For this December’s (dreadfully late) Head & Heart post, I thought I’d do something a little different and review the whole past year instead of just the month. I know that everyone has already done their year wrap-ups and New Year’s resolutions, but having just returned from holiday I hope you’ll forgive me for running a little behind!
“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”
2014 was a year with some big changes and challenges, some downs but a lot of ups. You can see a lot of it wrapped up monthly in my previous Head & Heart posts, but here’s a bit of a summary and maybe some things I missed previously.
What I’ve been grateful for
Friends, family, The Boy, colleagues and blogging buddies – all who keep me inspired and in check. Technology to keep me connected with them even when they’re far away. Opportunities and privilege, which came sharply into focus when I travelled. Living in one of the most beautiful and liveable cities I’ve ever visited. Having a quirky but charming home to call my own.
What I’ve been thinking about
How to sum up a year’s worth of thoughts?
Reading and travelling inevitably leads to thinking (or the best kinds do at least). Not that I’m particularly worldly or political or philosophical, but I’m finding myself far more interested in these things than I’ve been before. It really is true that the more you learn the more you realise you have to learn, and how small you really are in the scheme of things. I’m finding myself drawn more and more to minimalism, even whilst being quite tech-centric and a bit too attached to my phone. The past few years I’ve felt a shift from striving for more typical ideals of success to kindness, happiness and inner peace (as wanky as that might sound). Defining my own version of success and not being swayed by conventional wisdom is something I’ll keep working on this year.
What I’m excited for
More Side Project issues (#2 should be out in March!). Finally getting around to making a stationery collection, with the Side Project team. A few weddings, including a very special one where I’ll be the matron lady of honour, my first time being a bridesmaidsidekick. Much more lettering, calligraphy, typography and art, which I’m hoping to get around to writing more about over on teresawatts.com. The aquaponics system we’re currently half way through installing, which should hopefully supply us with more than half of our veggies and herbs. Properly dealing with my back pain, not just when it gets bad. The year of 30th birthday parties, including my own. Bring on 2015!
What I’ve been doing
In the start of 2014 I really upped my dessert-making and food styling game, making an almost weekly dessert up until April. Although it ended up being too hectic to keep up that kind of schedule, I feel pretty proud of those blog posts and those delicious sweets!
I left my previous job and started a new one, with the agency I did my work experience at 10 years ago and have pretty much been trying to go back to ever since. We have a coffee machine and went to Bali for our ‘Christmas party’. I have no regrets.
Donating blood and volunteering for the first time turned out to be rewarding experiences, and I wondered why I’d waited so long to do it.
I dabbled in print-making with letterpress and screen-printing, and even a bit of 3D printing – all of which I still have yet to write about properly
I hosted a waste free (ish) dinner party for 13 people, which I have decided is the maximum we can fit for a sit-down meal at our place.
I taught a brush lettering workshop at Beau Est Mien, which was scary but very rewarding. Inspiration for things to come.
Along with my partners in crime I created an actual printed (on 100% recycled stock no less) zine called Side Project, the first of hopefully many issues. Making a publication had been on my list of things I’d love to do but didn’t have to drive or skills to achieve on my own, so it felt AMAZING to complete it!
What I’ve been reading
Here’s a few things that made a big impact on me last year:
- Brain Pickings – the best way to read little digestible bits of wisdom from authors, artists and visionaries old and new, conveniently interpreted by the brilliant Maria Popova.
- Monocle Magazine – I picked up a subscription last year, and whilst they are a bit too dense for me to keep up with easily I feel smarter for having read them, haha! Also, those lovely editorial illustrations!
- Offscreen Magazine – putting a different perspective on web and digital work.
- I didn’t make it through many books this year, but Walden, for all it was a pain to read, put some of my jumbled thoughts together quite beautifully.
- xkcd always and forever.
What I’ve been spending money on
As much of my money I could last year went into the mortgage – how boring! But also on travel, slowly furnishing our home, excellent food, some good bottles of whiskey, stationery and magazines. I think we’ve reached the point of being relatively comfortable living within our means, investing in things that are worth spending money on and being thrifty with what isn’t. Sometimes I do feel pangs of jealousy when I see friends going on lots of holidays, eating expensive meals or wearing beautiful expensive clothes, but in the end I don’t think that lifestyle is for me.
So that’s the year that was – coming up soon: some belated goals and resolutions for the year ahead, some travel posts, and hopefully slightly better frequency of posts than the end of last year!
As always, if you’d like to join us or see others’ posts in this monthly series, head on over to helario.us for the master list.