my thunderstorm

Summer Depth Season Intro

To my knowledge, the idea of a Depth Year was developed by David Cain which you can read about on Raptitude. Honestly, these kinds of personal development, self-help endeavors generally make me wary. They often come across to me like pseudo-intellectual undertakings by those most privileged to give things up, to take their time, to seek “inner peace,” etc. It’s especially frustrating that the only reason why I feel as though I have the time to even consider a depth season is because I’m unemployed. Lovely~~~

So why I am even considering “going deeper, not wider” if I have such reservations? Since I am moving back home to live my parents for a while, most of my things are going to be packed up in a strorage container. I need to choose now what I am even willing to make space for in my wife’s car to keep readily at hand when we arrive at our destination. We aren’t entirely sure when we will be able to get our own place again so I have been spending time trying to mentally identify how I want to pass time, what will motivate me while seeking future employment, what is going to bring me joy.

When reflecting on this, I brainstormed the main hobbies that generally spark joy for me and then narrowed that list down eliminate any “passive” activities, such as watching Twitch/YouTube. The goal isn’t to stop engaging with those, but to set intentional time for hobbies in which I am actively doing or making something. I also tried to combine categories when possible so Makeup Artistry (the act of actually applying my makeup) is the primary category whereas Makeup Photography (documenting my MOTD on Instagram) is a sub-category.

After this process, the main categories I identified include: (1) writing (articles for my website, a podcast idea, fiction projects that have been on the back burner, captions for Instagram posts, personal journals, etc.); (2) art practice (primarily sketching but dabbling into various methods of coloring such as watercolor, color pencils, and alcohol markers); (3) meditation (which primarily includes tarot study); and (4) makeup artistry (including application and documentation of my looks).

With that in mind, during this Summer Depth Season, my primary goal is to do a lot of writing and that includes reflection on my meditation practices, while also providing me with intentional space for creating art — whether that’s my messy, amateur sketches or my slightly more practiced and confident makeup application.

Instead of giving myself specific goals that I can viciously judge my future self for in the even that I fail to complete them, I wanted to do a loose brainstorm of things I can do that will not require me to spend money and acquire new things.

There are a lot of writing projects that I have in mind, but I want to ideally carry forward with ones that I have been actively working on rather than diving into something brand new (unless my imagination really ignites!) These include developing my Toy Canon and Tarot sections on Neocities, getting back into a solo journaling project I was working on (The Magical Year of a Teenage Witch), continuing to journal about my tarot readings, finally updating the backlog of memory keeping in my planner.

As for art, I’m in the midst of doing the 100 Heads Challenge (though I am NOT doing it in ten days!) I would also like to get back into doing gesture studies and animal studies. They’re a lot of fun and it would be neat to fill up the two sketchbooks that I have as incentive to get a brand new one before autumn (whether I decide to do another season of this or not.) For makeup artistry, I have a backlog of photos to upload to Instagram still (including a few non-makeup related photos that I just want to share but have been shy about) and I’d like to start a new eyeshadow lookbook. Last year, I did one based on Final Fantasy IX and I’ve been meaning to pick back up my Undertale one or maybe skip over to Steven Universe.

Too often I tell myself that I don’t have time for these things and when the summer solstice came along, knowing that I would be starting this project, I realized that I actually have plenty of time during the day and just need to actively choose what to prioritize instead of passively falling back into YouTube land all day. Since making this choice, I’ve drawn 40 mini portraits after going almost a year without drawing, finished reading a few books (not on my list but still impressive!!), and have updated my Neocities with some pretty substantive articles if I do say so myself.

I’m not sure how often I will be blogging about this experience, but I am aiming for at least one update in July, August, and September (when the season will officially end.) If you’ve taken a depth year, let me know about how it went for you! Did you have any similar reservations as what I’m feeling? Did you take on less than I am thinking about? More? What was your motivation?

