I’m back for a new year, which, by rights, feels as though it is starting properly now. It’s February. School holidays are over, the kids are back at school, routines are starting to be re-established, and we’re now looking forward. Hello, 2018, here we come!
Before it’s lost completely, I don’t want to lose the memory of January. Do you share my love of this transition month? It feels to me a month where anything is possible, there is time to relax without the hyper-pace of the rest of the year, and there is space to breathe and decide on what’s important. I particularly noticed it this year when my husband and I had an extended break and we could really slow down and enjoy each other’s company.
Highlights for me were, once I adjusted to not having a long list of actions for each day that I need to tick off (habits are hard to break, and I did keep slipping back):
- The opportunities to explore new places, with day trips, excursions, as well as a few days camping at Mt Arapiles in Western Victoria.
- Watching the kids try new things – a highlight watching my son overcoming a fear of heights (trust the rope!) and delighting himself in his enjoyment of abseiling, and seeing the other (who has no fear) embrace cooking. Long may it continue!
- Developing a slower daily rhythm (sleeping in, reading or playing games, beach mornings or afternoons – or both, walks, dinner, repeat).
- Seeing my husband visibly unwind as he disappeared off to what became a semi-regular afternoon nap, and how it recharged him.
- Spending unhurried time with friends and being more spontaneous – when the scope is more open and the time management urgency is removed, it’s amazing what opportunities occur.
- Gently, progressively, developing and implementing better systems for our household and for me, personally, and organising spaces better, ready for the year ahead.
- Letting options for 2018 unfurl – exploring them, testing them, and then starting to try them out rather than rushing to make a decision.
Now the new year has started. And it will be a year of new adventures:
- One child (while I can still call him that) is now at Secondary School (gulp!) with the adjustments that involves (two days in, so we all have a lot to learn).
- The other child is moving closer to the end of primary school and she’s relishing the additional opportunities this provides – I’m so proud to see her confidence growing.
- I changed jobs at the end of last year and was fortunately able to ease in slowly. But the hours will increase to a regular four days a week (sometimes more if needed), and, if I’m not conscious, I will slip back into a last minute, rushed approach to life. I’ve had time to really think about what’s important and, more importantly, start to make steps towards achieving them. But very early days, and I would like to engrain more into habits. Let’s see if, this time, I can have more traction!
- After being nonplussed about turning a significant age at the end of last year (really? It’s just an arbitrary number and we don’t need to make a fuss … etc), I’ve been noticing my husband looking through a bucket list he didn’t realise he had, and exploring a backlog of activities and goals he never though he could justify. Unless we somehow win a big lottery (which, for a start, would involve buying a ticket – I think that’s how it works?), that won’t include retirement any time soon (sorry), but long service leave, which he is currently taking, isn’t too bad, is it? I’m curious to see what lies ahead – he is currently off on a training course and exam for a motorbike licence as we speak, so who knows what will be next, and I think it could be a fun year!
Finally, two aspects I realise are really important relate to this blog.
- I realise how much I relish having a forum to explore ideas and bounce them off other people. And I have an idea – a clearer focus – which I am delighted about and am going to start drafting some content later today after I finish here.I hope you will like it – and I hope to see if it’s something that others can also relate to, and help refine. Ohhh, exciting! (I am hoping to share soon – just need more content, and work out the best way to frame it up!)
- I also realise that I find it hard to switch off and genuinely relax (as opposed to procrastinate, or avoid, or slump, or many other things that are neither productive nor rejuvenating). That’s my biggest personal goal for the year: to improve my ability to switch on when needed, and then also to switch off and relax.The blog is part of it – but it’s my hobby not my job (because, as I said, I have one of those). I’ve struggled with the obligation side of things and it has sucked a little of the joy away.
And so, while I am back, and aim to be more productive, and know that good things often take effort and can be tricky and hard, I am going to try to see this as less of a chore and more fun.
This will be a shift for me, although I don’t why I felt it was becoming a burden. (I mean, I didn’t even have an end goal for the blog, and not many readers still, as I haven’t got my head around the business side of blogging. It was all very weird). Anyway, we’ll see the implications of a different mental approach – watch this space.
In the meantime, I have a dog waiting patiently at my feet, a few more thoughts to tighten up while we walk, and a beautiful, sunny day to explore.
I hope your year is off to a great start! Do share what you’re looking forward to, and what aspects of 2017, and any break, you’re looking to keep hold of?