More than half-way through January and I’m just about getting used to typing 201-9, at last, as I drag my sorry arse out of 201-8.
I’ve blogged before about setting a theme each year, and how it helps to focus my mind. Last year was the year of Renewal. And with it came a new pet (big-up Honey, the World’s longest cat), a new tattoo, a new childminder for O, a couple of new holiday destinations checked off the bucket list and, of course, a new job.
As 2018 came to an end, I felt strangely uplifted and optimistic about this next 12 months, and what I might achieve. There’s been a subtle melancholy to the last couple of years, bound tightly with the joy of having O in my life.
As any parent would testify, the highs are high but the lows are so, so low.
This last couple of weeks, as I cast around to find the right rudder to steer me, the same word kept surfacing – perseverance.
Perseverance is stubbornness with purpose
I can say with confidence that I’m a patient person, and that I like to listen. But I’ve never been particularly keen on digging my heels in and really persevering with something. Really dedicating myself 100%. Going above and beyond.
The few times I have, I’ve surprised myself with what I’ve achieved. But I dwell on what it takes out of me, too. When I pushed so, so hard to pass my driving test I was incredibly proud of myself. But now here I am, four years later and back at square one, trying to learn again. Finding that I’m a dithering, bordering on dangerous, driver.
I don’t just dither behind the wheel, either. I procrastinate when I could be parenting. I flop out in front of Netflix when I could be writing. And I bugger about on social media ALL THE TIME.
So, to perseverance. And putting my mind to stuff. And having the wisdom to know when I should hang up my boots.
My hopes for 2019
When you set a theme it doesn’t press down on you like a New Year’s Resolution. It doesn’t taunt you like a goal. It just hums along in the background, nudging you from time to time to reset the dial. My hope is that perseverance will gradually creep up my spine and straighten my defeated demeanour… Let’s see.
1. KEEP DRIVING
This is down to practice, practice, practice. Plus a dash of confidence.
I recently read an article about running mantras, and the positive effect they have on elite runners’ performance.
My mantra for when I’m doing my refresher lessons is:
“I’m a driver. I’m driving.”
I may be completely rubbish at driving but, with practice, I need to believe that I can do it. Even here in London, where people are so aggressive that I nearly had two crashes on my last lesson.
Deep breaths. Mantra… Relaaaax.
2. KEEP WRITING
This blog has been patchy at best. I hoped to write once a week but averaged once a month, if that.
I know I can write. And I’ll write a lot better if I practice.
3. KEEP HEALTHY
This is tied into my uneasiness about being an Older Mother. I’m frightened that I will miss out on O growing up because I spent most of my adult life drinking and not exercising. That I will reap what I’ve sowed, heath-wise.
I can’t bring myself to sign up for some sort of extreme challenge like a marathon, but I’m keen to keep pushing myself to:
- Walk to work (and walk home when the clocks go forward and the nights are lighter)
- Not drink on work nights (unless out – all bets are off, then!)
- Cook at least one meal from scratch per week
These are pretty modest aims, I admit. Having gone to many Slimming World groups over the last couple of years, it slowly dawned on me that I was the only one struggling with not drinking. The ‘points’ load of a large glass are such that, if you’re sticking to the plan, you can only have one large glass a day. No one else seemed bothered by this, but it’s consistently been my downfall.
Am I the only person who likes a good glass of red after a long day? I suspect I’m becoming a dying breed.
4. KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOUR
Christ, if I achieve all this this year – stuff I’ve been trying to achieve all my adult life – it’ll be a bloody miracle. I realise these are hopes and it may turn out that I really, really shouldn’t be on the road. And that my writing ambitions are completely ill-founded.
I’ll probably be sat on this same sofa in a year’s time making the same commitments to a new year, and a new me.
One of my favourite quotes is: “Man plans, God laughs”.
So, these are my hopes and I plan to do what I can. Life will get in the way, of course, but I’ll persevere none-the-less.