Welcome 2020!


So. What big plans do I have for this year? I have a few ideas. First of all, I really want to focus my creative energy on photography. Lately I’ve been realizing that photography was my first love. I have loved it from the moment someone put a 110 camera in my hand at age 10 and I’ve never stopped. So to jump start my focus I have decided to do a project in which I use one camera each week. In mid-December I opened my camera closet and remembered I have all of these beautiful old cameras and that I should use them! So I am going to do that. I am going to share this project on my photography blog at monismithphoto.com if you are interested in following along.

I am going to spend more time with the people that I love. Around Thanksgiving this past year I felt sad that I wasn’t going home to visit famly, and then I told myself, “well, you know you have to work the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.” Then I talk back to myself saying, “When I am on my deathbed am I going to think back fondly on all of those days I had to work? God no. I am going to think about the good times I had with friends and family.” And, in fact, as I was looking at my 1 Second Everyday video for 2019 I was delighted to be reminded of the fun times I had with my friends and family in the past year.

I have some health goals, kind of I guess. I would love to lose weight, but I don’t want to be obsessed with it. I really just want to feel good. So this month I’m doing a reset. I’m participating in Dry January. I’m not going to eat any processed white grains like bread and pasta. And no sugar. Aside from not drinking, this shouldn’t be too difficult because it’s how I usually eat when I’m not eating like crap (like I’ve been doing). And I’m honestly looking forward to how good I will feel when I’m not drinking. Alcohol generally makes me depressed, so it will be nice to have a break from that for a month, maybe longer.

So that’s that! I hope you all have a fantastic year personally to counterbalance the dumpster fire that will be the world stage. We are all in this together!

Let go of that shit


My mantra for last year was Roll With The Punches, so I was thinking, if I were to have a mantra for this year what would it be? I have been doing a lot of letting go lately and it feels so good. I think this, naturally, is my mantra for this year.

I started a new habit the last week of December. I am going to get rid of at least 1 thing every day. So far I’ve taken 3 bags of stuff I don’t need to Goodwill and I know I won’t miss it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I need and what I don’t need and why do I have so much stuff? And what prompts me to buy the stuff I do have? I have decided that I want to be surrounded by things that I truly love, not the things that I feel beholden to. I will buy something and because I bought it I will feel like I have to use it because I paid money for it. I hate wasting money to the point where I will just keep something around because I spent money on it, even though I don’t use it and it doesn’t suit my needs.

For example, last May I was out shopping, aimlessly, and a 5 year, 1 line a day diary caught my eye. And I bought it without giving it much thought except, “ooh shiny!”. I’ve been using it everyday since, writing down a few lines about my day. It’s a really nice idea, actually. Each year I will see what I did on that day and can reflect on it. However, I already have this kind of diary electronically, and I’ve already been using it for a couple of years. I realized one day that writing in this journal everyday felt like a chore, and it was taking time away from doing other things that I might rather be doing. And also, every time I looked at it I was reminded of my complete thoughtlessness when I purchased it, and I felt some guilt. So using this journal, great idea as that is, was not making me happy. So I decided to just throw the thing away. You know what? It felt really good to do that.

“Let go of that shit.”

Let’s see where this leads me. 🙂

Into the Universe
Into the Universe by
Yau Hoong Tang

New Year, New Me


I’ve been thinking about all of the things I want to do for myself, to better myself, in the new year. I know this is a cliche, but I kind of love the New Year for this reason. I love how it is a do over. It’s a way to wipe the slate clean and start over.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to do that. One of the things I want to do next year is stop buying stupid shit. And to stop using my credit cards. I really buy a lot of stuff that I don’t need. I bought a lot of art supplies last year I haven’t used. Expensive stuff too. And it turns out my favorite art supply is the humble ballpoint pen that I can get pretty much for free anywhere. I buy a lot of clothes. I don’t need anymore clothes. I have all of the clothes I need. Or books! Oh god I so do not need any more books. I have got to stop checking the Friend’s Of the Library bookstore every time I walk by. I have to read through all of the books I have purchased.

I kind of am seeing lately that my desire to buy stuff is a kind of addiction. It’s a way of making myself feel better. Buying things turns on something in my brain that makes me happy. But then I just feel bad for spending the money because that is money that could be saved for something much better than a stupid something that I don’t really need.

Which brings me to the other things I want to do. Read for an hour everyday. I probably won’t be able to do this everyday, but I can shoot for this and it’s not as hard as it sounds because I tend to read in 20 minute increments throughout the day. 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at lunch, 20 minutes in the evening. Boom, I’m done. Maybe I will actually read through all of my books!

I also want to meditate for at least 20 minutes every day when I can, or at least 10 minutes everyday. Yoga everyday. Aerobic exercise everyday. And I mean work up a good sweat exercise. I’ve noticed that a good aerobic workout helps my mental health profoundly. I’ve already pretty much been doing this so that’s good. Keep doing it!

