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The Changes of 2022-- "Extending" was the goal. Did I make it?

Looking back on 2022... What a mixed bag– or rather, it’s ending that way?

Flashy start:

2022 found me in the pool, loving a daily swim. My word of 2022– extend– was chosen with stroke basics in mind. I’d extend each stroke, forward and back. But I also chose it as a focus word related to my art so, when I’d feel uncomfortable stretching into something new, I’d look up at my bulletin board and see it: extend. And so, both in the pool and with my art, I did.

Until I didn’t. By late summer, my eyes had started to physically hurt. Walking, my peripheral sight was more exciting than it should have been (what are those little guys, scattering and scurrying around at times?) and light sensitivity had me seeing trails and halos and doubles, all new views to me!

So by October, Univ of Iowa Hospital docs explained *this* is to be my new normal. An impinged nerve, mid-brain, has resulted in left eye palsy. Basically, when my eyes move, they don’t stay in sync. (But lemme tell you, as needed, I can close one eye like a badass pirate and everything comes back into focus!)

But, joking aside, I miss easy reading. I’ve found a couple work-arounds but my eyes tire. New normal. I will need to extend some patience and grace surrounding this change and be grateful for what I do have: clear vision so long as my eyes are still.

But the physical nosedive was only part of what “extend” was about. Fortunately, I fared better with extending myself and my artwork into:

  1. July– The Members Show at the Octagon

  2. August &on– Our book club’s push into a color workshop to learn more about color mixing and effective uses for color combinations.

  3. August &on– North River Arts Council, an “extend” because, for an introvert, it’s verrrrrry people-y!

  4. September– Also people-y: selling my artwork in person at my first art festival.

  5. October– Hanging & exhibiting work at a local shop

  6. November– Consigning 25+ pieces for sale in the Octagon’s artists’ shop

  7. December– Building a website for my art and as a home for my blog.

All of these extensions took energy, focus, and some bravery.

This list of “art extensions” in 2022 surges my gratitude for the life I have, and for Al’s generous spirit of support. I feel so fortunate that I am able to be home. Al makes that an easy possibility and, since he primarily works from his home office, seems to enjoy our daily water cooler chats where we gossip about our coworker (Thomas the cat). I realize how lucky I am to have a spouse who is excited about my artwork and also encourages my growth.

Leaving the classroom in November 2019 is what sparked diving into art and feeling invigorated with a more creative life. For that, I can be grateful to my mid-brain cyst. While I’d prefer him to quit acting up– blocking drainage ducts & smashing optic nerves– so much change in my life has come from his recent antics. I’ve always appreciated a little sass, a refusal to be anyone’s doormat. He’s like that, I guess, refusing to be ignored, small but mighty. Hats off, little guy.

Now, in his honor, I’ve chosen my focus word for 2023: “adjust” because I will have to do just that. Sometimes with regard to eye-related behavior; but definitely with regard to art-making: as I learn more, I’ll adjust. When something isn’t working, I’ll adjust. When I feel blocked for next moves, I’ll adjust and approach from a new angle.

Change doesn’t always come easy, but I’m a learning junkie so– yippee– I suspect there’s going to be plenty of that! 😉 (note: this is both an emoji wink & me making my pirate face!)

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