The June List
In recent weeks we've been venturing out of the house more and more along with the rest of the city. NYC has reopened to mixed reception, but reopened nonetheless. Companies have started to finalize back-to-work plans and it's funny (disappointing, really) that my company, after having had 14 months to develop a better, perhaps even innovative plan to bring people back to the office with an eye toward the workplace flexibility that so many of us have realized is vital to a healthier work-life balance, is simply starting with volunteer return to office this month and full time office work in September. What's doubly disappointing is that they'd made gestures toward considering alternatives some time ago, with surveys sent and rumblings among management about some sort of hybrid setup. Then this announcement was sent out unceremoniously on a Tuesday at close of business with no prior discussion at regional management meetings that most teams are plugged into. It feels like a huge let-down, and unfortunately, I’m not all that surprised.
That’s something that will be on my mind during June, a month that will be transitional for me in a few major ways.
The next phase
My maternity leave ends this month. Because I work for the American arm of a European company, I received 20 weeks of parental leave, to which I tacked on some rollover vacation days. In all, I've have been away from work for about 5.5 months, and I'm thankful for every single day of it. Parental leave is so vital and typically way too short in the US, and I count myself lucky to have had this longer period that isn't available to so many.
For some time, I've been thinking hard about the next phase of my life and career, asking myself questions about how I want to spend my time. This question is more urgent now that I've lived through a pandemic and now that I'm a mom - I'm conscious to be much more scrupulous when deciding what is worth my time.
I'm also thinking about setting a good example for Jazz when it comes to protecting my happiness and making decisions based on values and not fear. What is important in the workplace? What kind of work do I want to do? What do I want my next step to be? Do I need to figure out what's next to be able to finally listen to the voice in my head that keeps saying "not this"?
Revising my 2021 goals list
I keep a Google doc with business goals and plans that I update on a regular basis. This month, I’m going to make another revision to it to reflect my goals for the second half of the year.
Since having Jazz, I often felt like I was under-producing even though I was mostly okay with that - I wanted to dedicate these months to quality time with the baby and transitioning into motherhood. However, I logged the pieces that I’ve made thus far this year and now that I've counted them up, I finally see that, in fact, I’ve actually been very productive. Way beyond what I expected and what I would have realistically asked of myself for the first half of the year.
Pause for a little pat on my own back. Now, it's time to look ahead. There is still plenty left on my 2021 list that I can work on, and I want to really think about and flesh out my plan for Holiday 2021. Then a little later on this year, I'll think about the things I want to put into motion to set up for a bigger and better 2022.
Go big with at home sculpting
I made two large vases in May, and I'm really excited about them. They are in the process of being fired, and I'm really really holding myself back from counting my chickens before they hatch. You can't count on pottery to become a finished piece until after that second firing, and after you've transported it home.
I love that you need to take your time with large pots. I like that the form reveals itself slowly as it materializes, particularly as I'm reaching the top half and I find myself daydreaming about different ways I could close the shape, whether and what type of handles could be added, and possible adornments. This also means that I don't expect to be making very many in June, but my goal is largely about always having one in progress. A project that is creatively satisfying, challenging, and my very own, apart from restocks, wholesale, and commissions.
Return to the farmer's market
There's a NYC Greenmarket within walking distance that we haven't visited since the start of the pandemic. It's a bit farther now following our move, but since we stayed fairly close, I'm happy to say that the walk is still very doable, if not the 3 blocks it used to be. I absolutely love visiting the Greenmarket and I'm really excited to bring Jazz to see the vendor stalls and pick up produce and flowers on Sundays.
Spend time on our patio
At long last, we have ordered a bistro set for our front patio, which means we'll be able to properly enjoy that little patch of outdoor space for the first time. Mosquitoes are a huge nuisance here in the summertime, but it's a bigger problem in our backyard than in the front, so I'm still hopeful about being able to sit out front most days for the time it takes to drink an iced coffee or afternoon cocktail.
I'm working on a summer bucket list for the upcoming start of the season, and will no doubt take inspiration from these next few weeks as I work through the items above. Looking forward to diving into this most lush of seasons!