52 Things

When I’m in a funk, I create. Whether it’s painting, taking photos, or cooking an elaborate recipe I saw on Pinterest and convinced myself I was capable of, I find that taking my two smaller-than-most hands and putting them to work helps clear my head. 

I work on a computer all day and a lot of my work and its products are digital— or at least start that way. Web design, Photoshop, yadda yadada.. they all live on a screen. There’s definitely an aspect of my job that involves helping people in "real life" but that usually comes weeks or months after (yes) digital campaigns to raise awareness and generate donations. Well aware of but choosing to ignore the very relevant and important debates about where real life ends and digital begins (and if there is even a difference anymore) I’m just gonna go ahead and say that sometimes, it feels good to make real things. 

So, no surprise that when it came time to make New Year’s Resolutions on January 2, the desire to create was a strong influence. The only concrete, firm, this-is-what-I’m-gonna-do-this-year goal I set was this: create one thing a week.   

“There,” I thought to myself— “good job. Firm enough boundaries to be a significant change, realistic enough to accomplish, and vague enough that you can adapt it over the course of the year.” 

A mere two days later, mired in the throes of moving and surrounded by cardboard boxes and one very confused dog, I realized (1) all of my craft supplies had been packed away and (2) I had severely underestimated how much stuff I owned. My calendar for the next 3 days was basically pack, move, unpack, clean.  No time for crafting anywhere in that. 

Okay, so no fun craft this week, but that’s okay, it’s really busy and stressful right now, I can start next week once things have calmed down.

Almost immediately, I had given up on my one resolution. 

For a very routine-oriented person, this week has been a blur. I’ve had high highs and low lows as I realize that things are changing, many for the better. My mind has been on overdrive all week trying to process all of these changes— lifestyle wise, emotionally, and financially.

Today on my lunch, in an effort to better understand my new place and what furniture I needed, I took a piece of paper, a ruler and a pencil into the conference room. I popped in headphones and sat down to sketch out my new room. By the time I finished my coffee, I had created a scale drawing of my bedroom, including the windows, door openings and furniture. It was simple, but did the job-- I definitely could have done it faster on a computer where I also would have had my email open in one tab and Twitter in the other. For that one, single hour, I didn’t think about work, or Instagram, or if my dog will miss me when I move. I ended up with a better understanding of where boxes needed to go and came up with a few decoration ideas. I had a plan where I didn't before, and that felt great. 

As I walked back into my office, I realized that this sense of calm was exactly why I made my resolution in the first place. Almost simultaneously, I realized that I had created something without really intending to. My resolution was still intact, through no fault of my own. 

So, it’s January 4 and my resolution lives. I got lucky this week— for once, current Lauren did future Lauren a favor. This week taught me that moving is stressful but it’s not impossible— I’ve got some incredible friends who’ve offered to help me move this weekend and I know that my dog will have a good, well fed and happily sedentary life with my Dad. 

One down, 51 to go. 

Moving forward, I’m actively carving out time to make one thing each week. They won’t all be as simple as pencil on paper, but that’s the point. I’m trying to find new ways to create and inspire myself this year. 

If you’re in the mood to make something, let’s get down to business.