Another year over

A new one just begun… (almost)

I believe it is customary at this time of year to make resolutions for the year ahead. I’ve never been a fan of New Year Resolutions. It always feels like setting yourself up for failure.

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But I’ve been reviewing my resistance to resolutions.

Common areas for improvement have traditionally been based around losing weight, getting fit and giving up some vice or other.

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I don’t need to lose weight. Even with a chocolate-laden diet. Lucky me.

I already belong to a gym and have control over my fitness. It’s what allows me to have my chocolate-fuelled diet. It’s all about motivation.

I don’t smoke and I don’t….oh. Well, okay, I could probably make alterations in my imbibing rates at times. I like wine. And beer. And gin. That’s grapes, wholegrains and berries. I’m pretty sure all of those appear in the healthy section of the food pyramid, right? So I’m all good there, then.

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So I have been musing about resolutions and their purpose and have concluded that they are about improvement of oneself and benefit to others. In which case, I’ve come up with the following resolutions for 2019:

1. I will politely decline whenever anyone asks me to take a photo of them. I am a shocking photographer. This will reduce disappointment in the world.

2. I will perfect the politician’s skill of answering a question with a question thus avoiding talking about myself. This will reduce eyestrain in the community as people are no longer required to dart their eyes to the side looking for a way out whenever I am speaking, especially after a couple of glasses of wine.

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3. I will write all emails and messages based on the competition standard of 25 words or less. Then I will delete them. Only if I can be bothered rewriting them will I send them. This will increase productivity across the land.

4. I will limit my consumption of American late night talk show host monologues to once a week. This is for my own general wellbeing and mental health. It will also reduce boredom in those less obsessed with US politics.

5. I will utilise the gym more regularly but will not talk about it on social media. (Okay, so I lied about having control over my fitness. Seriously, who doesn’t drop the ball over Christmas/New Year?)

In the tradition of New Year Resolutions, I expect to have broken every one of these by the end of January.

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Sorry.

 

Got some New Year Resolutions of your own? How do you think you’ll go?

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Life Lessons From The Doctor

And no, I don’t mean “an apple a day”.

One of my favourite gifts last Christmas was from a dear friend – a page-a-day calendar of Doctor Who quotes. It rotates through each of the twelve doctors, starting the year with the first things they said after each regeneration (in the case of the ones that followed the original Doctor in a piece of inspired programming to replace an ailing actor).

Doctor 1

I was a bit slow and forgot to open it on the first day. When I turned to the page for the 2nd of January, I knew I was in for an inspired year.

Doctor 2

I laughed. Loudly and continuously throughout the day.

A calendar made for a Jack of All Trades.

So how else might the Doctor inspire this new year?

Doctor 3

Sometimes it is advisable to concentrate on essentials.

Doctor 4

It’s okay not to know everything.

Doctor 5

Tell me you haven’t had one of those moments.

Doctor 6

Ah. This is a common one for a Jack of All Trades.
Always reinventing themselves and surprising the people who think they know them.

Doctor 7

Always take time out to recharge.

Doctor 8

Yes, who am I? Exactly.

Doctor 9

For all you runners out there. And for anyone who isn’t a runner, why aren’t you?

Doctor 10

Don’t get distracted by the small things. Stay focussed on what’s important.

Doctor 11

Sometimes life is strange. You will meet strange people. It’s all a part of the tapestry of life. Jump right in.

Doctor 12

Don’t take things at face value. It’s okay to question the status quo.

That’s the first round of twelve but the ones since have been just as inspiring, including this pearler that turned up on a day when a discussion of bending rules arose with another blogger:

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Freaky, huh?

Did any of these inspire you? Do you have your own inspirational calendar quotes to share?

 

 

 

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2015: A Year For Doing Stuff

2015

Every time a new year rolls around I think “What the heck happened to the old one??” I get to the end of the year and wonder what I did with it. It’s a time when thoughts of all the things I was going to do and didn’t float to the surface. (I still haven’t set up that cubby house as a writing studio.)

It was only when, out of idle curiosity, I clicked on Facebook’s “Your Year in Review” thingy that I realised that I had actually done stuff this year and not just provided people with fodder to make moth jokes at my expense for the next twelve months.

January – A Month for Rowing

I compete in my first rowing regatta at Rutherglen and come home with two gold medals. I decide that maybe competitive rowing is not so bad after all.

February – A Month for Beginnings

We send off the Eldest Son to university and the Youngest Son to secondary school for the first time. I can’t believe I’m old enough to have a child at university and wonder if can get away with telling people I was a teenage mother.

Another first day I'd swear wasn't that long ago.

Another first day I’d swear wasn’t that long ago.

March – A Month for Yankees 

I travel to New York with The Husband for a party-avoiding celebration of his 50th birthday. We leave the three offspring to fend for themselves for two weeks. While in New York, I run in Central Park twice, once wearing a tartan glengarry.

April – A Month for Running

I run in my first half marathon event, finishing in just over two hours and wonder why on earth I do these things to myself.

May – A Month for Shakespeare

I appear in the Theatre of the Winged Unicorn’s production of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona as a servant in the first half and as an outlaw in the second. The knitted version of the #beardselfie is born.

June – A Month for Running Again

I run another half marathon at Forrest in the Otway Ranges. This takes longer because it’s up and down muddy tracks. I wonder why on earth I do these things to myself. I also wonder why I have such a short memory.

July – A Month for Connecting

I journey to Sydney for my first “Meet the Blogger” occasion, full of nerves and neuroses. Both are unfounded and unnecessary and a great time is had by all except the blogger’s cat.

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“So when are you leaving?”

