For many people the 1st of January delivers hopes and dreams of a better year to come. For some of us it evokes delusional thoughts. Like a red rag to a bull, it signals the time to make outrageous commitments to impossible and unearthly actions. Like some kind of fat, immoral and unfit super hero ( Slothman? Posturkeybum-woman? Dranktoomuchwineandcider-woman? ) you commit to losing 203kg in 3 weeks but decide to actually start this crusade when the Christmas food runs out ( because the chocolates were a gift and it would be rude not to eat them). You decide to run a marathon when the only previous running experience you have involves running for the bus. Of course there is also those who swear that this is the year they will do something to help out humanity, because liking a Facebook page that claims to stop cat’s being turned into seat warmers if it gets 99,000 hits no longer counts.
I’m not here to mock the efforts of my fellow man. Yes, I am some of the above. I will also be relieved when the Chrissy chocolates are finally gone, I cannot sit by and watch them shout helplessly from the plate ‘eat me’. It is of particular annoyance when the Quality Streets have whittled down to the last crappy toffee penny’s and that unidentified brown one that no one likes, and you feel like you have to eat them just to get a clean slate. I will also try and commit to running a half marathon, which may turn into just the 10km depending on how much time I can give to training , but at least this is attainable as I already love to run. But these are silly and superficial resolutions that ultimately will not affect anyone if they are not achieved.
I mentioned in my last blog, I want to make some big changes around our house and in our lives. I think by December I felt exhausted. Despite 2013 delivering me some of my most precious moments in life, it also handed me my worst. I was tired of the year and felt a real need for change. Not so much physical change, but a mental one. I want to start the New Year fresh and try to hold onto to some of that ‘January’ enthusiasm and positivity well into the year……well, at least June, or maybe this is too optimistic.
By February when most have returned to work and the daily grind begins to rear its ugly head, it becomes easy to slip back into our negative and unappreciative ways. Some events of last year made me sit up and appreciate. In those moments of clarity, nothing was more important than having people around me. The material world faded away and I was left feeling like more time should be spent working on ‘us’ and not the objects around us. I want to bottle this feeling and carry it with me, just to open the lid now and then and remember how I felt in my ‘shitty’ moments when I forget and lose my way. So that is what I want to do this year. I want to work on making life simple, stripping back our day to day lives, back to the core of what makes us happy, and that is family, love and the simple things in life.
Here’s what I am thinking:
I want my husband and I to save our ‘best’ for each other, not for complete strangers or for people at work. Let me explain. You know when you bump into someone accidentally and without seeing who it was you bumped, you provide a fabulously heartfelt apology? And then after realizing it was your husband or brother you say ‘ohh’ almost to say’ if I knew it was you I wouldn’t have bothered’. We tend to use our best manners, give our best compliments and allocate more patience to those who mean least to us, than we do for those closest to us.
I want our house to have less luxuries during ordinary time. I want my children to be excited by a trip to get ice cream, not expectant. This really hit home on a recent trip out to a Christmas show where we offered our son an ice-cream and he politely turned it down. I was left thinking ‘what is wrong with this kid? There were plenty of other children brimming with excitement at choosing their flavours and my son was here not even wanting one. It was because it wasn’t special anymore, ice-cream has become an everyday luxury for many children these days. Not by fault of their own, but by fault of their parents comfortable circumstances. I was particularly moved by a mother who had taken her children to the same show and had packed a picnic, and her two small children were quite content eating bananas and drinking cordial. I wondered if she was a single mum who had saved for months to take her children to a show that we decided to attend at the last minute. How lucky we are.
I want us to be more ‘present’. Instead of being behind a camera lens every time there is a memorable moment, how about actually seeing it through our own eyes and making a real memory? I am sick of being out and about and seeing parents watching their children grown up through their Iphone camera. In the line-up to see Santa this year I even saw a mother who was shouting so hard at her children to look at the camera, she hadn’t even realised that they weren’t really enjoying themselves at all, the smallest was bawling her eyes out. The mother kept persisting and I’m sure she would’ve posted the sensational picture online with some caring and loving hashtag about how nice the day was with her children. In reality they had a crap time being yelled at so mum could take a great picture for Facebook.
This leads me to another Iphone related resolution. There is no need to constantly check our phones to see who has made contact with us in the 2 seconds since we last looked. Our children do not need to look up to show us the tower they have just proudly built, and have to wait in line for us to check our Twitter accounts. Should they be coming second place to our fake online lives? Could we just wait until they aren’t in the room or have gone to bed? I’m sure if there is a major world event, we will find out in good time. It makes me sad to watch kids looking up to see if mum and dad were watching them swing themselves on the playground like ‘big boys’ for the first time only to see mum and dad staring like zombies at a plastic screen that appears to be constantly attached to their hand. This surely sends our kids the message that this plastic thing is more important to them. So whilst I cannot promise not to check my phone during the day, I do want to try and make sure that If I am missing out on a moment with my boys, that it is for something worthy. Give them their moments, there will come a day where they won’t ask us to look anymore.
I want to try and get out for a few more social drinks every now and then. I don’t want to look at others with envy when I hear they have been out socializing. Sometimes you need to find out for yourself that you would rather be at home and that the hangover isn’t worth it.
Finally, I want to spend more time worrying about people who also make it their job to worry about me. Someone once told me it is time to let go a little when ‘They are a priority in your life, but you are an afterthought in theirs’. Such true words. You can’t force people to care as much as you do about things in life, but you can certainly be less disappointed when it happens. The people who will sit by my side and hold my hand in the end are the people I want to appreciate this year.
So this is what I want us to try this year. I say try, because of course we aren’t perfect and a few falls are necessary on the way to actual change. Even if we can do a little bit of each of these, it will be an improvement. What are your resolutions for 2014?