The End and the Beginning

I am done! Selfie #365 is in the bag!

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It’s taken me a few hours to sort the blog out. It turns out there were 4 posts that I had written as drafts but never posted. I have posted them now, on the appropriate dates. I have also tidied up my Flickr album because some pictures had not been posted at all, and some had been posted twice. There are now exactly 365 selfies, as there are on this blog.

I can’t tell you what a relief it is to complete this challenge. There were times when I wanted to give up but that’s exactly why I started this blog. I knew that if even one person was watching, I would feel obliged to meet my commitment.

As I wrote yesterday, the biggest thing I have learned from this project is that I am the cause of my own unhappiness – and that means only I can make the changes that are needed. And I no longer believe that these are necessarily physical changes (although they may be). Instead, I think the necessary change is a psychological one – possibly a spiritual one.

Above all, I need to focus on making myself happy – or at least, making my life feel meaningful – and to stop hoping other people will do it for me. This first means accepting reality without embellishing on it with unhelpful stories.

(For example, “My art is not currently in any galleries” is a reality. “My art is not currently in any galleries and that is because it sucks and I will never have my art in any galleries” is a story. The first allows for possibilities and suggests possible actions – “Maybe I should visit some local galleries and see which ones might like my work?” – the second shuts everything down, precludes any possibility, and makes me unhappy.)

Taking responsibility for my own state of mind also means that I need to take action rather than waiting for stuff to happen. And so I have decided to replace this project with two new ones, each designed to help me build on this last year and keep moving forward.

The first is a public project, the second is just for me.

Project One – My Pursuit of Happiness

I’ve learned this year that I focus way too much on the negative – as I suspect many of us do. To balance that, I intend to spend some time every day taking a photo of something that made me happy. By year’s end, I will have a visual record of all I have to be thankful for.

I have a long dormant blog that I kept up as I moved back from the US to the UK, and I will use that blog to document my 365 ways to be happy. If you’re interested in following me, you can find it here. I will also post my photos to Instagram, so feel free to follow me there.

Project Two – Advancing my Art Career

I have a more-than-full-time job as well as a house and garden to keep up, a dog, a husband, a cat, friends and family, so I struggle to make time for art. This year my art has fallen by the wayside because the selfie project has taken up any spare time. But now I have 30-90 minutes free every day when, instead of drawing myself and then writing a post, I can work on my art career. This may mean something as simple as a sketch or an update to my website, sometimes it will mean posting to social media, and often it will mean working on new pieces. Whatever it is, I will spend time every day on moving my art career forward. I am not committing to daily posts about this, but I will update my blog and Facebook page more often.

Miscellaneous

  • I will be kinder to myself (I have already started this and it naturally makes me kinder to other people).
  • I will not believe my thoughts.
  • I will accept sadness when it comes, rather than fighting it.

This has been a good year. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for paying attention, commenting, encouraging and genuinely being amazing. I couldn’t have finished without you!

Happy new year – let’s make it a good one!

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21 thoughts on “The End and the Beginning

  1. j2015hall

    Congratulations! Wow…a whole year. AND…your selfies are ART, each piece. They might not be what you want to put in a gallery, but by gosh, each is a piece of art created by you. Many
    I have really admired.

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  2. jrwilsondesign

    Congratulations, Louise! I just watched “Julie and Julia” last night – another woman on a mission (to prepare every dish in Julia Child’s cookbook). You might enjoy it. It was nothing like she expected, but like you she started with a simple goal. You never know what a self-imposed goal will teach you. I have appreciated hearing of your journey, but it wasn’t just the art, it was the honest journaling and insight that went along with it. If you share your journey, you also never know who you will touch and how. Now you know at least this person was touched and appreciated your sharing. I will look forward to seeing your happiness blog (and may even do something like that for myself). We so often see only the moment we are in, and if at that moment our feet our stuck in the mud, we sometimes forget when the sun-dappled water was lapping our sandy toes. Reading back through moments of happiness will help you realize that all moments are just that – moments – and that some are muddy and some are carefree. Happy New Happiness Year!

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  3. Corinne McNamara

    Your persistence and inner growth over this year have been awe-inspiring. Understanding and learning take time; it is hard to see progress, but I think the self-portraits were a great strategy. I’ve learned a lot from your openness and courage –thank you. I wish you peace and happiness in the new year.

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    1. Diane

      I admire your dedication to art and your life, taking stock and working to improve in all areas. Good for you!! And job well done!

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  4. renaissancewoman001

    Bravo!! Bravo!!!! Congratulations on this accomplishment, and I can’t wait to see your new projects! Thank you so much for sharing– you are truly inspirational!!!

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  5. D.R.

    What a feat! I’m so impressed. What a year of learning. I only “tuned in” about halfway thru, but I loved following each day even though I could only rarely comment. You are a brave soul. May you find 2017 bringing you good health, peace, and contentment. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.

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  6. Ingrid

    Congratulations on finishing your project yay! :)) It’s been so interesting and inspiring to follow your process and progress. I wish you a happy and artful new year.

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  7. alteredcolleen

    This so inspired me! I started a similarly project: taking my picture everyday and would sometimes draw or paint myself. I wasn’t able to finish the year so I started again on my birthday. I think the camera captures all the wrinkles and messy hair and it’s a little shocking to be confronted with how you really look! I love your beautiful portraits. I started my project for similar reasons and have made significant discoveries about myself since I started. I want to congratulate you for your dedication! Thanks for the inspiration to keep going!

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  8. Patricia Wafer

    I only just found your blog via Sketchbook Skool and I am so impressed and inspired. It’s and incredible accomplishment and I am thankful for your sharing of it. I have no doubt that your art skills and seeing skills have increased tremendously from this work. I did have to laugh when you said it was hard to look in the mirror in your early 50’s!! You are a kid!! I am 67 and because I am retired finally have the time to eat right and exercise daily I am healthier than I was in much of my 50’s. Two years ago a drunk driver drove onto the sidewalk where I was standing (in the middle of the afternoon!) and hit me breaking both legs and just about killing me. I am still recovering and still have pain to deal with but after years of being too heavy I’ve got my weight down to normal and 18 months ago started swimming almost every day which is the best anti-depressant there is. As long as one is reasonably healthy the 60’s are great but enjoy the 50’s while they last!! I think I look great now but am hard on myself in other ways so I can totally relate to the need to learn to be kinder to myself and I also work on that. Congratulations on a really terrific accomplishment. If you can do that, you can do damn near anything you decide to do!! Thank you so much for sharing this journey. I looked at ALL the selfies and they are wonderful and a couple are really great works of art!!! Keep drawing!!! PS (I am a blog administrator for the local chapter of Urban Sketchers so I included that website)

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    1. Louise Post author

      Thanks Patricia and I’m so sorry to hear about your horrible accident but happy to hear that you are feeling so much better now xx

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  9. Agata

    Louise, I just discovered your blog (via SBS). Your story is so touching and, actually, similar to mine. And we’re almost in the same age! I can so much relate to you!! I’m reading your posts and thinking both of you and myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings! I will follow your new project . Thank you.

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  10. Lynda Secor

    I just saw your blog on Facebook and throughout the whole year I thought u we’re talking about me. How similar your thoughts are to my own. You have shown me that the only one that can make me happy is me. And I whole heartedly thank you. I will be following you now to see where u go next

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