Year of the Sheep or Goat

If you’ve been reading my blog prior to August 2014, then you know I’m not a big fan of setting New Year’s resolutions or deciding what goals are best to pursue around the 1st of the year. I find the end of the year calendar too hectic to plan anything new and the beginning of the next year’s calendar too stressful to do anything other than maintain.

Instead, I like to look to the Lunar New Year as a great time to say: “OK. Here’s what I think I want to do moving forward.” Not that anyone needs to wait until a particular calendar date to implement a change in their lives, but let’s face it, it’s usually more fun that way.

(I briefly flirted with going back to the Western tradition of setting resolutions for after the ball drop in Times Square, but that quickly proved a mistake by mid-January.)

Since my blog is arts and culture-focused now, I thought it best to look to the new year with a plan to explore the wonderful cavalcade of artistic and cultural endeavors around me. And when I’m not doing that, maybe give more attention to my art: creative expression through the written word.

I understand that may sound vague or status quo for me, but not setting too much in stone is sometimes the best route. With a nod to the Year of the Sheep and what hurdles I can expect to encounter in the year to come, it may be best to plan to be “flexible.” Wooden Sheep may seem innocuous, but it’s not a year to simply rest on your laurels. However, it is a time to pause, appreciate and respect the journey you’ve traveled thus far.

Considering last year’s New Year’s goals didn’t quite go as I hoped, I figure what have I got to lose with a new approach. I’m not disparaging last year’s path, mind you. I started a new 9-to-5, helped launch a new project that helps people with a horribly debilitating disease, traveled to Canada for the first time, and improved my credit score by 20 points. Not bad for a year full of twists and turns.

But now, it’s time to focus on renewal and creativity so I can embrace what lies ahead.

And here’s how I plan to do it:

1. New Lunar Year. New Website.

After working with a professional web designer these past few months, I’ll be rolling out a new website in time for the Lunar New Year celebration. It will be a wonderful combination of my career identity and my creative identity. In other words, there’s the business and the art residing lovingly on the same web address in a more cohesive and supportive fashion.

2. Take advantage of cultural opportunities as they arise

I’m a planner. I could blame it on the J in my INFJ, but the truth is, I simply love doing it. So it’s no shock that I’ve planned to attend quite a few events to keep this culture vulture smiling and my bank account low. Heck, by the end of February alone, I’ll have checked off 4 lectures, a sci-fi convention, a documentary festival event and a song & dance salute to the Harlem Renaissance! But the truly awesome thing about that list of events is only one of them were on my social calendar prior to February 1st. That’s one of the upsides to being flexible.

3. Stretch my artistic skills

I haven’t fully determined how I will go about this yet, but there are already plans to attend another Pop-Up Art Class at the Indianapolis Arts Center in March. I’m also considering a class in graphic design this summer. There are few art projects I have on my to-do list for my home as well. (Shhhh! One involves a coffee table.) I’m known for my verbal skills in the creative world, but I’d like to expand my horizons a little this year and see where it takes me.

4. Land 4 new clients

Now you may be wondering: “Candace, what does your client list have to do with arts and culture?” Good question, dear reader! Setting aside the idea that the Year of the Sheep is traditionally good for business and monetary growth, it’s a year for those who want to find out if they can turn their dreams into a reality as well. Well, that takes some good old fashioned elbow grease and a desire to sit down and make it happen. Melding my artistic talent with my business savvy is the end goal and I need to get cracking.

5. Visit 3 museums I’ve never visited before

Sounds a bit cut and dry, yes? I enjoy what my current city has to offer in the museum and gallery arena, but I also love road trips and discovering something “new” to me. I’ve kept the short list to 3 museums, but of course, I’ll keep the door open for more. Right now, the museums on my To Visit list include: the Chicago Cultural Center for their upcoming Archibald Motley exhibit, the St. Louis Science Center for the traveling Genome Project exhibit, and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum for … the Duesenbergs and a bit of Hoosier history.

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So that’s my plan, Stan. It may not seem grand, but it certainly feels like a great path to get me started on where I liked to go. The Year of the Green Wood Sheep is a time of creativity, renewal and harmony. I can’t think of a better time to begin my best artistic life.

What are your plans for the Lunar New Year?