Dreams

Dreams first, goals next

Do you know what's on my mind for a few years by now? That I used to have dreams, and I also used to write them down. And they became reality. Somehow in these crazy, running years I forgot about my dreams. But I have them, and I will write them out here now, shout them in the silence of this white surface, to let them be free and find their way.

So here they go

My first and foremost dream is to work as an illustrator, in a sunny studio, where everything has its place, and where I can live in my dreamworld. In that studio I would have a printing press, as that's the other big dream of mine. And I'd use it for my personal projects, while experimenting with techniques and tools. In my dream there's also a cat. I used to say that I'm both a cat and a dog person, but I think I'm rather the first. In this dream of mine I don't struggle to make ends meet as an illustrator, so I'm very calm and patient. I choose my projects, and I love all of them. Naïve, I know, but that's what dreams are for. I only have to remember to notice when I'm there. Many years ago I wrote down a dream like this, about Paris. A totally crazy one, that wasn't realistic at all. And a few years after that, while sitting in a mansard above Paris, where I was living at that moment, I realised that it was all written down once before. That was my last big dream. I was daydreaming about it on so many days. So here it is. I was clueless for a while, didn't know where do I want my life to go. But in these past two years I'm getting more and more assured, that I'm an illustrator deep inside. That drawing is my main thing, and if I'm given enough time, I can do whatever I dream about. I also dream about our little family. I dream about a happy childhood (and life) for my kids, and a lot of sun for all of us. I dream about a slow, happy and healthy life - who doesn't? I hope my son's magic wand that asks me sometimes about my dreams, will hear me and help me out. Because I need new dreams soon, these ones are on their way now!

Elise and the girls, or mid-march momentum hunt

Here I am, with a quick post about how things are going with me, and as I promised, a bit more on Elise Blaha. These are mainly notes for myself, but maybe there's something interesting here for you as well.

It's mid-March, and I'm still stuck a little bit in the beginning of the year mode, which is quite annoying. It means I haven't found my momentum yet, and I hate being in a state of waiting for it. There's always an excuse of course, but I'd like to be a little bit more productive in every aspect of my life than I am nowadays.

Elise

When I have this feeling I often turn to Elise, a creator I admire a lot. She is a young mom of two, living in the United States. She seems to have endless energy and momentum, and she inspires me every day. Unfortunately sometimes it doesn't show at all, but she really is inspiring. I couldn't tell you what she does, go and check her instagram. She creates things. All. The. Time. She's writing a book at the moment, but she also has a planner (which I'm trying out right now), and a continuous urge to create things. I love her transparent and energetic personality that shows in everything she does. Yes, we are always reminded that people's life is much more than what they show us on social media, but she really does seem to me like she has it all. And not because she's perfect, but because of her contagious energy.

Yesterday she posted about a few books that have changed her life, so I've decided to jump on them, and start this year's reading with them. Here they are, I hope you also find some good read. I also realised that I'm again spending too much time on consuming stuff online (instagram is my time-waster), so it'll be a good way to ditch the phone. There's of course a very good reason I'm using my phone much more lately, and I really wanted to write about that too...

The Girls

A few weeks ago my secondary school classmates started to organise a twenty-year-reunion. We started to chat more and more, until nine of us have formed a little "girly" chat group, which quickly became my everyday drug. We reconnected so quickly, and we created something very intimate and beautiful in a matter of just a week or two. It's been a very long time since I felt this good in "company", and though in one hand it makes my heart very, very happy, on the other it makes me a little bit sad, because I'm so far away from these beautiful relationships - physically. Once again in my life I realise that keeping an interesting and loving relationship going takes a lot of time and energy if it is based on typing your thoughts out multiple times a day (and reading others' in the meantime). I absolutely love this connection, but I admit that I have to regulate it a little, so I'm not that ad hoc when it comes to the usage of my phone. 

Going Home

And because I told you this story, I also have to mention, that in May I'm going home for the reunion!! This is something I'm waiting for like Christmas when I was a kid. Not only because I will travel alone and I feel like I really need some me time, but because I will meet these beautiful ladies, and because I'll finally be able to go wakeboarding with my brothers again. These four days will be the charger of my year for sure. I think you can see how much I miss home and the relationships with my favourite human beings. There must be a solution for this on the long run, and I'm working on it.

