January 2016, some thoughts
It's taken me a little while to get round to this post. I wanted to take a little time to think
about the sort of intentions I have for 2016. I don't really like the word "resolution" - it's too serious and always makes me think about giving up sugar or getting thin or other miserable things. Resolutions always seem to be about self-denial and cutting out pleasurable things. I've learnt from experience that there's something about making a resolution that makes them very difficult to keep!
Yet, there is something appealing about a brand new year stretching ahead and I'm a big planner so my mind naturally wants to start making lists and making plans at this time of year, and I don't think that's a bad thing. It's good to think about the sort of things that make you happy, the kind of balance you want to achieve and what is important and not so. I love the promise of a fresh start (even if it is a bit of a fantasy) and I find it a pleasurable process thinking about what I would like to feature in the next 12 months.
So, the spirit of self-kindness and not-being-too-hard-on-ourselves (something that I constantly have to work at), I am thinking of my resolutions as intentions - things that I want to do this year, things that I know will bring me pleasure and I would like to make more time for. Apart from slowing down on the alcohol for a month or two, I'm not cutting out, I'm not pushing myself, I'm just remembering what makes me happy and trying to make that a bigger part of this year.
So here goes:
This year I have thought of a watchword, a word that will hopefully occupy my mind and act as a guide over the next 12 months. My 2016 word is "patience". Patience is something I have struggled with since I was a little girl and I still do now. I'm not talking about patience with other people (although I do have difficulty with that from time to time), but rather patience in life more generally. I'm not very good at waiting for things, letting time stretch, taking things slow. As soon as I have an idea, I want it done now, this moment, yesterday. If I set a goal for myself, I want to achieve it today, tomorrow, within a week max. On the one hand this means that most of the time I am highly productive (if slightly manic), but it also means that when stuff doesn't happen as quickly as I'd like it to, I get frustrated and despondent and feel a bit of a failure. I'm starting to learn that stuff takes time, that change can't always happen immediately, that life develops gradually and there is a lot of joy in the process as well as the end goal, and that you can get to where you want to eventually, with persistence and patience.
I'm going to try really hard with the whole patience thing. I might even make a little banner to remind myself during the year!
My other intentions are more like plans really - things that I'd like to do or try in 2016:
. Over the last few months I have started weaving small wall hangings and have become totally hooked. I did weaving in school and have remembered how lovely it is to feel the yarn in your fingers and watch the weaving emerge from the loom, line by line. I am only using a simple hand loom at the beginning and have only made a handful of weavings, but over the next year I would like to do more, perhaps get a bigger loom and maybe start a weaving course to get better.
I tend to wax and wane with reading and although on holiday I will happily read all
day and get through book after book in quick succession, at home I find it much more difficult to find the time and inclination to read. There's always something more pressing, more immediate. In the last month I have put more effort and time into reading and of course have loved it. So I am going to try to read a book a month over the next year, and I may even start joining in with
#ayearinbooks if motivation starts to wane!
. I love love love the countryside (it's cos I'm Welsh) and I increasingly miss it as I get older. Our local park is great and even a 5 minute walk around it clears the cobwebs and makes your heart sing, but however much I pretend, it's not the same as proper, wild, messy open-ended fields and sky. Christmas and New year were full of walks and wandering outside and it made me so happy. So this year R and I are hopefully going to explore more of the countryside near us and ramble a bit more.
Go slow and gentle (if you can)
. I'm not a slow-liver naturally. I'm a I-have-a-million things-in-my-head, got-to-get-them-done, no-I can't-sit-down-and relax-and-enjoy-this-cup of-tea-cos-I've-got-to-get-stuff-DONE-NOW-kind of a person. Yep, I'm a nightmare to live with. I know myself enough by now to realise I probably won't ever change, but I do think there is something in the whole slow living idea - the idea of slowing things down, taking time to enjoy the process, the moment, the simple everyday pleasures and experiences of every day life. I admire that sentiment and I do try to keep it in mind. January is usually quite a tough month for me, but this year I have really enjoyed its quietness, watching the weather change, being at home lots, making stuff, cooking, getting cosy, sleeping lots, taking long hot baths. It's been good and I want that to continue. So I'm hoping for more of that lovely stuff over the next year too.
. I get a lot of pleasure out of my blog, especially reading over my old posts and remembering little details of what we did, things that I would otherwise no doubt have forgotten. I treat my blog like a journal and I think it will probably stay that way. Maybe this year I will write a bit more about myself, share a little more than I usually do. I guess I'll see how it goes....
That's the idea anyway. I'm looking forward to all of these things and hope I make them happen over the next 12 months. But if they don't, then that's ok too!
Neither Bobby nor Bruce have any trouble with slow living. They're total naturals.
I hope you are having a gentle January and are being kind to yourselves. Here's to many lovely months to come.