So here we are, another year, and I’m not so sure how I feel; the bush fires and red skies of south west Australia absolutely horrifying. I find it very difficult thinking of the new year as happy when there are so many fleeing their burning homes for the supposed safety of the beaches. Day has turned to ochre night, clean air scarce, and their summer has barely begun. I am so very grateful for our heavy skies and rain and mud. But then there will always be suffering somewhere when the clock chimes midnight – is this year any different? Perhaps it is…
Right now I wish the silence out side my window would blanket the rest of the world. I love how cocooning quiet can be. On Christmas day, in between our main course and pudding, me and her went for a walk mid afternoon, and apart from occasional birdsong and our voices, there wasn’t a sound, not one hum from a car. We stopped in the middle of the road and I said, ‘Sshh, listen to that – that’s the sound of Christmas day.’ ‘I love that Mummy,’ she said, ‘it’s just you and me and our stuffed tummies.’
That was my favourite moment of Christmas, and playing Exploding Kittens (no animals were hurt), and finishing a jigsaw puzzle that has lived on the kitchen table for the best part of a year, and watching the new Star Wars movie twice in fancy reclining chairs, and cuddles and mince pies and buttered panettone, and having conversations in ‘jazz’ and reading together, and finally finishing, after four months, Elena Ferrante’s, sometimes arduous, Neapolitan saga – Margaret Atwood’s, The Testaments, now feels like a breath of fresh air.
On New Year’s Eve, I went to bed at ten.
I set intentions for 2019. The results were a little hit and miss. I demanded too much from myself, my health paying the price. Writing didn’t go so well – although I did enjoy a couple of retreats and a one-day editing course – the focus yet again on admin and the day job post divorce. But… I remortgaged my home, my home now completely belonging to me; I sorted out a lot of admin including various insurances and a will; I had a dedicated space built in my garden, a log cabin, for my work; I even had my loft boarded out and safer ladders installed – so many boxes I haven’t seen in years; now for a mammoth spring clean. And I addressed my health issues, turned my lifestyle around – an improved diet, lots of yoga and walking and good old fashioned fresh air…
But this wasn’t just the ending of a year, but the closing of a decade, and probably the most important decade of my life; my beautiful daughter entered my world; I discovered I could write – I wrote a blog or two, I began a novel, self published a pamphlet, I even won a writing prize; I became a home owner and a home counties girl; I got divorced, survived post natal illness; I have two new tattoos and a ginger cat; and now I’m negotiating life on my own terms with the most wonderful human I know.
I don’t want to burden myself with too many intentions and self imposed expectations in 2020. But here’s a few things I would like to do. I would really like to finally finish editing my novel, not that I think it’s actually going to get published, but more to have that satisfying sense of completion; the end, end. I would like to create more space, to let my senses re-observe and re-absorb their surroundings, to allow new ideas to ebb and flow. I would like to breathe new life into this blog, to try to post every season. And I would really like a new bath room, and to feel soft new carpet under my feet.
My word for this year: Boundaries.