Finding that momentum

Something else that's quite important is that learning from last year's mistakes I'm trying to reorganise my priorities. Though I drew a lot in the beginning of last year, I became really exhausted, even when I gained a lot of energy from doing what I love the most. I have to admit that I don't have enough spare time to... well, spare, and that our relationship, our kids and my health worth lot more than my instant happiness that comes from drawing and creating. I somehow have to find a healthy balance, and I dedicate this year to that quest. I still draw, even if not every day. I've started a second illustration course, mainly for having three hours a week when I can draw uninterruptedly, so the other nights can be spent in bed, sleeping enough. That's a thing that I'd been lacking for quite a few years by now, and I think my body had enough of it. Icelandic winters surely don't help, neither the flu I got two weeks ago, but I feel like I've started to get a little bit back of my real, rested self. 

Exciting event

Though I have to mention, that at school I've been invited to participate in an illustration fair in April, and I will have to have a few sleepless nights until then to be able to put something out there. And it's exciting. I've sent five of my last-year-portraits to print, and waiting for the letterpress cards (it's very, very exciting), and I also plan to finalize my rabbit cut (yes!), my painting, and also create another drawing that's in my head for many months by now. So it's possible that for this short period I will once again turn into a zombie, But it's only for a month. 

Summary

So the takeaway of this whole thing is to be more patient, yet energetic; consume less and create more; sleep enough; focus on people around you and let go of things to be able to do all of these at once. 

Have a great week,

Zita

Minimalism, Zero Waste, Jack Johnson and 96 sketches

Do you know how they connect?

96 Sketches

96 sketches is the project I started last September. I didn't have any rules for it, I only wanted to create one sketch a day for 96 days. I couldn't keep up with the planned pace, so I decided that I will just finish it when I'm able to. A lot of things happened since then, and I was drawing regularly, but this project has stopped for a while. Now I'm reviving it, but this time I created some structure, because it's much easier to follow some kind of a rule, than just let my mind wonder every day. I'm drawing stylized, simple portraits of famous people (dead or alive) who celebrate(d) their birthdays on the given day. I've also decided, that I'm not going to spend more than an hour on it daily, which means I have to compromise on "perfection" and focus on progress instead. Letting things go before they are perfect is my weakness and I'd like to work on it. I'd also like to get better in character design, and drawing these different characters might help with that.

Jack

Today's birthday person is Jack Johnson. I chose him for multiple reasons. The first was because I'm in love with his music for about 10-11 years by now. And I was also planning to write about minimalism and zero waste, two topics he fits in quite well. (96 sketches and blog post illustration in one sit, time is precious you know). So here we go.

In my previous post I wrote about being present, and I mentioned how the clutter in our minds can restrain us from being present. I also said, that by being proactive and taking actions at the earliest point we make room for possible spontaneous things in our lives, because we'll more likely say yes to them if we don't have thousands of things on our "list" already. This isn't only true for mind clutter. Physical clutter around us can slow us down (in the negative sense of the word) in many ways, even if there are times, when it helps creativity. I'm kind of an OCD cleaning freak, or at least I was, before my kids were born. The Monica type. (Perfectionist issues). Fortunately my kids cured the urge of being perfect all the time, but my need for a clean, organized and - well - spacious space is still here, and I don't think it's a bad thing. In the past few years I read a lot about two things, that's very close to my heart, and that supports my feelings about this subject.

Minimalism

The first is minimalism. I was a "micro-hoarder" in my teenage years. I'd collect all the small memories I could, bus tickets with certain (important) dates on them, threads, leaves, chestnuts, cards, photos. Mainly in my diaries, that's why I call it "micro-hoarding". But still, I put a lot of things in small boxes too for just in case I'd need them at some point in the future. When I met the concept of minimalism, I knew it was something I would welcome in my life. I knew the feeling that comes with freshly de-cluttered spaces and I always loved it. It's lightness and calmness. Clear thoughts and focus. Minimalism is to keep it that way. Minimalism for me is to keep the clutter away by not hoarding things, and lift my soul by surrounding myself with minimum amount of stuff I love to look at. I'm far from this, mainly because I have kids, but we're getting there slowly. I'd like them to see that stuff don't equal happiness. I'd like to give them the ability to think about experiences and relationships as the main things that need to be treasured.

