I shot my mouth off and agreed to this piece because I thought it would be easy. In theory it should be but something changed in 2015. A tiny part of my existence clicked and everything was different – somehow ineffably and intangibly. After wilderness years, there is hope.
Christmas used to be a big deal in our home. A really, really, really big deal. It was swags and bows and lights and runners. Wreaths and baubles and tree toppers and crackers. Champagne and ham and pickles and roulades. Everything was perfect. Immaculate. Extravagant. Glamorous. Hedonistic. Fun…so much fun.
We never grew up. Christmas was still a children’s holiday – but for grownups. The decorations, presents, food and traditions stayed the same. The friends, the drink, the parties and the games got more adult. Naturally.
That was okay. Well, it was an orgy – but who objects to one of those every so often? It’s not like it was every weekend.
Then I had kids. It’s ironic that children changed my attitude to the holidays. Totally – and negatively. I feel ashamed to say it but I just haven’t enjoyed Christmas since I found out that I was pregnant with my eldest daughter in December of 2010. Since then it’s just been another chore. Something else to put on a shopping list or cook for or pick up after. One long round of working for the man. Except it’s not a man – it’s two little girls who I love all day, every day. Christmas is that stuff with decorations. And decorations mean fuss and dusting and time and energy.
Christmas holidays are tough on parents. Nobody says it but it’s true. I can’t wait for next Christmas – when we hope to have lights on our beautiful tree for the first time in years. It’s a small thing but it’s symbolic to me. It will mean that the girls can look after themselves a little bit more. I do miss days spent cradling a baby sometimes but I’m not going to infantalise my children. I want to bring up strong, independent young women. Outgoing, outspoken and free. Free from the tyranny of expectations. Free from the ideas that may be projected upon them by other people.
I don’t like the idea of resolutions. I like resolve, however. It’s the stuff that wins campaigns. I need some!
Instead of resolutions I have plans. Plans don’t fail. It’s that simple. They have to be adapted, sometimes, of course. Their focus may change for all kinds of reasons. They may become anachronistic but they can be dropped in that case.
New year’s resolutions are the proverbial sledgehammer cracking a nut. They lack subtlety, finesse and elegance. An adult cannot live in today’s society and not expect things to change. Things that may very well confound a blanket resolution. To this end, my one plan is quite general…in 2016, I resolve to fully exploit the potential of my blog.
I have lots of things to do in order to manage that but I have a whole year to do it in. I don’t have to hit the ground running. I have the idea and I have made a start. That’s enough – I’ve already achieved something important.
To me, a change should improve things. Banning something entirely and then punishing oneself horribly when I fall off the wagon is not how I would help a friend to make changes. I would advise a friend to have a goal and then ask them how they plan to achieve it. I would ask them about contingences. I would see how I could help if things got off track and maybe even question the wisdom if I felt it might prevent a disaster.
It confounds me that I’ve never been as logical with myself. Well, that has changed. I’m easing myself into the new year with an Instagram Challenge that means that I have to add one picture per day. I’ve done two now and I’m realising how much I love that social media channel. It’s fun.
I’m also part of a couple of other projects which should allow me to formulate a business plan for the blog. By the end of the year, I want it to look like an online magazine…but I’m giving myself a year to achieve that in. A whole year…in the meantime I have lots to do – I need new writers and I need inspiration.
If you think you can help, get in touch – just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, enjoy January.
With my best wishes,
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