# Goal: To be resolute

Commentary

As with every new year, I make a list of resolutions that I often adhere to religiously for the first month or so and then gradually, but persistently ignore until the following December rolls around. Once the reflective period sets itself in motion I rush to wrap up what resolutions can be salvaged, a pitiful attempt to stroke my ego and assuage my ever-increasing fears of not really moving forward in life. Needless to say, my resolution lists are often laughable.

My first problem with resolutions is that they are often overambitious. I’ve learned that if you set your goal way too high, you’re so disappointed with yourself that you can’t really make it happen, you actually quit ahead of schedule. I know this because my resolution last year was to run a half marathon. Have I even run a marathon? No. Does the word marathon scare me? Yes. Does the word half make it sound possibly more attainable? Yes. Did I know how much distance equates to a half marathon? I found out after I wrote down the resolution, and began researching training tips. It suddenly became an overwhelmingly ambitious goal that I decided to forfeit last January, even after I’d run my first 10K.

It consoles me that I am not the only one that falls in this trap. Just today I saw that one of the people I follow on Goodreads had set her 2015 reading challenge (for my slightly obsessive take on this, read this previous post) for 300 books. Surely that’s a little over the top? I mean, live a little, won’t you? Having been in the infuriating situation of not meeting my (what then seemed to be) high goal of 50 books a year, I’ve since toned it down to a meandering 36 for 2015.

Another issue I have with resolutions is that they sometimes don’t make sense to me when I revisit them a year later, either because they are too abstract or generic. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, this year I had to decide whether I actually achieved the following two resolutions:

1. Be less absolute

2. Write more.

The problem with exhibit #1 is that I have no idea what I meant here. Surely some kind of event took place that gave me some kind of profound insight into some obscure character weakness I have (maybe not so obscure if you know me well), but seriously, how the hell am I meant to know if I’ve pinned this one down or not? How much less counts as worthwhile and how much more writing is equal to a gold star? Who knows? Who’s checking? I’ll just quietly put a tick next to both to help my yearly stats and carry on as normal. Don’t tell on me.

So this year, I’ve decided to do things slightly differently: I’ve incorporated other people into my new year resolutions. Before you jump to conclusions, no, this doesn’t mean I’ve made resolutions for others, though I might be better at doing that than doing my own. Actually, the two resolutions I’ve written down and have already started (remember, it’s January still), are:

1. Take up trail running. Keep running. Just run.

Now I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t make this slightly masochistic. By keep running I mean wake up at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays and go running before work. Why? Because that’s when I have time. Also, the view of the city waking up slowly is pretty breathtaking, and why should the garbage collectors be roaming the streets alone at this beautiful time? And of course, the best way to keep at this post-January is to have a running buddy, who’s more of a masochist than I am.

2. Take #bookportraits

Because of my Goodreads stats obsession, and general voracious reading appetite, I’ve decided to document what I read this year through a series of book portraits that I’ll upload on my flickr page. I’m going to try to add reviews or general thoughts to what I read through this blog (to cover that “write more” goal on my list) because if anything, I’m darn good at reflection. Duh. I’ll be taking these photos along with my partner in crime, who may or may not hate me by the end of this project.

Tune in next year, when I revisit my resolutions and determinedly add “stop collaborative goals” at the top of my list. Oh wait, sorry, that’s just me being absolutely cynical again. (Note to self: be less cynical).

# Where’s my mojo?

Commentary

So let’s make it clear. I’ve looked at all possible locations: behing the couch, in the fridge next to that tupperware that’s growing all sorts of fungus, in the far depths of my bag, in my tiny car, in my not-so-tiny wardrobe. Where has my mojo gone? Why has it abandoned me?

Or wait. Maybe I’m to blame. It might just be that the very high I was experiencing right about the beginning of 2012 has very cutely come back to bite me in the face. The feeling of I can do everything has quickly given way to: Is there anything I can do? The same person who read three books in the first week of the year, is now reading 10 words a day, claiming a whole page as a cause for celebration. That very same person walks around with dark circles under the eyes, despite a good 7-hour sleep. She’s shunned color and she continuously burns the food, but doesn’t mind eating it because she’s that hungry.

