What are your hopes for 2021? Do you have dreams, hopes, possibly a list of goals? Or have all those things become pointless amidst a pandemic and other worries?
A goal can be intimidating, even insinuate arrogance or the illusion of “I can do everything I set my mind to”. So, why bother? The truth is, I don’t even know what will happen tomorrow, let alone this whole year. And yet, here I am, in my parent’s basement, sewing pieces of plastic together to form the strap for a backpack. Why? Because that backpack is part of one of my goals: learn more about recycling plastic into beautiful art. And since I had a pile of very thick plastic sheets to work with, I decided to start with that and make a travel backpack. Will I finish it? I hope so. But even if I were to somehow become incapable of doing so, I would have been glad for all the things I’ve learned just by trying. I guess that’s what goals are for: they aren’t milestones to check off an imaginary list, but loose points of reference to get you going somewhere. And as long as you are moving in a better direction than the day before, I’d consider that a success.
In that sense, here’s my list of goals, dreams and hopes for 2021. I know very well that I will most likely not reach all of them. But if I reach even a few, I’d be happy. And if I end up reaching completely different things, that’s ok, too:
- learn how to make new products out of plastic trash: I’d especially like to build some of “precious plastics” machines (www.preciousplastic.com)
- Invent a simple mechanical machine to operate the precious plastic machines without electricity, kind of like a mechanical dynamo. All you would need is a bike. This would make the technology cheaper and potentially more accessible for remote or poor regions.
- internship in the US – version 2: Seattle didn’t work out. But another city in Oregon may work
- internship in Africa: The country is not yet set. But there are opportunities for community development and agriculture, which combine creative thinking with good for the community
- be a WWOOFer at a farm: WWOOF stands for “World-wide opportunities on organic farms”. You get free room and board in exchange for volunteer work on an organic farm. Since I want to learn about sustainable agriculture and don’t have much money to travel, this may be an option :)
- get healthy: I unfortunately struggle with fatigue issues and more or less chronic sore throat and ears. It’s never so bad that I can’t hear or talk, but the pain and fatigue is a drain.
- set up a creative workspace: Right now I don’t actually have my own workshop/workspace. The result is that my supplies are all over my room and other parts of the house, which is not ideal. I also think my tools could use some work and a proper place to put them. So, setting up a real workspace would be a win.
- learn more about poverty and working with the Poor: I want to use my creative skills to work in the area of community development, someday. That has become clear over the last year. So, I want to learn more about how that could work, and what should not be done.
So, what are your goals, if you have them, for this year? How can you reach for something, even if you know you might not reach it quite as planned? I hope you find moments of progress amidst your challenges, and wish you a fresh start in 2021!