New Year Resolutions. Some of us love them, some of us hate them. Most of us can’t help trying one or two, but maybe not the same ones as last year.
I love them. I love them in the same way I love going away on holiday, or starting anything new. I love new possibilities. In particular, I love the opportunity to change.
I believe in change. Of course I do. St Paul tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. If that isn’t a call to change I don’t know what is. And St Paul knows where it all starts: with out thinking.
One of the things I have learned over the last few years is not to believe everything I tell myself. You know what I mean – the little voice that predicts failure or regret. Or drags up the things you don’t want dragged up.
The little voice is gearing itself up to sabotage my efforts to change. This year I am going to cover my ears, say la-la-la as loud as I can and take some steps to change.
Happy New Year!
What a busy time November has been! It took me by surprise, but it has been good. We’ve had a 60th birthday party in Bath, a 50th birthday party in London. Him indoors had a weekend away with the boys and I’ve even had a couple of days work! Oh, and we decorated the living room and had the parish here for lunch.
Today I’ve got the children at home because of the strike and then tomorrow it is December 1, the first day of western Advent. (For us Orthodox the run up to Christmas starts on 15 November… we never do anything at less than full tilt!)
The first of December was the day the Christmas tree went up when I was a child. It was the beginning of the wild excitement that accompanied Christmas. I manage to wait a lot longer with my children (when they were very small the tree went up on Christmas Eve) but I do this by making a fuss of Advent.
So, today we are going off to buy an Advent calendar. And I’ve got a couple of surprises for them. I will say more about these later when I have some photos to add.
If I am being honest, I am starting to get a bit excited. I am looking forward to seeing the children have a good time. The nice thing is that they are still at the stage where what they want is lots of things and lots of chocolate. No expensive presents are needed – just quantity. I’m setting myself a limit for presents for them and want to do a good job for them. Ebay here I come! Let’s see what I can do.
I may in some ways be getting older, but the children are keeping me young.
As for the rest… well, I got myself a new swimming costume and went swimming yesterday. We may well go swimming today, too. So exercise is starting to happen. And about time too!
So, how is the fight going against impending decrepitude? Have I stepped into the ring yet?
Well, I’m doing the baking. Since watching the aforementioned Baking Show I have made a Somerset pork and apple pie, a posh cheese and potato pie, bakewell tarts, marzipan biscuits, chocolate biscuits, sticky buns and a mocha cake. I’m going through industrial quantities of plain flour. The verdict from the family… they love it. John has made bread with me a couple of times and the chocolate biscuits. Miriam has also helped with the bread. Chris happily eats his way through the stuff and just peddles a bit harder and all is fine.
This, of course, means that I have varied what I cook for tea, too. Two birds with one stone!
Unfortunately, the enormous quantities of baked goods now in the house does not help with the ‘lose weight and get fit’ part of my fight.Must try harder on that – but I won’t write about it – I think there are few things more boring. Everyone else enjoys the cakes and biscuits, then runs or cycles around madly. Meanwhile, I’m usually back at the kitchen bench baking some more. I have to admit that with regard to exercise – I am lazy. I like the idea of cycling, but haven’t really done it. Part of this is because my bike is distinctly in need of a service. Part of it is because I can always find an excuse not to. I’ve got a lot to lose before my birthday, so I must get on with this. I promise I will get the bike serviced before the next post. And go for a ride!
So have I stepped into the ring yet? Mm, I think I’m in trying the ‘float like a butterfly’ bit. I need to do the ‘stings like a bee’.
Verdict: Could try harder.
Last year I enjoyed watching Mary Portas’ series about revamping shops and businesses. She’s lively to watch and it was interesting seeing how shopkeepers get us to buy things. MP came across very well and it was nice watching a woman of a similar age to myself being in charge and having a bit of fun.
When I read that she was about to open a shop with a clothing line specifically aimed at those of us who can’t wear TopShop anymore I made a note to watch out. In the event I watched 5 minutes of Mary Portas’ programme last night and then got bored. But the idea behind it is great. Women shouldn’t just fade because they’re older. We’ve got so much more to offer now.
So I am fighting not fading. My idea is that in the time that runs up to my 50th I will undertake some challenges (some short term, some long term) to show to myself as much as anyone else that I am in the prime of life.
So what might these challenges be? I’ve done a lot of thinking about this. Of course, I need to do the ‘lose weight, get fit’ but to be honest that doesn’t inspire me.
What does inspire me is using my bike for getting around and working up to being OK using the bike anywhere in Bath. This is a challenge because of the hills. So that is number one.
Number two is to try a new recipe each week. I tend to get stuck in a rut and do the same things week in week out. I get bored. When this happens I also tend to slip into wacking cream, butter, oil and cheese into things. Working on new recipes could help with this!
Number three goes back to the cream butter, oil and cheese. Having been glued to the Great British Bake Off in the last series and this series, I really need to do a lot more baking. It will save me a fortune in biscuits! I promise to post the best recipes. I might even manage some pictures.
That’s enough for today or this blog will end up being all about me me me rather than a source of wisdo…ok it was always just going to be about me and any wisdom will have got in by accident!
That’s what I am – according to my nearly nine-year old son. Apparently the average lifespan was 30 years. So I’ve done well. That is something to be truly thankful for. But it doesn’t sound so great, does it?
Older is rarely a compliment (unless you’re 13 and desperate to look 18) and comparison with cavemen is also a bit iffy. What other things might be compared with a caveman? Hairier than the average caveman? More romantic than the average.. How about tougher than.. Now that would be a good one for a bloke. How about more macho than … or rougher. If you notice, I haven’t managed a feminine one yet. I suppose the bottom line is we don’t have a very positive image of cavemen. So they are the problem, not me.
The truth is, I don’t want to be compared to anyone or anything, Older than I was this time last year will suit me fine.
Cue music.. Sunrise, sunset etc. It does creep up, doesn’t it? One day you’re a happy, carefree 17 year old. Five minutes later you may still be happy and carefree, but no longer 17.
In May of this year I had my 49th birthday. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was. I’ll be 50 this time next year and although, as they say, that is better than the alternative, I am a bit taken aback. I really cannot be that old. When did it happen? Is this the relativity that physicists speak of? I am convinced I’m still in my 30s but my body and everything else disagrees.
So, how do I want to celebrate my 50th birthday next year? With a sense of doom and lost opportunities? Or even just with grumpy resignation? Is it time to give up and sink into middle-age? Time to prepare for retirement? No! I want to meet it with a sense of achievement in what I have already done and with excitement for what lies ahead.
Fifty is a landmark birthday and an opportunity to bring together all the wisdom and experience I have (in theory) garnered in the rich and varied life I have had so far. What’s more, it is the raw material which will enable me to make the most of the next fifty years.
I think I’m beginning to convince even myself! Let’s see if I can make a good job of it over the coming year.