Last year I told myself that this was going to be the year of Simplicity. A year to declutter and organise, to focus on being truly present for my three little ones, on my own health and fitness and most of all to recognise those moments when we feel balanced as a family of five and to grab them with both hands. Looking back I’m not honestly sure that “simplicity” is exactly the key word I’d use to describe 2015! It’s more like “unexpected,incredibly busy, blissful, adventuring, hard work, and a lot of fun” but that doesn’t exactly fit neatly into an inspirational Pinterest quote. I think it’s probably fairly telling that I actually couldn’t remember what my word was for this year, I had to go back to my January archive and look it up!
I think a lot of my plans for last year tied into my expectation that by the end of the year I would be being a stay at home Mum; we already knew that one of us was going to stay home with the children and as at last January we both thought it would probably be me and the biggest decision of the year was to turn that completely on its head. It gave us a wonderful summer together as a five, including all of our adventures around Europe and an autumn that was all about finding out way, dancing through the minefield as Kitty adjusted to school, I got myself up and got on the train to work every morning and waited for the moment when I would stop feeling like I was ripping my heart out, abandoning my children and completely failing as a mother every time I stepped out of the front door (it did come eventually!), and H tried to juggle looking after the house with taking care of three little ones including a certain young man whose middle sister rechristened “Chaos” this week. Simple? No not really. A little bit more like a white knuckle rollercoaster to be honest. And a lot of my intention to bring simplicity to our lives were rather shoved to one side in favour of just hanging on and figuring out the day to day, especially in the second half of the year.
But that’s what real life looks like isn’t it, not a neat and tidy checklist all figured out on 1st January and ticked off in gloriously neat technicolour as the weeks and months roll tidily by. And much as there have been times when a nice little picture perfect life has sounded oh so terribly appealing, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Without biting the bullet and accepting that going back to work was going to hurt I would never have got through that to the point where it all feels normal and I can embrace the fact that I’m good at my job and I enjoy it, and more importantly we would never have had a whole summer together. The “grit your teeth and get one with it” moments are the counterpoint to saying “why not” and getting on a ferry to Europe with three pre-schoolers and a car full of camping kit, to standing on top of Gornergrat in a snow shower in the middle of August, to discovering a wonderful new playgroup for Elma and Pip, and then seeing H so happy and welcomed and at home in the same group, or to seeing my eldest daughter burst out of school clutching the card she’d written all by herself, “Mummy, I luv yo”.
They are the memories that I hold tight, that I treasure, and the truth is that they wouldn’t be half so special if there were no ups and downs.
As an word of intention for my 2015, “simplicity” didn’t work, but I don’t think any other word would have worked or stuck with me unless I’d chosen “hold on tight and brace yourself” (again not very Pinterest worthy!). Maybe we should have retrospective words for the year, in which case that’s definitely my choice! But it makes me wonder whether or not to choose one for this year. I think a word for the year can work really powerfully if it’s the right word and you hold it front and centre in your thoughts and your decision making and your actions but it requires a bit of commitment and dedication to remember to do that.
I’m finding as we come up to the start of 2016 that I’ve actually got quite a few very defined plans for the next year. It’s a strange feeling because I’m usually scrabbling around on New Year’s eve thinking “I’m sure I should be resolving something” and then having another mince pie and putting it off to think and plan my way through January. Some of them are carried over from last year (I really need to build some more exercise into my week) and some are new (I really want to finish my fishing net quilt and my cosy cottage ripple blanket), but I know exactly what I want to be snuggling under by the time we get to Christmas 2016!
So before we bid goodbye to a wonderful, and quite literally life-changing 2015, I need a little help for my January planning, I have the intentions and the plans but I’m quite open as to how I set them as resolutions or intentions or whatever you want to call them – so have you made New Year’s Resolutions, and if so, how?