I’ve been thinking about my intentions for this year. I know I said I wouldn’t make resolutions, but I did mention on Instagram that I wanted to be gentler to myself and others in 2014, and for some reason that has really stayed with me. That word, “gentle,” is repeating in my mind as I go about my days. I can be tough on people that I’m close to, and I can also be tough on myself. I sometimes feel like no one, including me, can live up to my exacting standards. I don’t expect slack so I don’t give much, either.
Now that I’m a manager, I’m confronted with so many of my shortcomings. I’m trying to set healthy boundaries, to express my needs and desires clearly and directly, to have high but reasonable expectations, and to give people enough freedom to take initiative and work independently. It’s been such an insane learning curve. The project of setting up and stocking a physical storefront was one thing to tackle, and now that I’ve done that, I’m finding that understanding the human aspect, the various people involved in the operation, is a much greater challenge. Everyone comes to work with their own needs, their own histories, and their own motivators. It’s up to me to understand what works for each person and to try to balance all of our wants and needs for the greater whole.
Since I keep thinking about being more gentle, I’ve been pondering what little things I can do to soothe my own soul. There are big happy-makers in life and there are also small ones, and it’s those that can make all the difference in how I feel in a given moment. For me, it’s a hot cup of tea, a leisurely walk in the sun, a Pilates class, a morning snuggle with my kids in bed, or an episode of “The Mindy Project.” Nothing huge or expensive, just something that feels nurturing and takes me out of my head space for a little while. One thing I’ve rediscovered in the last year is the huge role music plays in my emotional well-being. I used to relax with a book, and while books will always be my passion, I’m not in a great reading space right now. Sometimes a book makes me think too much, and that’s not really what I want right now. I want to escape a little, to shut out reality for just a while. Music, though, is my escape. I’ve surrounded myself with music, new and old, while I’m walking, while I’m working, in the car and at home. I’ve opened myself up to new artists and styles, and I’m discovering so much beauty.
The song “Retrograde” by James Blake has been on constant replay the past few weeks. I tend to obsess over a song until I burn out on it completely, and this is no exception. It’s haunting, it’s catchy and it’s devastatingly sexy. Not a bad way to slide into the new year.
If you need more new music recommendations, I found so many gems on this year-end list. There is a Spotify link so you can listen easily. “Open” by Rhye and “Even if We Try” by Night Beds are two I had never heard before that I had to immediately purchase (I’m cutting way back on spending this year, but indulging in a few iTunes purchases still as a way to keep from feeling too deprived).
What are you listening to these days? What bands are you loving? I’m always looking for recommendations!