The first decade of this century has been filled with challenges – some of my own creation, others external – and the last couple of years have been really focused on figuring out what I’m doing wrong and how to correct it. But that’s not to say that the decade that saw myself and my friends complete and debut a feature-length film, complete my B.A. at Trent, start and run the MoHo Music Revue, explore my arts admin side via the Peterborough Arts Umbrella, and also working up through the ranks at the Peterborough Folk Festival to become Artistic/Executive Director hasn’t seen any triumphs; I’ve worked hard, had loads of luck, and succeeded in areas I never would have dreamt of prior to 2000. If the 90s for me were all about theatre, the aughts were mostly about music, including in these last couple of years finding my voice as a singer and learning to play ukulele (both very much works in progress as we step into the next decade).
Until recently, I’ve never been one for making resolutions, but I like a fresh start as much as the next person, and I’ve found that, as Emerson says, the world makes a path for the man who knows where he is going. So here are my goals for 2010.
Move out of Peterborough
Anyone who knows me well knows I’ve been in this city for too long; I would probably be happier some place where I neither cared nor had seen so much. We’ve had good times, for sure: from the PCVS Integrated Arts Program, Cavan Blazers, Emergency 3, the Theatre Guild and The Tempest to the MoHo, the PAU, and the PFF, I’ve had nearly twenty years or arts-related triumphs and tribulations. I’m looking for a fresh slate, something less comfortable and familiar, more challenging.
Part and parcel of the desire for challenge is the desire to expand and develop my abilities; there are so many things I want to learn, including conversational French, banjo, Bhangra dance, and CSS. I want to hone my Photoshop, video editing, ukulele, singing and acting skills. I’m even thinking about going back to improv (pretty much the only facet of theatre I disliked).
No, I won’t work for free on a project I have nothing personally invested in; no, I won’t waste time flipping channels and watching programs I’m not interested in; no, I won’t allow other people’s issues to harsh my mellow; no, I won’t allow other priorities to co-opt my projects; no, I won’t waste time with toxic people; no, I won’t volunteer for a major role in anything except my own life; no, I won’t be content with what other people think I should be happy with.
We’re living in a time of large, sweeping changes to things we think of as institutions, and it can be really overwhelming and intimidating. I want to remember that whatever happens, I am best prepared if I ride change instead of fighting it. We’re standing in the middle of brand new opportunities, things we’ve never seen before, and the potential for anyone with a creative mind to have great success.
Surround myself with people whom I admire
I’m actually pretty good at this already, but it bears repeating; the people in my life whom I love and admire are generally the people who most support my own goals and inspire me to reach further than I think I’m able.
I know, we artists are supposed to be like, all about the art, man, and it’s wrong to love money, because money is the root of all evil. But I get the impression a lot of that is bunk; I don’t have to love money more than I love, say, my ethics, but a little love for money could really change my life in positive ways.
It was the slogan in Brownies, and it’s my slogan now; be ready, be on your toes, expect the best. I know all that think-positive stuff sounds like silliness (I’ve got an article brewing about that, too), but I’ve missed opportunities that might have lead to incredible things because I wasn’t ready to move at the moment. To be balanced and prepared is to be ready for opportunity, whenever it comes.
Have Regrets/Fail/Be less safe
I know that one of my favourite petite Frenchwoman sang non, je ne regrette rein, but for me, I think regret is inevitable and failure is a symptom of trying. Neither of these are bad things, and if I put a lot of energy into trying to make sure I never fail and have no regrets, building a bubble of safety around my life, that’s energy I could be using to actually pursue my goals. And I’m not talking about stupid stuff, like driving drunk or having loads of unprotected sex with strangers; I’m talking about taking artistic and personal risks, and finding ways to pursue my dreams even when I’m not entirely comfortable.
I’ll probably come up with more, but right now I’ve got to dash and catch a train; Happy New Year to you all!