On my list of favourite things, personal challenges rank high. I don’t like when people challenge me to do something because invariably, I become nervous, then overthink it and end up messing up.
But challenging myself? Yes, please!
Everyday YWA challenge? Absolutely!
Setting a timer for seven minutes then seeing how fast I can unpack the dishwasher? I’m there!
Giving myself 2 hours to see how much work I can get done in the office? Sign me up! (My office mate and I always do this. She even bought a special timer just for this!).
Each year, for the past three years, I’ve challenged myself to read thirty books. I can’t increase the number until I’ve met the goal. Suffice it to say, next year the number will still be thirty.
My movie challenge is my favourite. About five years ago, I made a movie challenge for myself. I started by watching seventy films. I met it. I increased it to seventy-five. This year, the goal is one hundred movies – and not just any kind of film either. Artsy movies that make you go “hmm”; films that roll around in your mind for a long time after. Just last night, I watched a really good Colombian film, Karen Cries on the Bus (2011) about a woman who decides to leave her marriage and youth behind in order to start a new life on her own. I may have to update my post a slice of cake.
I can’t lie, though. Every now and then, a silly movie sneaks in but I don’t typically include them on The Movie List. I’ve got twelve weeks left this year and seven movies to go.
During 2020 lock-down, my sister sent our family a message. To my eternal delight she wrote: Let’s start a Postcard Challenge. It was a challenge we could do together so no overthinking or nervousness on my part.
The idea is simple – make postcards by hand and send them to each other, and to family and friends. We could make them anyway we like – collage, painted, drawn. The only caveat is that we make each postcard ourselves.
Well! If ever there was a challenge for me, this was it! Not only was this an endeavor to help the USPS which, at the time, was struggling to stay afloat, but it’d be my kinda fun.
The real challenge for me was two-fold. First, I’m an artist but I never liked painting small. Secondly, I couldn’t rationally spend hours on a single postcard because then only a few people would get them. But I am not an abstract-expressionist. So the challenge was to be more spontaneous – more in-the-moment. (When all is said and done, I have to say I enjoyed my venture into the ab-ex world.)
Finding out the standard postcard sizes online was easy. I measured acrylic paper to size and cut a stack. Then, I put on some music and got started. No plan. No prior ideas of what I want to do. No postcard takes more than 20 minutes to make. Some cards are painted, while some are mixed-media.
On the weekends, I made about five postcards. Then, I laid out the finished ones and matched postcards to recipients. After choosing a coloured pen, I spent a happy hour writing the cards to those people.
While the whole project was nothing but lovely, it didn’t compare to the pleasure of receiving handmade postcards from my mom, sissy and friends who all joined the Postcard Project as well.
images on postcards cut from Monocle magazines