This week has been a celebration of achieving a series of goals. Although they have zeroed in on creativity and mental stimulation, they have dovetailed to enhance many other aspects of my life. The goals have birthed a synergy of synchronicity bringing forth renewed playfulness and communication with family and friends, finding new areas to research and discover, new opportunities, a development of skills (art, filming, technological and even physical) and a grounding emotionally and spiritually.
Let me back up 58 years! Yes, when I was around four or five, I vividly remember waking up and thinking, what do I have to today? Then I would lay in bed thinking of all the neighbours (the moms and of course their kids) that I wanted visit in our townhouse complex in Don Mills. I would follow the morning routine of breakfast and getting dressed, then say bye to my mom, tell her where I planned to go and head out. Yes, those were the days when we would venture out on our own or with a sibling without our parents, to return for lunch or dinner at a designated time. I would proceed to ticking off my places to visit yet in true child-like fashion always remain open to the beauty of a distraction. I remember at the end of the day, laying back in bed feeling a sense of accomplishment as I rewound the day’s events in my head. On top of it all, I recounted the fun along the way.
Today, at 62 I pretty much follow the same routine each morning, thinking and planning what is on the accomplishment agenda. Now, given time is more critical and with years under my belt, (knowing myself at a deeper level specifically my needs and wants), I am more specific. Introduced to the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reliable and Time-Based) approach to goal setting years ago, I tend to follow that frame of reference as I plan my activities. However, to some this might sound a bit unyielding, please friends remember, flexibility and flow are critical to me. In a heartbeat I can be distracted with the joy and wonder of synchronicity. As in the Groundhog Day scene, I can be heard saying, “Squirrel!” finding a new opportunity or inspiration.
So, what achievements did I celebrate this week?
1). Filming 40 days, Monday to Friday, of Pandemic, Positive and Purposeful Play …Seniors Coping. It has been a fun project, experimenting with my iPhone camera, new lenses, creating iMovies, uploading to YouTube all the while planning out quick and hopefully entertaining story lines. Thank you to Sheila who suggested that I film Monday to Friday rather than every day. A great call in making the project attainable while still time-based. This has been such a fun project that has connected me with friends, especially those who are across Canada. It has also evolved into a very fun playful project for Mark and me as a couple.
2). Completing the illustrations for Shejo. This is the second story I have illustrated with pencil sketches. There were moments when I was ready to give up, but I kept thinking to myself, inch by inch, break things down and don’t get overwhelmed with the full scene. Focus on one thing at a time. Also, if I didn’t feel confident to draw a particular object, I would think of other strategies that could make the point (ie. drawing the back of characters and challenging the listener and reader to dramatically show what they think the facial expression of the character should be). My sketching skills have continued to improve. I still have a long way to go but I have to say I’m pretty proud of the drawings.
3). Completing a phenomenal book, The Enchanting Hour, by Meghan Cox Gurdon. This is such an excellent book for everyone, parents, grandparents, couples and pretty much anyone! It should be given to every parent after birth as a parting gift from the hospital. The best parenting advice. She goes on to share:
“When the writer and illustrator Anna Dewdney knew that brain cancer was taking her early from this world, she asked, in lieu of a funeral or memorial service, her friends and the people who loved her books would read to a child. She knew what was essential. In a piece for the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, she wrote: “When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language. We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human.”” Page 218 – The Enchanting Hour by Meghan Cox Gurdon.