2015 in Review, and What 2016 Holds
2015 was incredible.
I can’t believe how much growth I experienced in one short year. I tried so many new things. My art took a completely new direction. I faced so many fears and did a ton of things I never thought I’d do. I spent a lot of amazing time with family and friends, I made giant strides on the most massive creative project of my life, and I got to know myself on a deeper level than ever before.
And best of all, 2015 was fun.
I truly hope that 2015 held all kinds of wonders and treasures for you in every area of your life, and I want you to know that no matter what happened last year, even it 2015 totally sucked, I think you’re amazing, and that wherever you are now is exactly where you need to be to continue this amazing journey of growth and learning.
So…I love looking at other people’s experiences at the end of the year. I love reading blog posts about it, or looking at everyone’s Instagram “top nines” or Facebook’s Year in Review thingys (I’m not sure if they’re really called that, but you know what I mean.)
I wanted to do a quick roundup of my year and then let you in on some of my goals for 2016, then I’d love to hear about yours! (Buckle up, this is a LONG post!)
McKella’s 2015 Review
In March, I danced it up at the Holi Festival in Spanish Fork, Utah with my sister and BFF. This is a traditional Hindu festival to welcome the arrival of spring and involved beautiful music and covering yourself and everyone around you with colored cornstarch! I love doing this every year because it’s a beautiful way to welcome spring, and as someone with a textbook case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, spring is a big freakin’ deal to me. And come on, throwing colors around is FUN, and I always come home with lots of ideas for paintings (as well as stained armpits, ears, and purple boogers for DAYS)
One of my pieces, Galaxies Inside 1, was features in the Sow’s Ear Poetry Review! This is a lovely, independent poetry journal and I was honored to be a part of it!
I learned that I’m the best dog sitter ever:
My art took a new direction! Lately, I’ve been interested in the way patterns in the human body echo patterns in natures, like how veins, brain synapses, and the bronchi in our lungs. I created these two pieces, and more are on the way!
And this one:
I also had the honor of showing these two paintings in Pandemonium Gallery in my hometown, Ogden, Utah! This is one of my favorite galleries ever, and the owner, Jane, is the BEST. If you’re ever in Ogden, most definitely check it out! (PS: Follow Pandemonium on Instagram as well!)
In October, I did my first-ever webinar and made it into a free audio! This audio workshop is all about creative blocks and how we can overcome them. I talk about all kinds of internal and external blocks that keep us from creating, and I lay out the first step to overcoming any kind of block. You can sign up to receive the free audio below!
I spent lots of time hiking in the beautiful mountains around my home. I want to do more of this in 2016!
I visited my brother in Georgia with my parents and fell in love with the historic district of Columbus. I could walk by the Chattahoochee River all day!
I started working out. Like, really working out. Not just long walks and the occasional light weight session. I started playing around with Beachbody programs like 21 Day Fix and PiYo, which I NEVER thought I would do (because I usually look like this when I’m done), but I’ve gotten so much stronger, more flexible, and I can actually see my abs a little bit now! I can do about TWO pushups on my toes now!!! The best part is, working out and seeing the strength in my body has helped me see the strength in my mind. I’ve learned that I’m actually a strong person, and working out like a maniac has given me the strength to overcome so many fears.
I went on an amazing trip with my husband and best friends to Universal Studios Orlando and Disneyworld where I got to geek out over Harry Potter stuff for a week! Best trip ever with best friends ever.
Okay, one more:
And on that trip, I got to meet my internet friend Billie! We’ve been friends online for a few years, but we’d never met in person until then. We spent the day at EPCOT together and had a simply smashing time.
One of my favorite parts of 2015: I got to spend lots of time with my favorite Sam. This is my favorite picture of us ever, having fun on a quick weekend trip to Vegas. Every year with him is even better than the last.
Other stuff that I didn’t manage to photograph:
I finished the first draft of my novel rewrite! In other words, I wrote a NOVEL! This is so huge. I started this book in college back in 2009, and I’ve been blocked on it for years! This spring, a college friend of mine published her amazing novel (grab it here!) and I thought “Hey, actual people do this! People I know write books! I can do this too!” So I went home, dusted off my notes and unfinished draft, and I powered through that sucker.
I cleaned out and rearranged my studio. There’s a lot more space up here and I can actually take yoga breaks without knocking stuff over!
We made some huge financial strides this year. We paid off a car and we’re close to paying off another, and I worked hard on overcoming some of my money blocks that prevent me from earning or dealing with money. I’m becoming an adult!
I grew as a person. This really isn’t something I can photograph, but I feel so much more level-headed than I did a year ago. I’m better at dealing with conflict, standing up for myself, saying “no”, and protecting my boundaries. I let myself rest when I need to rest and work when I need to work. I’ve cleared away a TON of creative blocks and I’m starting to help others do the same.
What an amazing year!
So what’s going to happen in 2016?
Well, who really knows?
But here are some of my big goals for the year:
- Edit my novel and look for an agent. I’d love to try the traditional publishing route, but if that doesn’t work out, I have no problem with self-publishing as long as I’m satisfied with my work. I want this baby to be out in the world! I have lots of thoughts about traditional publishing vs self-publishing, but that’s another topic for another post.
- Make 20 new paintings. This is code for “make a whole lot of art”, because I need something to shoot for, right? I’ve been playing with lots of other mediums lately, so it’s okay if all my finished pieces are paintings per se, but this is the number I’m shooting for, because how many did I make last year? 3 or 4. Not bad, but I can do better.
- Keep working out and see what my body can do! I’ll be honest, I’ve been thin, I’ve been heavy, but I’ve never been fit. I’ve never considered myself strong or athletic, and while it’s hard to put a number on this goal, I do want to be able to call myself “fit”. I want to see some muscle, feel some muscle when I move. I’m excited to see where this one goes!
- Rest when I need to. I got better at this towards the end of 2015, but there’s definitely room for improvement, and that probably involves saying “no” more often, recognizing when I’m burning out and not being shy about taking the time I need to recharge. If I need to have a whole Saturday in bed with a book, I’m going to go for it.
- Have an artist date every week. I’m not talking a half-day gallery hopping excursion (thought I’d like to have a few of those as well), I just want at least an hour or so every week to sip Earl Grey and look through some art books or my art boards on Pinterest and get ideas, doodle what comes up for me. I definitely didn’t do enough of this last year.
I have more goals, but those are the ones I feel like sharing for now.
I hope you have an incredible 2016, friends. May your year be full of love, growth, and creativity!