5 Things I Want to Focus On for 2019

New Year, New Me?

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions. I think that has something to do with sharing my birthday with the holiday. Sure, I want to stick to a workout routine or go to yoga more often, but it feels a little masochistic to consider that, first, after New Year’s Eve, and, second, on my birthday itself. At least, that’s my excuse.

Either way, I don’t stick to New Year’s Resolutions. I get distracted and fall behind on my “resolution,” until suddenly months have gone by and I feel bad about not sticking to it. I’ve been feeling this way a lot over the past year or so. Most of the moving parts of my life have been moving – figuratively and literally (I may be fully unpacked in our new apartment now after having lived here for nearly 8 months). Graduating law school, moving away from my college town, and finding a job – even though these are new and exciting things – have definitely thrown me for a loop. 

So, instead of coming up with resolutions, I want to come up with areas of my life and interests that I want to focuson. It’s all about framing the issue. I can fail resolutions; focusing on something is far more forgiving. 

Focal Point One: Reading for Pleasure

Maybe it is because I don’t have classes to deal with for (literally) the first time in my life, but I’ve started to kind of…miss them. Not law school classes, which were rough to say the least. I miss the fascinating and compelling liberal arts classes I took in undergrad. Suddenly, I’m very aware of the fact that I hardly read anymore. 

Stack of books featuring Michelle Obama's "Becoming" book, among others.

In undergrad, we read whole books as a class in a week or two and I rarely, if ever, had an issue keeping up (choosing not to read something that was assigned is a different story). Now, I’ve been crawling my way through a book about the Battle of Culloden for months. I do genuinely like the book, but I just don’t prioritize it. It can be really hard when you don’t have an authority figure giving you a deadline for the reading assignment.

I want to focus on reading more for my own pleasure and interest. I don’t want to set any particular goal – IE: one book a week – but I do want to nurture this pastime. 

Focal Point Two: Critter Crafting

I’ve been running a small handmade crochet blanket shop for a number of years now called Critter Crafting. I love to crochet and do some kind of crochet almost every night. I like to make blankets for friends and family, but, mostly, I make Cat Mats. Cat Mats are small pet blankets meant to keep small pets comfy in carriers, on cat trees, in crates, etc. They’re machine washable, come in all kinds of colors, and are all around awesome.

Critter Crafting started as a creative outlet. At the time, I had pretty much run out of people in my life to give full sized blankets to. I also had an abundance of half-skeins of yarn.

When I adopted my cat, Louis, I brought him home in this awkward plastic carrier I had purchased from PetSmart just before picking him up. At the time, I did not realize that the carrier was supposed to have a fuzzy pad in the bottom to keep the inhabitant from sliding all over the place. 

Well, Louis slid all over the place home. Not long after, I decided to make a little blanket to stick in the carrier to keep him comfy (and not long after that, I bought a Sherpa carrier, which has been fantastic). We still have that original Cat Mat, too; it has been washed a dozen or so times and lives on a cat tree now. 

Anyway, I want to focus on developing Critter Crafting a bit more. Now that I’m out of school, I have a little more mental energy to devote to it. I want to make my business with it more consistent and reliable. I love the creativity of it and how it interacts with the kitties’ Instagram, so I’m going to focus on the marketing-based side of it all, since I have the actual crochet process down (although, if I could learn to crochet while reading, that would be ideal….). 

Focal Point Three: Creative Writing

My new job has me writing a lot. Nothing in this writing is particularly creative; I am taking people’s experiences and turning them into language that meshes with legal standards. Even still, though, the writing has gotten me thinking about how I do miss writing creatively. 

In high school, I would write story after story. In all, I think I wrote something like 7 manuscripts – lengthy word documents that I would print out for my parents to read. I was – am – shy about my writing. I kept it hidden then and even now – a full ten years later – I am still uncomfortable talking about these things. I’m so shy about these things that I hesitate to note that I had one of my manuscripts published during my senior year of high school.

I think this anxiety has negatively impacted my ability to write creatively at all; this fear lives in the back of my mind. All of this stems from my fear that my work won’t be well received. Naming that fear doesn’t necessarily make it better, but ten years has – hopefully, maybe – hardened my resolve and my faith in myself. But we’ll see; I don’t take criticism well, helpful or otherwise. (Sub-focal point – try to embrace positive critiques and ignore the negative criticisms.)

Rifle Paper Co. Journal and pen.

So, this year, I want to focus on pushing past that fear and anxiety and actually work on some creative writing. I have absolutely no idea what I would – will – write about, but I want to focus on writing something. 

Focal Point 4: Photography

After someone asked for a “high-res” photo of one of my Cat Mats for a blog post, I treated myself to a fantastic Nikon camera. I never really thought I would need a good camera like that for my personal life, much less for Critter Crafting. Until then, I was taking my product photos on my phone. 

I don’t think I can say this enough: I love my Nikon. It’s easy to use, takes great pictures, and is a pretty convenient size. I took it to Scotland and got some great shots. I use it with the cats to fantastic results. My Critter Crafting pictures are so much clearer, brighter, and professional looking with it.

But, I’ve never really learned how to use it. I pretty much took it out of the package, charged up the battery, and just started snapping away. This is fine and good, but I don’t think I am – no, I know I’m not – using it to its full potential. 

Ray Ban sunglasses and Saltwater Brewery IPA in Delray, Florida

I’d like to focus on learning a bit more about my camera and how to use it optimally. For both my personal life and Critter Crafting, knowing more about how the camera works and learning a bit about professional photography will only make my other focal points easier to develop. 

Focal Point Five: Organization

This last point dovetails from the photography, but applies to life just generally. With my awesome camera – and iPhone, let’s be real – I take waymore photos than I use or even really review (see the literally 50K cat pictures I have on my phone, computer, the cloud…everywhere). For the pictures, I’m going to try to “tag” them in my Adobe Lightroom program. For everything else…well, we’ll see. I probably need some more Ikea organizing boxes

Steamline Luggage Suitcase with assorted summer styles, including Zimmermann, XIX Palms, Free People, and Solid and Striped

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? If so, what did you choose? If not, why not?