘where is such and such?’ I say ‘I know right where that is because it is in it’s place.’”
I’m not going to lie, it was probably brutal for my grandmother, who swears up and down she didn’t throw anything away. Even my Michael Jordan and Larry Bird posters. (Have I mentioned that I was an odd girl…hair bows and basketball cards?) The thing is, Miss Wyolene was right and is still right. Her home is the epitome of organization. I fear I might have broken her heart for all of her efforts because I still struggle to keep an orderly home. And an orderly workspace? FORGET it.
But in reflecting on this vintage conversation, I am realizing all of the wisdom nuggets I can glean from it. I have pulled a few loose “challenges” (not resolutions. I hate those.) from them that I’d like to share- if only to keep myself accountable. I want to:
1. Have an intentional amount of stuff.
As a creative, it is SO HARD to purge things. But freeing up space and ditching clutter can really make room for my eyeballs to see new things. White space is a designer’s best friend. I know I always end up filling it in, but it’s always there when I begin on a sketch page or on a new InDesign document. Why not make the spaces where I work and live look more like this? There’s probably a zen lesson in there somewhere: about giving yourself room to breathe for the purpose of creating. And if I can’t find a place for a thing, maybe it’s time to evaluate whether or not I need that thing.
2. Apply this rule to my boundaries, too.
Boundaries are HARD, y’all. Now that I’m a mama to one with one on the way this year, it’s more important than ever to find and defend my borders. As I move into this year, I’ve been outlining my goals and plans for Miss Wyolene. (Complete with Excel doc, guys. I’m not even playing.) I’ve tried to keep my work/creative life manageable. I can’t blog multiple times a week. To be honest, I don’t really want to. I have a plan to blog once a week. And hopefully those posts will be more deliberate. I’m also mapping out a studio schedule and setting aside very specific hours to work. And that frees me up to be a mama, wife, and homemaker the rest of the time. I can’t tell y’all how excited I am to see how this plan unfolds. This past year was far too muddy with overlapping time. And the guilt that ensued from my attention being devised was brutal. Kid time is kid time. The computer will be off. The phone will be at it’s charging station. Likewise, work time has its place, too. When the kiddos are in bed or napping or at Mother’s Day Out, then I can completely focus on taking the spreadsheet out of excel and building tangible, beautiful things from my plan.
3. Have less Netflix, more reading.
This kinda goes along with my previous points. I really want to purge what isn’t helpful, to make room for what grows and challenges me. I’m about halfway finished reading “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. It’s an easy read and it’s all about writing. (Sheesh, I hope she never reads this blog. I’m kind of a brain dump writer.) However, there are SO MANY great nuggets to glean as a creative person. I keep thinking to myself ’This is so much more helpful than catching up on “Scandal.’ I gotta pump myself full of this kind of thing. What inspires me to make beautiful things? I need to go to there.
So, many things ahead for Miss Wyolene in 2013. I will be packing up my office to make room for baby and moving into a coat closet. Literally. I will be learning how to juggle these items with two kiddos. I’m hoping and praying that the above points will serve as a framework as I seek balance. I know I will fail. I know it will be hard. And I know I can’t do it alone. As Lamott says in her book “Make plans and watch God laugh.” (Or something like that.) But I gotta try.
And to celebrate this intention, I’m sharing a desktop wallpaper calendar with you all. It’s going to be mind all month. Hopefully it will encourage you to find beauty and to make your time count towards whatever it is that moves you. For me, I want to savor time with my little people (and also my Big person), enrich their lives and the lives of others around me, all while finding space to create beauty. So, cheers to you, 2014!
(©2014 Miss Wyolene. For personal use only.)
PS- I have a few more printed desktop calendars left in my Etsy shop! Snag yours here!