A Claytons Resolution

June

It’s June. We’re almost at the middle of the year 2020.

So, how’s it going for you so far?

Yeah. I know.

I doubt any of us is experiencing the year we thought we would on January 1. Nothing quite like a global economic downturn on the back of a global pandemic to put a kink in your plans.

Although, as the world protests and campaigns against racial injustice on a scale not seen in decades, I can’t help thinking that this forced global awareness and time to reflect has some up sides.

I’m wondering if you made any New Year Resolutions for this year and how they’re faring in this “new normal”? Are you still on track as planned, on track but in a modified form or have you abandoned them altogether?

Did you give up on “going to the gym every week” or just adjust it to online classes? Did the lockdown actually make it easier to “learn a new skill”? Did it become just too challenging to “spend more time with friends”? Did you lose your job making it impossible to “save more money”?

2020 new year resolution

At the end of last year, I announced that I wasn’t making any resolutions for 2020 because the family was already facing enough challenges with an ending of long term employment and high stakes final years of education. Just surviving the year intact was enough of a goal to achieve.

But now, at the midpoint of a year that threw in even more challenges to exacerbate the ones we were already facing, I’ve realised I actually did make a resolution of sorts. A Claytons resolution. The resolution you have when you don’t have a resolution.*

At the end of last year, on the back of some work I had begun on improving my mental health, I made a commitment that in 2020 I would put my wellbeing first, closely followed by the needs of my own family. I would no longer be “on call” to others and if something wasn’t right for me and my wellbeing, then I would politely refuse/withdraw.

I also took on a mantra from a card I read early in the year: “I did not cause it. It is not my job to cure it.”

This wasn’t easy. I’ve been known to answer the call when unwell, when it inconvenienced my own family and when it probably wasn’t appropriate and it’s in my nature to want to step in and make things better in any way I can. But I knew I couldn’t go on the way I had the last few years and for my own health I had to change.

Of course, when the pandemic and subsequent restrictions hit, it became even more important to try and maintain this promise to myself as anyone who has followed me through the last three months will be aware.

But with support, I stuck to my plan. And, as it turned out, reaped the rewards.

Lessons Learned:

  1. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. In fact you owe it to the people around you to do so.
  2. You can look after your own wellbeing and good things will still come your way.

Even in the midst of all the challenges this year has wrought, I have been blessed. I’ve reached out and discovered the true friends in my life, been acknowledged and respected in my work, found joy in running for fun and explored new places to be fed spiritually and creatively.

Looking at stars

 

My wish for you at this midpoint of A Year For The Ages is that you are finding the kindnesses in life and that the route you are travelling while occasionally bumpy has stretches of smooth straight road in the company of people you love and who love you just as equally.

Blessings from my heart to yours.

 

*This phrase comes from a drinks commercial in the 1970s whose catchphrase entered the Australian vernacular to mean anything that you have without it really being that thing. More info here. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a video of the original ad with Jack Thompson but here’s a blooper:

 

 

34 thoughts on “A Claytons Resolution

  1. I know I have found some absolute joy in sharing some moments with a very dear friend, who doesn’t mind that I muck up the words……or like a bargain…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad to hear that you are one of the people who has managed to thrive during this odd time … although I use the word ‘thrive’ rather cautiously since it can appear to be insensitive. Overall, I suspect the introverts have managed better than most because we embraced the need for self-isolation a long time ago … and this pandemic has ‘gifted’ us with large swathes of it.

    I used my time taking online classes and painting, painting, painting. Weekly calls with certain friends and my sons were like anchors to cling to. I too have discovered where my true friendships were. Some will not survive. It took a global crisis to recognize that our core values weren’t aligned.

    In fact, ‘align’ was the word I had chosen for 2020 and when I consider my mid-year status, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. It’s unfortunate that it took a pandemic to give me the time and space to focus, but I think I used it well.

