Monday Motion: Broccoli for 2014

January 6, 2014

Dear 2014,

First of all, you're cold. I actually canceled rehearsal today, and most of the Twin Cities canceled school. It's supposed to reach -22 (plus the windchill business), so Ben and I filled gas tanks and our fridge. WE ARE WINTER WARRIORS, and feeling a little Minnesota proud. On the other hand: I'm remembering that it's January 6, and that the next few months could feel long (or perfect for a winter project), so that's all humbling. 

Secondly: you came with a long list of ambitious plans. While I'm not exactly a resolution kind of gal, I do get all dreamy and shit. It's strange to feel so full of brand new hope, and yet, like a bear slowing down to go into hibernation. This is exactly the difficulty of living in Minnesota in January.

So I am thinking of broccoli. This is what my late friend and mentor John Munger called the opening exercises for his modern dance classes. You know: the jumps and turns at the barre that pretty much suck, because they're hard, and don't involve the giddy leaping across the floor that we'd much rather be doing. Broccoli isn't fun, but it does build progress, and/or character. 

For some, January is a month of getting dreamy, but I think that for most of us, it's a month of broccoli. In my dance project world, we're repeating combinations until they become second nature, moving towards the point where we'll add context and character and intention-- the point where the piece will officially be fun. In my business life, I'm backing up hard drives, compiling mailing lists, and getting ready to update our website. This isn't inspiring-- it's mostly daunting. There's nothing creative about updating my linkedin page (something I'm still not sold on to begin with), but I will do it. My local YWCA reminds me that a lot of people are starting gym routines, and I've had clients remind me that they're jumping into business plans. My dear friend is applying for graduate school. Broccoli, broccoli, broccoli...

(Never mind the poor vegetable, which I really like.)

I've been thinking of ways to make the broccoli more bearable, because, we all know that it will continue to exist. I've been thinking of the following:
  • Making a broccoli list: It's nice to have an ongoing list of dirty work, perfect to dive into during a bit of free time. Here's my current broccoli list:
                       --Backing up my computer.
                       --Organizing photos/work samples.
                       --Updating part of my website.
                       --Start/update my mailing list.
                       --Organizing tax information (check out the tax organizers over here).
                       --Archiving/organizing emails.
                       --Updating my mnartists page, Minnesota Playlist page, or linkedIn page. Updating my                             facebook or twitter information.
                        --Emailing potential collaborators.
                        --Scoping out grant opportunities.
                        --Writing a statement of purpose.
                        --Scoping out performance opportunities.
                        --Looking over accounting. 
  • Broccoli in small doses: As I look over this list, I feel a little queasy. IT ALL LOOKS SO BORING/AWFUL. The thing to remember (aka, the point of this post) is that broccoli is way worse in my head than it is in action. When I ACT, it's possible to get a lot done in 20 minutes. When I only think about it, there's mostly a lot of anxiety. Being majorly ambitious is completing an hour and a half of broccoli. Attempting 8 hours of broccoli kills all ambition for at least a month. 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week is plenty for the challenging things. (I'm going to be nice to myself here.)
  • Rewards: Adding onto the above: I'm not above broccoli with wine, or an episode of serial television. Whatever it takes...
  • Do It, or Don't Do It: To repeat myself: I've decided that the worst thing in the world (#FirstWorldWoes) is thinking about broccoli, rather than doing in. Either do it, or don't do it (and do something more fun).
  • A broccoli buddy: Sometimes I need an accountability buddy to figure out where to throw my energy, or give me some motivation. 
I will be so bold as to suggest that others, much like me, feel daunted by the promise of a new year. But January feels like an unfortunate (and cold) time to get burned out and let down. Also: it's one month, and slow and steady wins the race. Instead of spending hours on practical matters, I'm going to sit in the sauna at the gym, and drink some tea, and read January's Hello, Month. I'll complete 20 minutes of broccoli, and focus the rest of my energy on cooking enough food to stay warm, and on shoveling my sidewalk. These are honorable tasks.

Dear 2014-- I'm pumped. Thanks for sending the cold to keep us slow and chill (ha) and reasonable in our optimism.

Gratefully,

Laura

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