The new year bears down with a slow creeping insistence. It moves closer, one day at a time, the same pace as always, but closer such that you can feel the wind from the void of 2015 just beyond the bend.
I met a talented woodworker in Nashville but a few weeks ago, and in the way that full hearted artistry does, I've been inspired. Everyday there's a new photo in my Instagram feed of a spoon he carved that day. We're but 5 spoons from the end of his project. I wonder if the time passes the same for him now as it did in the first five. (How much of mastery is of yourself, not your craft?)
I've been thinking about year long projects for a while now. What would I dedicate a year to studying? Julia Childs dedicated six months to learning French cooking (which became a lifetime). A Nashville carver made spoons. An artist and dear colleague at Etsy drew cats.
It's not a resolution. It's a project. I've had much success in the past by throwing myself into new things. The 5 day a week veganism. Portuguese. 750 words of writing a day, for a month (I made it 40 days straight before quitting, cold turkey one hungover morning in July.) Taking singing lessons.
But what to dedicate myself to? There are many things that I'm interested in getting better at, or exploring more deeply. Picking just one and sticking to it for a year is daunting.
Commitment is a hard problem.
I've already narrowed the list of options a bit. I'd like it to be an output project, such that by the end of the day I have something that didn't exist at the beginning of that day. That leaves out any "consumption" projects - read an article a day, listen to a lesson in French a day, eat an apple a day... et cetera.
It also needs to be tractable. Something that no matter where I find myself in 2015, I can do this thing. Nothing that requires an inordinate amount of equipment or tools. If need be, Id be willing to take a break during a trip (backpacking, rafting). It needs to be doable within the time frame of a single day. Repeatable, but with room for improvisation.
Current ideas include:
- sew a pocket a day
- bread making
- short story writing
- a photo of the sunrise or sunset
- a problem from SICP
- a new knitting stitch