I’ve always thought of myself as someone who dives deep into her interests rather than skimming along the surface. And yet–it’s honesty time. Looking back at the past 53 years, I’m forced to admit that the only time this was actually true of me was when I was immersed in the study of Norse paganism and Odin’s path for more than a decade. (A close second is the near-decade I spent in devotion to the craft of hand spinning.) But otherwise, I have been very much a surface-skimmer: flitting from one project and one interest to the next, buying books only to have them sit unread on the shelf, accumulating craft supplies that go unused because I’m caught up in a new and different craft a few weeks later.
Having admitted this pattern to myself, it doesn’t sit well with me–not at all. Flitting from one thing to another is a perfect way to avoid becoming really good at anything–which rankles my perfectionistic Virgo soul, but which at the same time neatly serves my self-sabotaging and self-defeatist tendencies.
No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.
You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.
You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites. You pick up the guitar again and get better at it, instead of taking up the harmonica. You finish the Gordon Ramsey Masterclass you started in April, despite your fascination with the new Annie Leibovitz one, even though it’s on sale.
The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.”
Taking this philosophy to heart, I’ve decided to commit to making 2019 a Depth Year for myself. I will not be taking up any new crafts, interests, hobbies, or spiritual paths during the year. Instead, I will be concentrating on going deeper into three interests I’ve adopted either during 2018 or beforehand: sewing and embroidery, traditional witchcraft, and junk journaling.
But for my own purposes, I’m making a couple of minor changes to the stated unofficial rules:
- I am not barring myself from purchasing new books–but they must fit into one of the aforementioned categories. (Fiction is an exception–but I don’t read much fiction, anyway.) I plan to dive deep into The Visions of Isobel Gowdie and other titles that have been languishing on my shelf.
- I am allowed to purchase new equipment and supplies (since I’m a crafter, and supplies do get used up and need to be replenished)–but ONLY if they pertain to the above areas of concentration.
Instead of feeling constrained by this, I’m actually super-excited about it. Strangely, although I’ve always been someone who performs best within a structure and limitations, I have rarely had those things in place. Unrestrained freedom results in aimlessness, burnout, and depression, for me. Well-considered restrictions result in an increased feeling of freedom (paradoxically) and also super-charge my creativity. I’ve known this for some time, of course, but–you know the drill, I haven’t wanted to admit it. It’s time to stop lying to myself, and get my oxygen tank ready, because I’m diving in.
I’ll chart my progress here, so you all can follow along. Anyone else interested in going deep rather than wide in 2019?