I’ll be honest. I quite like January. Not for the short days and grim weather obviously. It doesn’t matter that I’ve spent my whole life in the North of the UK; I will never get used to those early mornings when I have to drop my child at the school bus stop IN THE DARK for heaven’s sake. That’s insane and always will be. I will never love the gloomy afternoons where the day is basically over by 3pm.
No, my fondness for January is all about the optimism. There’s a feeling of newness in the atmosphere, of possibilities, fresh starts and crisp new diaries. In January, we somehow have that little bit more belief that things can change. That we can change! Even if we have spent all of December, or, let’s be honest, the whole of October, November and December getting fatter, poorer, and generally slacker at everything, January gives us hope!
I usually make at least a dozen New Year’s resolutions. I make them willy nilly. (I break them willy nilly too but that’s another story) And this year of course I found myself doing it all over again. You know the deal. I’ll eat only whole foods. I’ll squat every day. I’ll read the classics instead of scrolling Instagram. I’ll play Monopoly with my children after they’ve finished their homework and the PlayStation will be for School Holidays Only. And on it went…
Until I stopped myself. Of course, deep down I know how unrealistic, and, frankly, ridiculous it is to believe that anyone could make all these changes overnight. The mundane truth is that for most of us, change happens slowly. And it never happens in a straight line. It’s like learning to ski or to dance the quickstep. It’s bumpy. Its messy. It’s two steps forwards and then five back again. But the mundane truth is not what sells diet plans or glossy magazines….
So for this year, I’ve decided to make peace with messy and mundane. To make friends with bumpy and realistic. I’m trading in my twenty odd idealistic resolutions for just one….. intention. When I actually stopped to think about all the different ways in which I wished my behaviour was different, one common theme emerged. There was one thread running through my clutch of daft resolutions and I decided to pay attention to it. Lurking within all my pipe dreams of eating less, reading more, being better at recycling and playing more piano was a real and genuine longing to do a little less CONSUMING in my life and just a little more CREATING.
So much of our Western culture sets us up for a consumptive lifestyle. We are bombarded with messages from advertisers who tell us they understand how busy and stressed we are, so we “deserve” that new dress, or a meal out at that new restaurant. The winter weather doesn’t help. When we’ve worked hard all day it’s so much easier to watch Netflix than it is to suggest a game of cards with the kids or to do a bit of baking, or photography or whatever our creative thing would be. (Mine is certainly not photography.) But I do have a beautiful piano and I far too often tell myself that “I’ll do some practise tomorrow.” And there have been more occasions than I would care to admit when I have given in to the pull of the M&S chill cabinet when, for just a little extra effort, I could have cooked up some leftovers, not just saving a tenner, but also putting just a tiny bit less stress on the planet.
So there you have it. I’ve taken a risk and written it in black and white. A little less consumption and a little more creation. Or should that be creativity? I don’t think it matters. You know what I mean. And you can keep me accountable….Eek!
So what about you? I’d love to know your intention for 2018? Maybe it’s a hope or a dream, or maybe it’s just one word which you hope will be your companion and inspire you in small way in the coming year. Let me know in the comments!
Here’s to making messy and bumpy progress in 2018 and having some fun along the way….
Happy New Year!