I want to stop drinking except for social occasions. Drinking makes me depressed. I stopped for about 2 weeks a month ago and I felt so, so  much better. I actually woke up happy for the first time in my adult life. Alcohol is a depressant and I struggle with depression therefore, I just don’t think I can drink it casually as much as I do if I want to be a happy person.

Stop eating sugar. again. This seems to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I keep jumping right back on the bus with this. So I am going to be kind to myself because I will probably fail but I need to keep trying because it is important for my health.

Lose 10 pounds. I just need to fucking be disciplined about this. I know what I need to do. I just fucking need to do it already.

Draw everyday. I like how drawing makes me feel. I miss it when I don’t do it. This is kind of silly, but I bought a Hobonachi Planner and am going to use it for this purpose. I would  like to develop my skills with the ballpoint pen.

This all seems like kind of a lot, and it kind of is. Some of it is stuff I’ve been working on already. So we’ll see. It’s a work in progress. I am a work in progress. 🙂

2017 plan: G.R.A.P.E.S. 


Yesterday I woke up raring to take on 2017 with a vengeance. I had my list of all of the things I was going to do to turn my life around and feeling ready to take on the world. I got up and started going about my day. It didn’t take long before my old pal Depression started to creep in. It started snowing and  I tried to just roll with the punches but as the snow started to come down and blanket the world in 50 shades of white I couldn’t fight the feelings of disappointment and failure that bubbled up to the surface. I had plans to run 5 miles, dammit! By 11:00 yesterday morning  I found myself crying on my husband’s shoulder for god-knows what reason. I couldn’t tell you what was really even wrong with me. That’s when I realized that nothing had changed. I woke up and it was a new day but I still had the same problems. The same brain chemistry.

I realized I was depressed when I started toying with the idea that I should take a break from social media. This for me is a big red flag. I isolate myself when I’m depressed, which is the worst thing I can do. As soon as I figured all of this out I realized that I needed to change my approach. I decided to scrap the long list of things  to do to  and focus, instead, on what I have been doing for a couple of months. Something that I learned from going to therapy. I will share it with you:


G: be Gentle with yourself. Remember to practice self compassion!

R: Relaxation. Try to practice 5-10 minutes of relaxation every day (mindfulness, meditation, hot bath, etc)

A: Accomplishments. At the end of the day list two accomplishments, remember there is no such thing as an accomplishment too small!

P: Pleasure. Do something you enjoy everyday: watch the sunset, favorite movie, spend time with a loved one, do a craft.

E: Exercise. Try to get in a few minutes of exercise daily. Exercise the body and brain!

S: Socialize. Do not isolate. Reach out to a friend or a loved one.

I got all kinds of great tools when I was seeing the therapist, but GRAPES was the thing that helped me the most because it is easy to remember and there is always something there to work on. I love it. So this is my plan for 2017. If I manage to do anything else that will be icing on the cake, but I am think I’m ditching the long to-do list.




On New Year Resolutions and brushing my teeth


So today is the day where I am supposed to look ahead and talk about the things I want for the upcoming year. And I am tempted to do this because I have a lot of things that I want to strive for. If I am not anything else, I am a serial striver. I like to have things (ok, let’s call them goals) to work toward.

But this morning I had a kind of epiphany. I was sitting here, feeling bad from the drinking and the sugar overdose from last night as I ate a piece of cake and piece of pizza for breakfast. As I noticed the layer of plaque on my teeth I started to beat myself up a little bit for not brushing my teeth before I went to bed. I thought about how much that one small act, brushing my teeth before going to bed, affects me and my self worth. It’s kind of weird actually, how one small thing can affect me in such a big way. Last weekend I woke up in the middle of the night and layed in bed, worried about a number of things (as one does). I realized, as I was laying there, that I hadn’t brushed my teeth the night before (I fell asleep on the couch and was too lazy and tired to take that extra step). I decided to get up and brush my teeth. When I went back to bed I immediately felt more relaxed and I fell back asleep pretty quickly. I am not sure what this was all about but I realize that this small thing really makes a big difference in my well being.

So what if, instead of having these huge lofty resolutions (lose 15 pounds, eat healthier, go to the gym, etc), what if my one resolution this year is to brush my teeth every night before I go to bed?

I then thought about my meditation practice and my “goal” of meditating everyday for 10 minutes. This is a resolution but in my mind I see it as “lofty.” But what if meditating everyday is not seen as lofty and is seen as a more mundane activity, like brushing my teeth? It seems like meditation should be as mundane as brushing my teeth. It should be that simple. Maybe this year I will look at it that way.

So anyway, this is what I am looking at as i go into the next year. I like Jim Grey‘s (from Down The Road) way of looking at the new year too and I am going to think about the three themes he is going to focus on.

Happy New Year, dear readers! Best wishes for 2016!