    I’m glad that Australia is one of the countries that has navigated the pandemic well. Unfortunately, Toronto is still a national hotspot with over 200 new cases a day and the tragedies in our long term care homes has been nothing short of shameful.

    The world as we knew it has been turned upside down, and I can only hope that something better will eventually emerge

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get what you mean about using the word ‘thrive’ but it is appropriate. I certainly got more work than I think I otherwise might have without the lockdown and I think that was because I was the right person for that situation and that in turn made me feel really appreciated and regarded. And it was certainly easier to be in a family of introverts who didn’t really notice the social isolation all that much.
      It’s been interesting to see the relationships that grew and the ones that needed to be discarded through this process. It’s hard and I’m sorry you’ve had to endure it but I think life will be better for it.
      It’s good to hear you’ve made the progress you hoped to even with the massive change in circumstances. I’m all for finding the silver linings in this pandemic. I think I’ve progressed further in some things that needed to be done than I otherwise would have.
      Yes, we’ve been incredibly fortunate. I’m actually still a bit shocked at how our ideologically-driven government actually set aside that ideology and did what needed to be done to protect us all.
      Stay safe and keep aligning and growing. 🙂

      Like

  3. Where on earth did that muffed take come from ? – FASCINATING ! 😀
    I am extremely happy to know the place you’re in now. Like, extremely !
    Can’t remember the last time I made any NY resolutions; but hindsight tells me I should’ve resolved not to have manic dreams ! (A side-effect of self-isolation, I read ..)
    Lovely shot of the night sky: go to https://pdxknitterati.com/2020/06/08/coming-soon-half-the-knit-sky/ to see a knitted version made by my favouirite designer. I twatched a Vogue Knitting Live/Zoom lecture she gave this-morning, about blocking. Luckily for me AND Sarah, the cardigan is fine, even though my blocking was .. ahh .. amateurish.
    XO

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My one word for 2020 was/is Simplify; wrote about it today, oddly enough. While in the larger sense of things nothing so far in 2020 has been simple [pandemic and protests], on a personal scale I’ve been able to simplify my life much in the way that you write about here. Like you I decided that I would put my wellbeing first, and let the chips fall where they may if I disappointed other people because of it.

    Midway through the year I’ve found that I feel more able to take on the ridiculous challenges we all face now, and that I’m appreciating kindness ever so much more. So that’s good, albeit not what I expected when I chose my word of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy to hear that simplifying your life and looking after your own wellbeing has shown benefits for you. It may not have given you what you expected (is anything as expected this year??) but you’ve found the good things and that’s what’s important. And I think finding the unexpected is often a bonus because it causes us to grow even more in our understanding of ourselves and others.

      And now I’m off to read your post. 🙂

      Like

    • It’s important to maintain a balance of energy in and out. I’ve been too inclined to give out energy while getting little back but now I’m working harder to maintain that balance and life is better.
      Hope you’re staying safe and well, Dan. I’ll wander over to see what you’ve been up to lately but it may need to wait until tomorrow. Getting late here (11pm) and this little working bunny is getting weary. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bravo to you Heather! I too had to do a lot of personal work around taking care of myself rather than others. My therapist at the time suggested the phrase, which was rather harsh, “Is this your vomit?” if not ” You don’t need to clean it up.” Since I have gone with the milder version. ” Not my circus, not my monkeys.” It takes a lot of effort for one to really sit back and learn this new way of thinking. For me it has made a huge difference in my mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so appreciate your comment, Sue. It always helps to know someone has gone through the same process. Not only to know that it works but that it really is okay. My shorthand version is the simple “Not my problem” but when you’re used to helping it’s not easy, is it? However, like you, my mental health has been so much stronger as a result and I am much happier on a deeper level. So glad you were able to see that improvement too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Heather, so lovely to hear from you & know you are doing well. Australia seems to have done a really great job of managing this pandemic. Here, in Canada, we have had some successes and some devastating numbers, but all in all, I think our governments have surprisingly worked together to manage this crazy time the best that we can.