Is this person you too? Want to join forces in rediscovering our mojos? Listening for your suggestions, eagerly.

# My 2011

Commentary

2011 has treated me well. I travelled, I explored the world through the lens of my diana and lx3 and I read plenty (though not as avidly as I would have liked). Here is my year breakdown.

Note: Most of these are in no particular chronological order

1. The most anticipated item of the year: the stache! After much begging and volunteering to start a fund for movember, I was given the privilege of the stache preview in December. I’m happy to announce that this look is now a permanent fixture in all our joint portraits.

2. November brought a new person into our family unit of two: the Bear. He’s still nameless though he’s much of a character. I caught him reading on my wing chair that night, but I’ve even come home to him watching TV and eating cereal and his most recent feat was climbing the Xmas tree á la King Kong style. We don’t know what he’ll do next, but he sure fits in.

3. Lomography featured largely in 2011, mainly because it was my Xmas present to myself last year. This two-shot was quite a good accident. The third shot, of our other partner in crime, George, brings the photographic trio full circle.

4. Reading in Dublin was a pleasure. This was a small park right outside the biggest park ever, that we traversed on a two-seater bicycle (that was fun!). On this trip I had the lovely company of Margatet Atwood and The Year of the Flood, which I miraculously read through, while managing to do quite enough touring.

5. The beauty of the lomo lens: This colorful scene was straight out of Little Miss Sunshine almost, and lucky for me, just outside my home. The large puddles / lakes that form near the area make for the most spectacular reflections.

6. This birdcage has been in the family for about a decade and it used to be white. Living by the beach has turned it into a wonderful rusty peppermint color that I love. It’s  something that’s not coming off of our veranda wall anytime soon.

7. My grandmother had a rough 2011; in July she broke her ischial spine on her pelvis and was bedridden for about 2 months. She is now mostly recovered and able to walk without the help of a cane, but she’s spent quite a few hard months. This photo was taken during a drastic cleanup of her house. Quite unlike my normal photographic habits, I decided to take a self-portrait in my grandmother’s yard during the big mess.

8. Taking it easy with the kids: the cutest niece a person could have. Learning to be patient: the only thing that got me out of 2011 reasonably sane.

9. Discovered gloriously delicious tea from tea pigs, palais des thés bubblegum tea and generally stored up in herbal goodness in 2011.

10. Tried my first, and most likely last, bitter ale at the Guinness Factory. Trying out the 120 format on lomo was fun, but also disappointing: I had a whole 120 color film completely ruined by overexposure, and thus forever a mystery.

11. The year of many notes, by no letters, sadly. Friends across the world (you know who you are), I will make it up to you in 2012!

12. The endless pursuit of great indie coffee/ tea shops continues. I have just added a great one in old Nicosia:  Τα εφτά κλειδιά

13. My lovely, lovely mom. 2011 came along with a new resolution: more portraits. This is as candid as it gets.

14. Taking dark alleys and forgotten routes has always brought out the best exploration photos. If you exclude the rancid smell of urine, that is.

15. I love feet shots and always will. Our other addition to the household is Pingoo, our friendly bed penguin. My friend Gigi, understands my feet addiction and follows suit.

16. Paying closer attention to detail really got me out of 2011. As a perfectionist, I’ve got the bug for getting lost and sidetracked in intricate details that really have no use for the purpose at hand. It’s a problem I am gradually coming to terms with.

17. Back in the middle ages, maps read: There be dragons here. Discovering the wonderful Custard Factory in Birmingham was a resulted of our chat with an art gallery personnel, who ended up drawing a little map of how to get there in my journal. After walking for hours past the commercial junk recommended to us by the air host, we finally got there and it was wonderfully refreshing.

18. My belated Xmas present arrived sometime in January. A new toy and a new perspective. It was quite amusing that we got each other cameras for Xmas. It also made shooting more difficult now with so many choices.

19. Bicycles everywhere in the city of Dublin. Renting some off the bike stations resulted in some near-death experiences, but ultimately great fun. It also led to the sad realization that Cyprus will never be bike friendly, thanks to all the reckless drivers.