July Check-In

At the beginning of my Depth Season, instead of assigning myself specific goals, I acknowledged some specific hobbies that I wanted to foster: writing, art, meditation, and makeup artistry. As expected, I’ve engaged with each of these categories to varying degrees (with writing at the forefront, which was my goal!) Along the way, I’ve also found myself reconnected with other interests such as reading that had been put on the back burner for a while.

One thing that helped me was to put all of my primary hobby objects into one basket that I can tote my bed, desk, or the living room depending on where I wanted to get set up. If what I want isn’t within arm’s reach distance, then I won’t use it. So I’m not someone who really gets along with desk drawers as a result lol It takes too much effort to back up my chair, open the drawer, poke around for what I need, close it, and scooch in again. That might sound silly, but it just makes a difference to me to be able to pick up a basket that has my journals, colored pencils, tarot decks, etc. all in one. I’m definitely going to keep the same idea in practice when I move.

Writing: Generally speaking, I’ve been writing a little bit every single day. From June 23 - 2 July, I’ve updated my website with several substantive entries including rating and reviewing every book I’ve read between 2021 through the present, getting the ball rolling with two entries to my Intuitive Tarot Study project, and reflections on solo journaling for my Games section. Offline, I have also been writing as part of my tarot meditations for the past week or so. I’m hoping that I can continue to keep this up more consistently throughout the next stretch of the season.

Art: I’ve made it around the halfway point for my 100 Portrait Study project, and doodled a few adorable Moon screenshot redraws. Aside from that, however, I haven’t really been doing much when it comes to developing my art skills. I’m also okay with this! Although I do want to get back to it, I want to do so when I’m ready for it rather than forcing myself to do it. If I’m on a writing kick right now, that’s perfectly fine.

Meditation: As mentioned earlier, I made an earnest effort to get back into doing daily tarot about a week or so ago. Every morning after doing my skincare, I’ll look up a spread, shuffle up my cards, talk myself through my interpretation, and then jot down notes to myself in my journal. Eventually, I would like to do an evening spread — even a solo card draw — so that I can think intentionally back on where I began the morning. Beyond tarot, I want to start incorporating breathing meditation and yoga into my routine, but since I am actively packing up my entire apartment to move across the country, this will probably have to wait.

Makeup Artistry: During my last check-in, I wrote that I would like to get caught up with my backlog of makeup photos on Instagram. I still haven’t done that just yet… but I have begun a new photo series that I’m pretty excited about! I’ve already downloaded reference photos, photographed two out of the nine looks I have brainstormed, and have taken notes for my remaining seven ideas. I really missed having this kind of creative spark for doing makeup and hope that when I finished this photoset, that I can dive into executing ideas that I set aside.

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress so far this season. I’ve been very good about resisting the temptation to spend money on my hobbies and instead work with all of the great things that I have. This is a huge deal to me since my birthday is right around the corner and I prioritized making more practical purchases (summer clothing) over indulgences like another tarot deck or eyeshadow palette.

The next month of summer is likely going to be more difficult since we have a long drive to make with our cats and need to apply for as many jobs as possible so that we can find our own place to live. My hope is that my routine is only disrupted during the move itself… but that might be wishful thinking. At minimum, I would like to try and make time for a little journaling throughout our trip so that I have a record of what I was thinking and feeling during that time. If I don’t wear a stitch of makeup, don’t so much as doodle in a margin, or even solo pull a tarot card, I would feel pretty satisfied.

After we’ve made it past the first hurdle of our move, I would like to get back to my routine in full, but I also want to be gentle with myself if I’m not able to do that. So much is going to change so fast and I know it’s not going to be easy. Besides, I can always roll summer season into fall.

August Check-In

It hasn’t been that long since my last entry, but since a lot has changed I thought this would be a good place for a quick reflection. On the very last day of July, I moved into my parents house for the foreseeable future (a.k.a. until my spouse and I find stable work.) To be honest.. I don’t feel like I’m in that much of a rush because nothing on the job market looks appealing to me, but I know I have to rip the bandaid off and at least get two applications sent out this week.

