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2015 in Review

Heidi Shenk

2015 in Review.jpg

Last night, I finally had one of those moments where it really sank in that another year had passed. 2015 started out pretty rough and was not by any means my best year. It was another year full of tough change. Major lifestyle changes were made, relationships with people and friends changed, and many business adjustments were made. In addition, it's been a tough year for Baltimore, which has really made me do a lot of thinking on a larger scale.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, my paternal grandmother ended her battle with dementia and passed away. While I was not very close to her and did not feel an overwhelming sense of grief as I had when my maternal grandfather had passed, it felt like another reminder that this was a year of loss.

Thinking back on my year, I see some positive light among the harder moments, but I am definitely looking forward to a fresh start. And perhaps in time, I'll write about the tough aspects to get it out my system for the new year. But for now, I thought I'd look back on some of my goals for 2015 and see how those evolved throughout the year.

1 // Continue learning new things. I would call this a success. I learned how to be resourceful in order to make it through the slow summer season in my business. I learned how to rebrand and expand my business, realizing that it is always a work in progress. I learned new life lessons about friendships and relationships. I learned how to run a printing press and set up my own (I still need to write about this!!). I learned how to make new things and take time for myself. And I hope that in 2016 I'll continue to be a learner.

2 // Get out of the house a least once a week. Yet again, a success! Since my studio is in my house, my hope was to get out of the house once a week to do something fun so I don't feel so confined. Andrew and I were mostly successful with our weekly Wednesday happy hours, only missing a few weeks here and there when life got extra busy. However, by consciously deciding that I needed to get out of my house, I spent several days a week doing various fun activities-- hiking, going to yoga class, grabbing coffee and working at the coffee shop, or going to a park to do some reading and sketching. And it worked! I felt less frustrated about being in my house all day. I'll continue to intentionally seek time like this in 2016.

3 // Make more local art connections. I would call this a partial success. Or maybe a work in progress. I have definitely connected with a few other artists in the area, which is exciting. However, I still feel like I am on the outskirts. I tried to start a monthly gathering with other artists and failed. However, I've gained a few new connections in other realms. Still making baby steps here, but I guess things like this just take time.

4 // Find community within my personal life. This is also a baby steps kind of thing. On one hand, we had several get togethers in our home which helped us feel like we were closer to being a part of a larger community. On the other hand, we felt that we somewhat lost some major friendships due to changes in our lives. Those losses have been incredibly hard since they were sort of unspoken, immediate, and a product of natural life changes-- something that we ultimately had no control over. While Andrew has been able to adjust to these more easily since he still has a solid community through work, it has felt isolating to me and much more difficult to deal with. On the other hand, these changes have brought other longtime friendships into the spotlight as we feel we've been able to identify who the most important people are in our lives and personal community.

5 // Be more organized and follow through. This was mostly a success, and it will be something that I continue to focus on. I was better with following through on concepts and ideas for my business. I followed through on personal goals as well. However, I find that sometimes I easily give up after a first attempt if things don't go as planned. So, there is still work to be done. As for organization, I feel as though I've already laid the groundwork and put the tools in place to try to continue on that path.

6 // Find affordable studio space of my own. This definitely didn't happen. It is nearly impossible to find affordable studio space in Baltimore that is nice enough for my purposes. There are plenty of affordable raw spaces, but for someone that needs a finished space in which they can do the clean things (product photography, computer use, etc.) along with the dirty (mixing ink, using a printing press, etc.) it's just not feasible for my current budget. I actually stopped actively looking for spaces because my frustration would spiral into wanting to leave Baltimore to find a cheaper city, which opened another huge can of worms. I'm fairly content with my studio space as it is now, even if I find myself stepping over boxes and feeling cramped from time to time. I've realized that this is just something that I need to put on the back burner for now.

7 // Send more snail mail. Total FAIL. I need to sit down and consciously make time for this. I have a mental list of people that I need to send cards to, but I always think of it at the most inopportune time. It's time I start writing this list down and actually doing it. And as always, if you'd like to help me jumpstart this goal, you can always send me some snail mail to the following address:

Heidi Shenk
PO Box 12396
Baltimore, MD 21281

And there you have it, friends! That is 2015 in review. How did you make out on your 2015 goals? Are you happy, like me, that this year is over? What do you hope to improve upon for 2016?

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