Y2K13 is a thing of the past, disappearing in the rearview mirrors of our minds, as Y2K14 builds momentum, rushing at us on the highway of our lives. Encased within our technological buffers (think Facebook and iPhones) we barely notice the scenery whipping by us. Often the closest we come to interacting with the outside environment is to use our metaphorical wipers to sweep the bugs from our windscreens. We rarely stop to pullover to experience the world outside, to take huge breaths of air, to feel the sun warm on our skin and the earth pulsing beneath our feet. When we do stop, it is often only to either empty our bowels or dump our trash. Then we climb back into our virtual as well as literal vehicles and off we go again, leaving waste and destruction behind us. It is no wonder the World is in the state it is.
a formal assessment of something with the intention of instituting change if necessary:
the beginning of a new year is an opportunity to look back at your past year, and l mean, really LOOK! Look at what you have done, the operative word being DONE! What were your successes and what were your failures? What was done to you and what did you do to others? Try and be objective about the exercise, analytical. It is an opportunity to learn, to develop and to improve yourself.
1) For me, like 2012, 2013 was a disaster in the romance department. Right on the heels of the disaster of LA Woman (the story of this mishap appears in my posts of 2012) I fell for another impossibly self-involved, self-deluding woman. So what do I take from this? Obviously I did not learn from my experience with the American girl because I went on to make the same errors with this South African girl. Too open, too honest, too trusting, too much: I suppose that is my lesson learned. Hopefully this will change my behaviour but I am simply a romantic fool so probably not. On the emotional/romantic IQ scale I think I must verge on retarded! But I have gone through the process of reviewing; taken stock and analyised and theorised, and that is important. As in art often the process is as important as the result of the completed task.
2) Academically, 2013 was a challenging one to say the very least. However, in this case I learned from my errors in 2012, and did really well in my final honours graduate exhibition, receiving distinctions for it. My exhibition catalogue received a poor mark for quality though, so the lesson learned here is be careful of whom you entrust to aid you in the attainment of your vision. Not all people will share it, and certainly a lot of people will not share your pride in doing something as well as you can. The printers I selected and entrusted with the task of my catalogues were, despite being recommended by a fellow student, incompetent.
3) Workwise, also an extremely tough year. I suppose this is largely due to the demands of juggling work and study commitments. However, I do also work in an extremely demanding industry. Like Africa, the clothing/fashion industry is not for sissies! I work a 12 hour day and a 72 hour week under extreme pressure in a factory environment. What I did manage to do in 2013 is to take my situation as frustrating as it is and extract benefit from it other than just working to pay the bills. I learned skills which I am able to apply to my artistic endeavours. An example of was going for training courses for the coralDRAW and Photoshop programmes. Both are useful tools for the modern visual artist.
a firm decision to do or not to do something:
resolutions are promises to oneself and so should be very carefully decided upon and committed to. Failing oneself, fooling oneself, disappointing oneself or lying to oneself are actions which will colour and taint all your dealings with the world within which you interact. It leads to the degeneration of personal morals and self-esteem, for if you do not respect and honour yourself how likely is it that you will be able to so with others. Above all else is integrity, start with that.
1) I start every year with the intent to better myself. I aim to acquire new skills that I do not possess and to improve those that I do. This year, as I have now completed all the art modules required for my degree, I want to improve on my drawing and painting skills. I am self-taught and although I am successful in both areas I would like to refine my skills and techniques. I therefore have signed up for classes with a very respected artist, John Smith.
2) I want to write my Spanish Intermediate level exam this year so Spanish language classes will also be one of my main focuses. After my final exams for my degree in May I am hoping to increase my time with my Spanish tutor, Waldir, to 3 classes a week.
3) I also like to make a positive difference in this world which is why I am involved with the animal rescue and shelter organisation, Hillside Haven. My aim is to hold at least 3 fundraising events for them as well as to try and visit with the animals a little more this year.
a radical change in ways of thinking and behaving:
I always attempt to change the people I come into contact with, to make a difference. Not in a preachy, bullying, better-than-thou manner but by example. For example I am a vegetarian. This is because I believe animals have souls and because I believe it is cruel and uneccessary to eat animals. Also it is just plain sick. I guess what I’m trying to say is I try and lead by example. A lot of people love animals, or claim to, as long as it doesn’t require any effort on their part or inconvenience them in any way. Screw that I say! Get involved! Choose a side! But most of all don’t be a hypocrite! The same applies to our environment! Soccer mom’s recycling but driving around in huuuge, gas-guzzling SUV’s! Seriously! Bitching about corporate greed and the exploitation of workers while wearing your Nike tee made in a sweatshop in China! Seriously! So yeah, I try and educate people and try to light a fire under their asses!
a state in which you are thinking about pleasant things, the condition of being lost in thought:
You will often find me in this state. I remain a dreamer despite the harsh and cruel realities of this existence, despite my own very real weaknesses and failures. It is in this state of reverie that I find the will to keep going no matter how much humanity continues to disappoint and disgust me. It is where I find my inspiration as well as my self-belief, and that tiny measure of hope that perhaps humans can change.
So yeah those are my 4 R’s. Hope they give you some food for thought and perhaps inspire you to make a change, to make a difference. It certainly does not require the bringing in of a new year to inspire you. Just decide to! It’s never too late!