Beth Meadows


Fearing Good

Beth MeadowsComment

I'm trying to get to the good stuff, but why's it being so elusive?

I guess we are always in varying degrees of transition often, but last year felt especially like that. So 2018 is about putting my feet on solid ground. And putting my money where my mouth is. 

I am working to let go of a few things and tie up loose ends because I feel like I can't move forward until those things are off my plate. I do see progress, it's just really damn slow.

One current thing that is sticking for longer than I planned is leaving my position as Director of 17th Street Studios. The plan was to be done at the end of 2017, but there are still things to do, so the new deadline is the end of this month. 

There is actually a LOT to do, so while I am ready to start some new projects, I can't get to them, and it's been frustrating. 

My work schedule is about to get a whole lot more structured beginning this next week, and I am really looking forward to that. Did you know I have four-ish jobs? And I am leaving one today to start a new one this week. I'd like to write about that, too: Leaving places and people on a good note as opposed to hanging on out of... fill in the blank all the reasons anyone sticks with anything too long. I have a lot of experience in the latter.

So I'm trying to be patient right now, and still, slowly like a snail, chip away at some projects that I'm hoping to dive into as soon as possible. 

I worry that my life will always be like this, though. Having too much going on to get to the good stuff. There are so many things out of our control, we could never know what we have to take on from day to day. I don't know how people do it with kids and their unpredictability. How?

Maybe part of it is accepting that this is all a part of life, and to make sure we are taking care of ourselves as much as possible (eat well, sleep well) so that in all the tiny moments I have, I can chip away at the ideas that are nagging at me.

This requires so much discipline, planning, and forethought. I like the idea of this, but I also like spontaneity. And I'm the person that sticks around at the party til everyone is leaving- no matter how much I told myself I'd only stay for an hour or two. I think living this way is also important, because people are the most important. It's such a struggle to find that balance of a solitary creative life and one that is enriched by engagement with others, not just superficial encounters. 

I do feel like this is more so how it will go for a bit... until I have three jobs or less maybe. What would my life be like if I could spend the better part of the day making art? I'm not sure I'd know what to do with myself. The thought it terrifying... which is maybe the cause of all this slow moving of letting go. 

Fear. There you are, you ole Grizzly Bear.  

In the year 2018: I am clutter free.

Beth MeadowsComment

I'm a big planner. Like, I think I'm probably addicted to it.

I love making lists and getting out my planner to outline my week or month. It's fun for me.

I do this all year long, but December is "The Show" because it's when I like to think about a whole year at once. What do I want to accomplish by next December?

Here is one of a few Goals:

I want to finish my several year-long Organizational Journey. 

When I turned 30, I started organizing my home. It was a much needed gift to myself.

Beyond being a semi-hoarder of sentimental and useful-to-me-possibly-one-day-in-the-future things, around that time, I had received a ton of furniture and objects from family members who had passed away or sold second homes. I was also really unorganized with papers. Just drowning in them.

At the beginning of my Organizational Journey (I don't know what else to call it. Let me at least make it sound like a great adventure!), I read Getting Things Done by David Allen, who my boyfriend at the time called my real boyfriend because I talked about him so much. I'd sort through some things and one of us would say, "GTD!" I really geeked out about it, which I feel like my imaginary bf David Allen would appreciate. 

And then last year I read The Magic Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Y'all, I know she's a little out there, but I LOVE her. Both books have helped me so much.

Three years in, I'm on round maybe 47 of purging and decluttering. I feel close to being finished but I still have to move my studio contents home, deal with stuff in my basement, and go through a last round of sentimental things.

For example, yesterday, I went through my grandfather's pin and cuff link collection. He passed away a few years ago, so it's not as easy as you'd think. My general rule was, I kept any with his initials on it or any with a "Tennessee" or "Memphis" theme, and put the rest in the "Goodwill" bag. I feel ok about it.

I have to tell myself that he was sensible enough of a man to say to me, if he could, "Beth, don't go wasting your time and energy holding on to something that didn't mean that much to me. Live out your life how you want to, just like I did mine!"

He was a good man who lived and full and interesting life, and I know I need to let some things go, but I want to keep some things that were his, just because they were his. 

I also have these ornately detailed, white porcelain Goddess statues from my other grandfather, also who has passed away. If I remember correctly, he brought them back from serving in the Navy in Japan during WWII.

I mean, how am I supposed to give those away?? He was serving in the war and picked those things out to bring back home! I cannot get rid of them. 

They are a little creepy (I kind of like them) and just sitting on the dresser by my bed. I had this thought recently that they might be bringing me bad juju. And then I have to remind myself that I don't really believe in that kind of thing. Not really. Anyway, I'm keeping them.

Anyway, that's where I am with this. I feel so close to being done. The papers are still plaguing me. I'm a collector of magazine pages (for art reasons) and I have all these handwritten notes from the past decade I need to go through, organize digitally, then toss. And then there's the bins of photos and letters from other people. And then, digital files and pictures. Phew, that's going to be a doozy. The photos on my computer and external harddrive are a disaster. 

Any tips would be helpful, especially for how to organize photos and back them up. Or if you're a friend and want to drink wine with me and make some scrapbooks. I'm not joking. I've been waiting to get to the scrapbooking level for many years now.

2018 is it! I had no idea getting old and boring would be this fun!