I posted this on another old blog by accident. Whoops!
Aah, the freshness of a new year. All the idealistic posts and blogs about resolutions and diets and being the best you you can be.
Yeah, been there, done that, broken every resolution three times over.
But the thing is, this year is going to be different.
Child has started a new kinder. Drop-off is now traumatic for all of us but the educators are lovely and I love the feel of the centre. There are no bad habits from his old daycare there – we purposefully left the potty at home so he has to use the toilet there and none of the educators will cave into his tantrums to only eat bread for lunch. So, winning!
I’m starting a new job at the end of the month. It’s a big promotion at a new company and it’s terrifying but exciting at the same time. It just means January is a bit of same old same old until I start but I can deal with that.
So, changes are afoot whether we like it or not. So, in the spirit of the new, I’m going to list a few things I’d like to do or do more of in 2019. Think of them less as resolutions and more of ideas:
Get out for a walk before or after work more often. I walked at 5:45 this morning and it was a glorious start to the day. Let’s ignore the tantrum from the child at the idea of Mum going for a walk without him for the moment. That was not such a lovely way to start the day.
Write more. Look, I’m already doing it! Perhaps not every day but more. More than nothing (which is what I did in 2018) so I’m already winning.
Shop less. This is a perennial favourite but since I had my wardrobe cleared yesterday, there’s less of a reason to shop since I know exactly what I own and it all fits me. So, winning there.
Be more present. I am, like many, guilty of being on my phone or laptop too much and I want to find ways to reconnect with Hubby and Child more this year. We’ll see how that goes.
Read more. This goes under self-care because reading is time to myself and that is at a premium. Or rather, I’ve allowed it to be at a premium. So, read more. Don’t care what it is (no literary snobbery here) but spend more time reading.
And that’s doable I think. They’re not SMART goals; I’m refusing to quantify how many books to read or how many pages to write. Just more or less than I did in 2019.
I posted once in 2017 promising to post more and then stayed away from the keyboard for two whole years. Yeah, that went well.
I slept less in 2017 and 2018 than I thought was possible. I yelled more. I sighed a lot and lost my cool.
I lost my way too.
The Boy struggled with his business and his mood. Took a full-time gig to pay the bills and get him out of the isolation. Terrible idea that one. He’s back to his own gig and while the self-employed issues are still there, he’s happier.
I went from 3 days a week to 4 days a week, stressed about life, hated my projects, loved my team. Hated life. Learnt to accept it and “be an adult” and then decided nah, life’s too short.
So 2019 will be different. For starters, NEW JOB after being at my current job for 5 years. This is in turns exciting and bloody terrifying. It’s full time. It’s management. But it’s time for a push and a challenge. Don’t they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Well, I’m flipping that and taking the biggest leap I’ve taken in a long time.
I also took almost a year off reading anything. Seriously. I finished almost no books. I didn’t have the brain space to take anything in. Was I depressed? Maybe?
But I’ve started reading again. And I logged back into Goodreads and updated my TBR list a bit. I’m tweeting again. I’m exploring worlds other than Facebook parenting groups. I got new style this year and I lost weight (and then gained it back a bit but that’s life). I am not making New Year Resolutions because they’re doomed to fail. But I’m determined to be a bit more me in 2019. Whoever that is.
The last post I wrote here was from 2014. It’s now 2017. It’s been a while, to say the least. And I don’t know why I’m back since I don’t expect anyone to be reading this. But that was never the point really.
Three years. A lot can happen in three years.
IVF. Lots of needles, lots of tears, lots of joy.
An embryo. A baby. A toddler. Crazy times with my boy – he’s one bundle of energy!
Very little writing or reading or time to myself because the child is active and demanding of my time. I give it willingly sometimes and grudgingly other times – after 18 months of early mornings, sometimes not even coffee hits the sides and keeps my eyes open.
I am slowly reclaiming my space to read and refamiliarising myself with the keyboard. It’s no joke to say that it’s difficult to find your own space and self as a mother. I see my mother in myself and I wonder at all the things she missed when we were growing up. But of course, I grew up in a society with maids and nannies so there was always help, which was a good thing and a bad thing (obviously, not a society I want to bring up the child in). Reading – and, by extension, writing – is one way for me to carve out quiet time for me. Just me. Even if it does mean reading in spurts outside daycare.