Zero Waste

While learning more and more about other people's view on minimalism, I met the term zero waste. It does make a lot of sense to me as well. I always hated the fact that we're throwing away so many things and they go... somewhere. I always needed answers since I was a kid, and learning that we bury our trash under the ground was giving me troubling thoughts. I can see that my son, Aron has the same problem. He's always worried when he sees garbage on the streets or in nature. It's not just something he has learnt. It's coming from his personality. He was collecting trash on the playground at age two and throwing it to the bin.

So as much as for myself, for them as well - I'm trying to reduce our waste. I'm even further from perfect in this than in minimalism, so there's a long way to go. But at least I'm on the path and doing the best I can.

And Jack again

Picture from Jack Johnson's website – Jack Johnson among pieces of garbage found in the ocean

Picture from Jack Johnson's website – Jack Johnson among pieces of garbage found in the ocean

I always knew Jack Johnson (as an active surfer) was aware of environmental problems, but I only found out yesterday, that his tour this year will be a huge supporter of "more than 140 non-profits through his environmental campaign and social action network, All At Once. One of the primary aims of Johnson’s tour is to provide greener alternatives during his shows in order to lessen their impacts on the environment and the cities in which he’s performing." (Quote from here)

I love to hear these kind of things. I love when influencers raise their voice in order to protect nature and raise awareness about environmental issues. It also reminds me to work harder and pay more attention to it. One step at a time. I believe that if we all make small adjustments and pay more attention, it generates the flow around us, and makes others do the same. Not by talk about it, but by doing it. Now please, go and listen to some Jack Johnson while you're sorting your clothes and donating or selling the excess. You'll feel better, I promise. (In a later post I'll expound how, but I hope you'll know by then).

Exercise & Food

Drawing by Zita @ Nünü & Pó

Drawing by Zita @ Nünü & Pó

What do they mean to me? A lot. Together with sleep they help me keeping my sanity.

If you haven't guessed it already, I'm quite an introvert. I love meeting new people, and be around people: whenever my energy store is full and I have a lot to give. Because being around people means double deplete for me. For every minute spent in company of others I need at least four minutes alone to recover. This is a simple thing, but a possible source of misunderstanding and quarrel. Especially when you are a parent, and you have a kid who is hyperactive, and another one, who's fairly social and extroverted. I'm struggling a lot to forgive myself of not being super patient and 100% attentive all the time.

But over the past few years I've learnt a lot, and constantly trying to develop myself. One thing that I've known for a long time is that I love exercise. It wasn't a conscious thing until I started doing kung-fu. There I quickly realised that challenging my body and my mind at the same time makes me hyper-focused, which means my mind is free from everything else for that period of time. And that makes me happy. Very happy. Because my mind is full of things by default. Full of crazy ideas, stories, memories, todos, and stuff. Crazy amount of stuff. It's quite difficult to be focused when you have a mind like that. I learnt to control it more or less over time, but I still need some help every now and then.

Exercise and healthy food are two things that always amaze me. Every time I start exercising and watch what I put in my mouth, I can see the positive effects almost immediately. Then I wonder why I don't do it continuously. Three days ago I bought myself a fitbit tracker. I'm way too excited about it at the moment to give a useful review, but I dare to say this is something that definitely will help me stick to a healthier lifestyle. I will probably be less enthusiastic in a few weeks, but I feel like it gives me a nice little push that I would normally take as offence if it came from a person. So stay tuned, I'll talk about it again in a few weeks.

The other thing that helps a lot when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, is the presence of a supportive partner. It can be anyone, who keeps you motivated and accountable, but if it's your spouse, that puts the whole thing on a new level. With Peter we shifted many times towards our better selves, but never really together. And it's difficult to stay away from that cake (or any other things you want to stay away from) if your loved one is eating it in front of you on a regular basis. This moment we are on the same track, and it feels amazing. Doubles my energy and makes the whole thing more effortless. Try it if you haven't done it already.

So with all these things I feel like I'm back on track with my personal projects, though the sleeping part is still a little bit fragile. Night is the only time of the day when I can make progress and usually I spend more time than planned. But hopefully this will improve once my kids are a little bit older.

Tell me, what do you do for a healthier life? How do you fit your favourite things in your days? What do you say no to?