20. A quiet vigil at Phoinikoudes, Larnaca after the explosion at Mari. This really shook up the whole island and those days were dark and bleak. I can’t say that that there will be much light on the case, in due time. Disappointment prevails.

21. My bike was a birthday present from 2010, but it really travelled great distances in 2011. On the last day of 2010, I remember riding across timid rain capturing the very last moments of the year. Here, we were riding across the vast expanse that is Oroklini lake, near my apartment. It felt out of this world, but all those mosquito bites put things in a realistic perspective.

22. The year of Catan, surely. The game was a gift by a fellow friend, but was neatly tucked into the closet because its instructions were a goddamn booklet. So after a year of storage, my friend was in Cyprus and he finally showed me how to play in less than half an hour. It soon became an addiction. Midnight Catan sessions that progressed way into the early morning hours, fueled by cookies and hot tea and when hungrier, Indian cuisine. It really left its mark on 2011, and now we’ve got the expansion pack and I’m convinced we’re turning into the Cypriot version of the Big Bang Theory somehow. Who’s Sheldon?

23. One of our most beloved agrotourist locations in Cyprus is 3 Elies. It’s the most authentic little resort smack in the middle of nowhere. There’s fireplace, nature trails, great trout for dinner made my Androulla, and many many cats. This multiple exposure hides two.

24. Met my nieces and nephew in the summertime for the first time. This was a walk on the beach, when my niece was so excited to see the sea. It makes me blush that I take it for granted.

25. 2011 brought with it a lot of new recipes. For Easter I attempted to make candy pops, that tasted OK but didn’t look like the real thing. Luckily no one knew the original idea, so considered my own works of art. The bows and sticks featured were in preparation for the choc pops.

26. The sun sets on Oroklini lake. Discovering the beauty of my area has surely been a highlight of 2011. I have just recently taken up jogging along the beach every morning before work and I’m surprised that I never made the most of the what is available to me here until now.

27. A hurried trip to the city of my heart: Chania, Crete. On the weekend of Monday of Lent, we escaped to Chania to revisit memories, old friends and favorite spots.

28. My failed resolution to pick up rock-climbing as a hobby. Maybe 2012 will be kinder to this resolution. After observing a group of climbers, we headed for Ayios Nicolas for some biking and I almost fainted on those altitudes. It resulted in a half-hour surprise nap by a river, while my other half was having fun taking photos of me passed out from fatigue.

29. Beautiful dusk from my window. Those reflections, those colors — make me remember why I could never leave here.

30. Pimped rides with pegasus, but 2011 was the year I bid my little old car, Dot,  goodbye. Just as I wasn’t looking, I managed to get myself a deal on my car, and ended up with a brand new Toyota Aygo. Its flaming red is more to my taste than the old black. But Dot was my first car, and as such, very dearly missed.

31. Kids will be kids, but grownups need to be kids too sometimes. Relearning life through a 4-year-old’s perspective ain’t easy, but it’s good.

32. Having the sister to myself has been a treat. Here, we went on a great photowalk across town and I snapped this great portrait of her. Hopefully 2012 will bring a collaboration that could result in some monetary fruit, if she ever agrees to listen to my ideas!

33. I’m thankful for having friends who will willingly drop everything for an existential conversation about the meaning of it all. 2011 has taught me that I am definitely a lot more complex than even I ever imagined. I’m slowly learning to accept the most unexpected things about me, and more importantly, to embrace risk and learn from it.

34. 2011 changed the way I saw my life. Taking hard decisions is part of life, and being honest with what you like and don’t like is equally important. You need to be passionate about what you do full time, and if you’re not, you must change something. I’m changing things in 2012, but without 2011’s insight, I would be nowhere.

35. There’s a lot of home, in homemade, and I carry it with me in whatever I do: From jewelry, to writing, to photography to baking. You can’t separate the past from the present and carrying it with you is a good thing, really.

36. This unconventional portrait of my mom makes me think that there’s always a hidden side to us. And we sometimes hide it from ourselves even, but it’s there. I’m trying to reconcile myself with my hidden side, which is full of flaws and misery and pessimism, but hey, I’m not there yet. I’m trying, and that counts, doesn’t it?

Hope you have a great 2012. I await for it eagerly.