How many times this January have you heard the saying, "New Year, new you!"? Between talk show hosts, life coaches on social media, your uncle who wants to lose 10 pounds, I'm guessing you're familiar. Perhaps you've even had the thought yourself. Well guess what? I'm ignoring all that nonsense and doing something different this year, and I hope you'll join me.
New Year, more you. Not new and improved, not completely void of your bad habits and short-falls. I want you to look inward and ask yourself what part of you hasn't been nurtured enough recently. What do you love doing that you don't do often enough? Maybe you aren't giving yourself the attention you deserve and that is the bad habit that you need to ditch.
A new year shouldn't mean forcing yourself to do things that bring you no joy. I'm not saying that self improvement is bad, of course I'm all about adopting a healthier lifestyle, because after all, when we feel good we're happier and being happy is the goal. BUT, if you are confusing happiness with materialism or external approval, you might be surprised to find that getting a higher paying job or losing that extra baby weight actually doesn't help you feel happier. Why? Because those things are surface level, they have nothing to do with you who are as a person.
I like to think back to when I was a kid. Go ahead, picture ten year old you. What was it that you loved to do when you got home from school? (After having a snack, obvs.) Did you ditch your backpack and jump on your bike? Did you pick up Harry Potter and read straight through until dinner time? Maybe you climbed trees and made mudpies. Maybe you baked actual pies with your mom or dad. Can you get back to that place before the rat race took over? Sure, we all have responsibilities that we can't ignore, but are you spending your YOU time, in a way that makes you happy?
Maybe as an adult you enjoy a cup of coffee in your recliner with a crossword puzzle, or you laugh so much your stomach hurts when you play videogames with your kids. Do you love learning new songs on the guitar? Or maybe writing poetry or knitting? Have you always wanted to build a massive snow fort? Who cares that you're 45 years old, go do it. Have fun. Laugh. Create. Make time for it. Don't push it off until tomorrow, or next week, or next year. I know what you're thinking, 'I don't have time.' Well guess what, all we have is time. You only have one life and you deserve to enjoy it.
For me, and Xanne Fran Studios, that means doing things differently this year. As you probably already know, Xanne Fran is a one-woman show, and for roughly 9 years I've been handmaking every single piece of jewelry I sell. I think it goes without saying that this is a ton of work, and recently I've been losing sight of that spark of joy that was the original inspiration for this business. Don't get me wrong, making beautiful things for my wonderful customers is still fulfilling, but I'm beginning to miss the other aspects of my creativity that really make me who I am.
For example, I've been doing this for almost a decade and I still don't know what to say when someone asks me what I do for a living. Am I a jeweler? Am I an designer? Am I a business owner? Technically I am all of those things, but in my heart I'm an artist. I'm a right-brained, eccentric creative with a million ideas in my head at all times. I close my eyes at night and dream of sculptures I want to create, novels I want to start, stories I want to tell through my art and writing and every facet in between. Ten year old me is still in there.
At the end of the day, I'm not just a business owner; my happiness is reliant on all of the other pieces of me also being present. That's why this year, you're going to see more of me. More of my doodles, more of my experiments, more of my goofy personality. More of me doing what makes me happy, even if it goes against the mainstream business model for growth.
What does that mean for Xanne Fran? Don't fret, I'm not going anywhere, and neither is the jewelry. BUT, you will get to see other talents from me that you might not have seen before. For some time now I have been working on outfitting a space for large scale sculpture and ceramics. It's going to take some time to get back to sculpting 200lb bronzes, so you'll have to be patient for that, but for this year you can expect to see lots of small and medium scale pieces being brought to life! What that means for my customers? You guys will get first dibs on these super limited edition pieces, and my VIPS (a new program also rolling out this year) will even get freebies along with their orders. I'm talkin' mini ceramics, wall art, tiny sculptures.. and who knows what else I might get into! I mean, can you name a single jewelry brand that sends ORIGINAL artwork as gifts with their orders? I didn't think so. *wink*
Anywho, I'm doing me this year and I think that you should do you. Learn that second language so you can go to Italy and order pasta like a boss. Set up an easel in your spare bedroom and bust out those oil paints. Buy a new pair of birdwatching binoculars and go sit in the woods every Sunday. Create a cartoon character based on yourself and make silly comics for your own enjoyment (I might be talking about myself here).
Whatever that thing is that you've been putting off because you don't think it's worth your time- it is worth it. If it brings you inner peace, if it calms your mind and brings you fulfillment, if it's FUN, it's worth it. Nurture the shit out of your inner child. Tune out the noise and pressure and chaos of modern life. Be yourself this year.