    I have found 2020 to be a mixed bag of challenges and gifts. Challenges are pretty evident, laid off at work, not seeing family & friends, socializing but the flip side is time to reflect, to get some jobs done I may not otherwise have found the time to do. In more recent days, we have been watching our granddaughter 2 days a week as Mom & Dad are back to work with no daycare open yet. They try to offset their hours & we fill in where needed. It has been so lovely to have this time with our granddaughter!

    Continue to thrive my friend! Luv L xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “I did not cause it. It is not my job to cure it.”

    That’s similar to a phrase I’ve borrowed and have probably botched: “not my monkeys, not my circus.”

    What I have discovered during this pandemic is that not only is there an undercurrent of anxiety, worry, concern, fear, etc., etc., but also a frustration brought on by the thwarted urge to fix it, control it, make it better, MAKE IT GO AWAY. Because, it kinda is my circus, you know?

    Thanks for writing and sharing, and stay safe, Heather.

    To which end, I have withdrawn from blogs and social media as a form of self care. My monkeybrain can only take so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue used the same phrase. I’ve not actually heard it before so perhaps it’s a Canadian thing. Maybe Australian circuses didn’t have monkeys….

      I get your frustration and that must be making a difficult situation even more difficult. I think getting away from the social media is a great way to assist your health. It means you don’t have to buy into so much of other people’s challenges when you really need to be looking after your own. That doesn’t mean that you don’t talk to a friend if they reach out needing to talk but you don’t have to feel the need to step in regardless.

      Take care of yourself, Maggie. It’s okay to focus on your own needs to try and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t make resolutions but I was determined that this year would be a travel year – see how well that’s turned out! – after three years of caring for my son as he has undergone several life-changing operations. And now my daughter is going through a break-up with her partner of 20+ years which is so difficult to support when I can’t yet legitimately go and spend time with her. All in all a frustrating year and one that I can’t wait to end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One thing of which I’ve tried to be mindful is all the small flow on effects of this pandemic beyond the more obvious impacts on employment, social isolation, home schooling, etc. The greater grief of losing someone and being unable to say goodbye. The challenge of not being able to support a loved on in the way you want to. Even the life challenges that are hard enough can be exacerbated by the circumstances. Unemployment becomes harder when there is no prospect of employment, relationship breakdowns are harder when you can’t access the normal supports, caring for a special needs child is even more exhausting when all your usual respite options are no longer available. I think there will be many tough stories to come out of these times.
      Thinking of you, Jude and sending hugs across the ether as you navigate your own challenges and those you love. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Heather. I do feel sorry for my older grandchildren who are on the brink of adulthood and now worried about their futures – no jobs, no apprenticeships, college course that may or may not go ahead and no money as no part-time bar or shop jobs. It is all a bit of a mess.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t seen or heard the term “Claytons” for such a long time, so thanks for the reminder Heather.

    I am so glad that you are — yes, thriving is the right word. I think that the global upheavals visited upon us have created opportunities to rethink our lives and make changes — and at the same time left us helpless and distraught at circumstances beyond our control. I guess it’s how we process and deal with these things that defines us.

    I don’t do resolutions, but I did start the year with a bunch of “written intentions”. I haven’t felt up to looking at them in the last few months, but think now may be the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love a good ad line. Still inclined to respond to the phone ringing with “that’ll be the phone, Reg”. 😁

      I think you’ve totally hit the nail on the head with your point that it’s how we respond that defines how we deal with challenges. I have a friend who keeps expressing her pride in how I’ve handled this crisis and we agree that 12 months ago I would not have been so resilient.

      I like your “written intentions” terminology. 😊

      Like

  10. It’s been a bit of a Claytons year so far. It sounds like you’ve really found ways to do what makes you happy. That’s my new way of looking at things, to do what makes me happy as long as it doesn’t impact on others. This time of slowness has been a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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