I have a confession to make. It turns out that I don’t, in fact, love the Holiday Season as much as I thought I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big meal and getting to spend some time with family and friends, but it is all starting to feel like too much. Too much eating and drinking, too much excess, too much not knowing what day it is, and dare I say it, even too much togetherness. I find myself really looking forward to things getting back to “normal.”
I am probably in the minority of people who can genuinely say they look forward to January. To me it feels like an enormous reset button and presents a great opportunity for a fresh start. Few things excite me more than opening a new diary, and thinking about all of the possibility its blank pages contain. All of the unimagined challenges, triumphs and everything in between, which will soon be jotted throughout, fill me with a sense of optimistic enthusiasm.
If you have started to think that this post is about New Years resolutions, then I can assure it is not. In truth, my jury is still out about them. In 20 odd years of making them, I would struggle to think of one I have managed to stick to, and I am quite sure that I am not alone in this. Part of me believes that sitting, pen in hand, on the last day of the year, making lists of ill defined and arbitrary objectives is only setting ourselves up for failure.
As we get ready for 2017’s imminent arrival, I have decided instead to resolve only to do my best. I know that this probably sounds trite and overly simplistic, but it feels to me like it covers all the bases. If 2016 has taught me anything, it is that I have no idea what is going to happen next. So, I have promised myself, that whatever I decide to undertake, I will do it with a good heart and a clear mind.
By a good heart I mean that I will be careful about the demands I let other people make of me. Often we take on so much, because we don’t want to say no, that we end up resenting it. We can end up feeling like everyone wants a piece of us. I have discovered lately that when this happens, it isn’t the other person’s fault, but entirely my own. As Matthew Kelly says
“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.”
I have had to remind myself of this so much this week, and tell myself that “no Arwen, you can’t expect to fit months worth of catching up with people into the week long winter break!”
As for the clear mind, this is a little more straight forward. I have been taking a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and clearing out the clutter. This all started a few months back. The girl I shared an office with was heading off on maternity leave, and there was a new guy coming it. The office itself is about as large as a box bedroom. I worried that a man and a woman in such tight confines might feel a little claustraphobic. So, before he started I decided to clear as much as possible out of the office. Years worth of boxes and files were sent to archive. (I will admit, I was ruthless, but so far nobody has looked for anything!)
As the clutter began to be removed from my work space, I honestly could not believe how much better I felt. The air seemed lighter somehow. I felt like my head was clear and I could breathe easier. It was amazing.
Since that happened, I have been trying to take the same approach in my home. My catchphrase for the last few months has been “is it OK to throw this out?” I have taken countless car loads to the dump and boxes to the charity shop. The latest mini clear out included no fewer than 26 coffee mugs! I can’t begin to tell you how cathartic and addictive it is to literally put your house in order.
Such a simple thing has had such a profound effect. I am calmer and sleeping better. Getting ready to meet a friend for dinner last night, in my cleared out bedroom, was an absolute pleasure. Even being able to put our Christmas presents away was revolutionary. Normally we would be still tripping over them until well into the New Year! I feel like I am getting ready to welcome 2017 as I would an honoured guest, with a tidy home and an expectant heart.
As much as I can’t wait for the New Year (and I really can’t) I am tying not to wish this time away. Before long we will be back in the routine of working, training, meal prepping etc. and longing for the next break! A good friend of mine describes these periods as being like deserts between rivers. I think this is particularly apt as it is almost impossible to appreciate the one, in the absence of the other.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported me in my endeavours this year. I wish you all the very best for 2017. Be well and don’t forget to have an adventure or two xxx