August – A Month for Baking

I manage to keep a perpetual cake alive for four weeks. Then I kill him off. It’s not always about positive achievement.

September – A Month for Writing

My blog post on Voluntourism is ‘Freshly Pressed’, a WordPress concept disbanded not long afterwards and thus now unfamiliar to any new blogger reading this post. I don’t know if I had anything to do with its disbandment.

I achieve my first publication and have a letter published in the local metropolitan newspaper magazine in response to a very annoying article. It’s a good month for writing.

Fame at last

October – A Month for Changing the World

I travel to Nepal with World Expeditions to help rebuild one of the village schools destroyed in the earthquakes. We also get to trek through the mountains and view Mt Everest one early chilly morning. It’s an experience never to be forgotten. This is my most favourite event of the year.

Nepal Trek

Builders, trekkers, friends.

November – A Month for Falling (and I’m not talking about leaves in the Northern Hemisphere)

The universe decides that I have achieved quite enough impressive physical feats for the year and forty-eight hours after returning safely from overseas, I am felled by a small moth and end up in hospital with six broken ribs and a punctured lung. This is my least favourite event of the year.

December – A Month for Memories

My nephew gets married and having written the song for the wedding service and already earlier agreed to play the piano for it, I achieve this physical feat even with broken ribs. We rejoice but also mourn in this significant life event for my sister‘s eldest child.

Two Weddings

Twenty-three years older but they still look so cute in a vest.

2016: A Year For ????

I’m inclined to hope for 2016: A Year For The Mundane And Ordinary but I suspect I wouldn’t be able to stand it for long.

A Very Happy New Year to you. May it bring whatever you might wish of it.

 

 

 

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2014: Countdown On A Year Of Change

Change. Life is all about change.

I just wish it wouldn’t change so fast.

This year has seen more than its fair share of change and transition. Looking back over the past year, I can’t help wondering how I managed to get this far with my sanity intact.

Mostly intact.

A little bit intact.

Did someone say sanity?

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January

We embark on the new school year in the knowledge that this will be one of moving towards change. The Eldest Son in his final year of school, the Youngest Son finishing his time in primary school. And we move into the difficult middle year with the Middle Son. Change is all around us.

February

We send our Middle Son off on the adventure of a lifetime to spend eight weeks in Thailand with school. It is a time of challenge and change for all of us as we let go just a little bit more.

March

Twenty years after the death of his wife and daughter, having raised two young boys into fine young men on his own, my brother-in-law remarries. It is a day of great joy tinged with sadness. He moves away, begins a new career with a new family. The extended family space changes and adapts once more.

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April

A dear friend dies suddenly and we are confronted with the reality of the struggle with ageing and illness. Life is changed not only for his family and friends but for the local theatre scene of which he was such a large part. (http://wp.me/p3OKST-d9)

May

Along with my three team mates, I successfully complete the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km challenge in 25 hours 35 minutes. More importantly, we raise $6,500 and change the lives of hundreds of people we will never meet. (http://wp.me/p3OKST-ft)

June

I get my first work for the year in a special school for children with severe disabilities as a relief teacher. It will be a change of career that will come to feed my soul.

Change Quote 1

July

My father dies. And life is changed forever. (http://wp.me/p3OKST-pi)

August

One of my dearest friends undergoes a heart transplant. I marvel at the miracle of science and what can be done to keep a person alive. In such a transaction, however, it is more than one life that is changed. It is a new stage of life for both the recipient of the heart and the family of the donor. Life and death. Life in death.

September

The Eldest Son turns eighteen. I change into a parent of an adult and I wonder how on earth that happened. (http://wp.me/p3OKST-we)

Change Quote 5

October

A friend issues the challenge to enter my first “fun run” (the most obvious oxymoron ever). Not inclined to do things by halves, I accept the challenge to run a half-marathon. I change into a Spreadsheet Slave as I commit (as I only I can) to the suggested training regimen. How many more months do I have to do this?? (http://wp.me/p3OKST-AZ)

November

The Eldest Son graduates from secondary school. One stage ends, another begins. What change is ahead is only a guess until results and offers come through in the new year.

The Youngest Son turns thirteen and I change into a parent of three teenage boys. I don’t know how that happened either.

December

The Youngest Son graduates from primary school and after thirteen years, we are done with the junior years forever. We await the impact of the change to secondary school for the ‘baby’ of the family, confident that he will make his own mark just as his brothers have before him.

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Change. Life is all about change. And as we journey into 2015, it will continue to change and to grow.

A new adventure awaits.

Change Quote 4

 

 

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2014: Sailing Away From The Safe Harbour

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. 

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them. 

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. 

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

– Neil Gaiman, 31 December 2012

I took Neil Gaiman at his word in 2013 and did a number of things that scared me. It’s not that I joined the Peace Corp and went to a war zone but I pushed myself to do things that were well outside my comfort zone.

I left a highly comfortable and easy job to venture into a career where I really had no idea what I was doing. I started a blog, recorded some of my own songs and put them on SoundCloud, sang a solo for the first time at my community singing group, submitted a book to a publisher and attended a number of workshops that pushed me into unfamiliar territory.

All of these things frightened me but also, once achieved, brought great joy.

I usually prefer not to make New Year resolutions. I don’t need a year of guilt that I’m not doing what I promised myself I would. I tend to be the Make It Up As You Go Along type.

But for 2014, I resolve one thing: To continue to do the things that scare me most and to always find the joy.

There’s a quote, often attributed to Mark Twain (falsely as it turns out), about sailing out of the safe harbour and pursuing your dreams.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

This is my resolution for the new year and my wish for you.

Chase your dreams and find your joy.

May the coming year bring you new adventures and
may your trade winds always be favourable.

HNY

 

 

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