One of my biggest concerns in July was that the moving process was going to cause my routine to grind to a screeching halt. While I was on the road, I put writing on pause (for the most part; I did write in my journal at least once) along with art practice and reading. But I did my makeup on most of the days, at least something light, and did tarot for my wife and I in the hotel rooms. This meant I was still connected with routines that make me feel grounded and fulfilled.

One of my biggest concerns in July was that the moving process was going to cause my routine to grind to a screeching halt. While I was on the road, I put writing on pause (for the most part; I did write in my journal at least once) along with art practice and reading. But I did my makeup on most of the days, at least something light, and did tarot for my wife and I in the hotel rooms. This meant I was still connected with routines that make me feel grounded and fulfilled.

Since I had the foresight to pack my Instax in my backpack, I also took a few photos in the car on our trip. I’m far too precious with instant film and I’m glad that I let myself take pictures even if they didn’t always turn out very good. If I use up all of the film, I can always get more (as long as I budget for it that is.)

Now that I have been home for the entire first week of August, I am starting to get back into my routine: skincare in the morning, tarot and journal, makeup (including photographing the look + posting to Instagram), and then writing for my website. I’ve pulled my art supplies out occasionally, but I’m trying to take it one step at a time.

This is all to say that my worries about losing all of the progress that I have made didn’t come to fruition and I’m thankful for it! Even though adjusting to this new living arrangement has come with many challenges, my days still include plenty of moments that make me happy.

For the rest of the month, I want to work on sharing these interests with other people. My website is one way to do that, sure, but what made those nights in the hotel so heartwarming was being able to read tarot with my wife rather than just by myself. I want to try and find more time like that together and with other friends too.

September Check-In

So... I took a break.

It feels odd returning to blogging on my site after being absent for nearly an entire month, but I feel like I owe it to myself to get back in touch with writing in this capactity again. Is that not in the spirit of the depth season? Rekindling passions and seeking what sparks joy?

To be fair, I never stopped writing. I just shifted my gears. Instead of working on articles for my ongoing projects here, I kept up a daily Tarot journal using the Both Sides of the Tarot prompts by Owl and Bone. I've also been participating in two art prompts (Stephtember and Witchtember) and it has been so rewarding to let myself play with paint without worrying about what looks good or not.

Since one of my categories for the depth season was art or making things more broadly, I think it's good that I leaned into that energy. I'm a couple days behind, but I plan to get caught up tomorrow since I will have the evening to myself.

The newness of our move across the country has settled and now we're feeling a little restless of late since we have yet to receive any offers to interview for the dozens of jobs we have applied for. It's a long waiting game and one that tends to work much more in the favor of knowing someone who knows someone... which is kind of hard when all of your contacts are several states away.

But in terms of personal enrichment? I'm playing a game that is quickly becoming a fast favorite (Spiritfarer), continuing to meditate with the tarot, doodling/painting, and reading (Farm to Trouble at the moment - review will be posted when I finish it!) There's a heatwave coming in, but we do have autumn plans in spite of it... such as going to pumpkin and apple picks.

But I suppose the real questions are... what did I gain from my depth season? Am I going to continue this project?

Although I do feel that I have rekindled my apprecitation of hobbies that I had either set aside or wanted to take to another level, I don't know that I achieved what the "depth year" concept aims for in part because I had multiple categories and very unspecific goals. I think if I had stuck with some magical "one" thing, I would have fallen off and done something else anyway.

At least for now, I don't have plans to do a depth season for fall. I'll probably continue with what I have been doing already. Instead, I might use my blogging space to track some of my seasonal goals and work from there.

At the end of the month, I'll post a little archive of the tarot pulls and doodles that I have been working on for the past few weeks. Until then, I am officially signing off from the Summer 2022 Depth Season!