For the past three years, I've found it very instructive to write a personal mission statement for the coming year. It's a way to put on paper personal goals, professional objectives, as well as guiding questions and the "big picture" view of who I want to be. It is 1-2 pages long, and I'll share it here, not so much because I think you'll be interested in the nitty-gritty of my life, but because I find it a useful template for thinking about how I want to spend my "one wild and precious life." (Thanks Mary Oliver).
I keep past years in a folder and enjoy looking back at them. I get excited to see when things are "checked off" and I am gentle on myself when things get deleted or pushed into a future year. It is a working document, just like my life will always be a work in progress.
If I had to sum up two particular artistic goals I have for 2008, it would be finishing old projects (namely a piece I am donating to a center for human rights in California) and collaborating with people I really admire (like Chris Jordan and Steve Scher) on projects that cross several disciplines.
With that, here's my mission statement for 2008!
Sarah Waller 2008
*To live in the world as richly and fully as my humanity allows.
*To soak up life like a sponge, letting the membrane between my heart and the world be a permeable one.
*To stay true to the core values I feel in my bones.
*To acknowledge what a gift it is to wake up in the morning.
*To live intentionally.
*To take creative risks and value the wisdom that comes from failures.
*To give back in meaningful ways.
Professional and Personal Goals
• Continue developing skills as a producer on a part-time basis for KUOW’s Sound Focus and bring compelling stories to air.
• Play creatively with independent producing. Create a handful of new radio works for KUOW’s evening line-up and/or national programs. (Stories on underwater hockey, personal loss, travelogue along Route 2, etc.)
• Set up informational interviews with other producers to learn more about the field.
• Continue evaluating how/if radio fits into my future.
• Develop a look for “Moon Bear” story that stretches my artistic style – and submit to publishers in 2008.
• Finish work for the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights. (Complete one new component of the collage each month in 2008.)
• Embark on “Running the Numbers” series with Chris Jordan.
• Enroll in one fine art class in figure drawing or painting (only if time permits – this is a piece I could take up in 2009.)
• Reserve one day per quarter for creative experimentation and play with no stress on outcome/output.
• Evaluate options for making art more central to my daily work.
In the Environment:
• Continue arranging stewardship projects and other special events with FCRW. Keep these activities in balance with other priorities.
• Challenge myself to make deeper personal changes about how I consume resources.
• Serve on committees by without overloading myself. Invest time in the pieces of work that will serve the WI best, and which ones will be personally fulfilling to complete.
• Finish repairing violin for the String Connection in Arizona.
• Continue deepening my mentorship with Francie Wood.
• Meet the people I admire most (Susan Brenninger, Eric Liu, Diana Gail, etc.) and have open ears to learn from them.
• Enjoy being silly, loving, and supportive in my partnership with Mika.
• Embark on the adventure of building our own family.
• Continue reaching out to family and being willing to stretch myself emotionally when roadblocks and challenges arise.
• Eat healthful foods, rest well, and stay physically active. (Start crew in the spring and plan at least one backpack over the summer.)
• Travel, both as a tourist within my own city and in the larger world. (Including if possible one trip to visit Mika’s mom over the summer.)
• Create a home that is welcoming, warm and open to visitors. Take time to savor the joy of decorating for each season.
• Learn one new violin song or duet.
• Continue studying Finnish.
• Continue writing in my journal.
• To compose my annual Valentine’s Day letter and write short stories on occasion.
• Organize at least four activities for the Oddball club (yak farm, roller derby, curling, cinnamon tasting, etc.) and host a wine club event.
Guiding Questions for 2008
• Am I happy with the balance of activities/priorities I have in my life? How might I want to adjust it?
• What activities will I let go when Mika and I start a family? Why would I choose that/those?
• What are the things I value most deeply (and want to keep) in my personal life and my professional life as our family expands?
• As we grow older and change, how do I want to relate to my mom this year? My dad? Andy, Aimee and their new baby?
• What do I love most about my life?
• What am I having trouble with?
• What do I long for that I don’t currently find time/room/courage to include?
• What do I fear most this year?
• What is a dream I am holding?