And writing? What of writing? What shall I test my keyboard skills with? Perhaps reviews and rambles about books. Perhaps thoughts on my No Buying Crap year? Perhaps thoughts on why the hell marriage and parenting is so hard. Perhaps everything and nothing. Who knows. My writing skills are rusty and dusty and all things unhoned. And they need honing.
Not figuratively. Literally. A dear friend passed away after battling leukaemia for the past three years. She was 27. Newly married.
And I know this is complete cliche, but life is too short.
Too short to live a life governed by fear.
Too short to be so stuck in a rut that you call a comfort zone.
Tonight, I was telling a friend just that and I got told that life is not that simple. She went off at me about how just because she’s unhappy at work doesn’t mean she can chuck it in and yes, life is short but money is important. And I got angry but then I realised she was angry at herself. Which is easier than making a change because change is hard.
I never used to think of myself as competitive. Whenever friends of mine would try harness competition as a motivating tool, I’d quietly make excuses and sit it out. Competition didn’t motivate me, I’d say. It made me freak out and want to vanish because I hated the idea of failure but I was never as driven as they were to win. It was a catch-22 situation that I had no desire to change. I was happy in my mediocrity. It was safe, secure – nobody was fighting me for my place and that was fine.
Fine. What a boring place to be.
But apparently I am intensely motivated by competition but not overt competition. I don’t respond to someone pushing me to a target necessarily or yelling at me, bootcamp-style. No, I respond to the green-eyed monster.
A friend of mine, not known for her writing, told me this week that she’s writing a novel. Just like that. No preamble, no nothing. Just that she’s writing a novel. And I found myself annoyed. Who’s she to take that away from me? Not that she’s intentionally taking my crown, of course. Not that I’ve actually ever written a complete novel either. It’s not really my crown to take if I’m not driven enough to do it. But the thought of her writing a novel while I whinge and moan about how I’d love to write but I don’t actually write is galling beyond belief.
Normally I’d simply bitch and moan and then forget about it. But this time, I’ve been writing my Morning Pages most days and I have a good start on a short story for class, due next week. Yes, I’m still procrastinating but I’m not looking at it as laziness because my procrastination involves reading and watching documentaries, which feeds directly into my creativity. It’s all about feeding the creative brain. I’m using this little green-eyed monster (which I’ve written about before – I’m nothing if not consistent) to my advantage. This is not about writing a novel just to spite her. It’s about looking at what I felt when I read her email and translating that into action.
I don’t want to be fine anymore. I want to be creative and inspired and fulfilled. And if it takes a little competitive spirit to get me there and keep me there, so be it.
It’s amazing – I restarted doing Morning Pages on Wednesday and already, three days in, my mind is buzzing with blog posts – or perhaps blog rants. I have posts in my mind about the ridiculousness of body image and gender and the idea that writing about body image in relation to weight excludes men, because obviously men don’t care about their weight – only muscles and penis size.
I have posts in my mind about being frustrated with people who hate something but can’t tell you why.
I have posts in my mind about the negative voices I hear, the ones who tell me that I am a terrible friend, a terrible writer and I’ll never amount to much. That’s not a post I really want to write but it’s one that I think needs to be written in order to take the sting out of it all.
But most importantly, I have words. Buzzing through my head. Making their way to my fingertips, begging to come out and play. And it’s wonderful. I don’t know whether it’s because school is back and I’m thinking in words again or whether it’s because I started the Morning Pages, but whatever it is, I don’t want it to go away. Words make me happy.
But you work with words every day, I hear you say. That’s true but they’re not my words. They’re words within the constructs of a genre, words that come second to the beautiful images of houses and buildings and details. And they should be second because the focus is not on the words. The words are supporting characters and I want my words to be the stars again.
So my post today is more a case of getting some words out, getting my mind working and not making any promises. But I have ideas and words swirling around my head and I love it. The fact that I’m getting up at 6:45am to write my Morning Pages before going to work is worth every little bit of it.