Wednesday, 12 January 2011

New Year New Me (with new jaws)

A belated Happy New Year to all.

Christmas came and went in a blink, and with the dark nights (and days) still here for a few weeks, I’m fighting the doldrums. I don't know why. A year ago I was just about to go for my first lot of surgery. Here I am with it all behind me, everything to look forward to.

I’m always the same at this time of year. Perhaps it’s the anti-climax, the realisation that (yet) another year has passed; knowing you’ve put too much weight and drunk too much and it’s going to be an uphill struggle, and you still haven’t achieved all the things you planned to do last year.

However the one thing I like about January 1st is it’s a time to wipe the slate clean. I can put the past behind me, dream the dreams of everything I’d like to do; re-evaluate and make changes.

Usually in January, I’m full of renewed vigour and set myself a mountain of resolutions and projects ‘to do’ that very quickly get broken or fall by the wayside. I did it last year, then with my health problems and the operations spent much of the year beating myself up about what I was unable to do and didn’t achieve.

Why do we do that – set ourselves up to fail? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

The trouble is, my brain is still alive (even though my body might not always do what I’d like it to,) and I need something to keep me going or some days with the Behcets disease, I might prefer to curl up under a stone.

What’s the answer?

Well, a slightly more pragmatic me has raised myself after the Christmas/winter slumber this year. I’ve decided to cut myself a little slack. Let’s face it, who knows what’s round the corner, (especially with my health.) So I’m not going to make any resolutions. I need aspirations rather than resolutions – and aspirations that are realistic and achievable. Let’s face it, I’m never going to win the Booker,I’ll never be able to run a marathon and I don’t suppose I’ll get a nomination for ‘mum of the year’ any time soon. I’m going to focus more – and pick one or two key aspirations rather than make a shopping list.

To do this I start by asking myself, ‘If you could choose one thing that you'd really like to do, just one thing, that would enrich your life and make you happy, what would it be?’

It’s easy to answer. I've been desperate to get back to writing. It’s a cliché but writing is my passion and I’m pleased to announce I have been accepted again on the Romantic Novelist’s Association’s New Writer’s Scheme.

The first aspiration therefore follows - to finish my second novel, Country Strife and get it off to them for critiquing. The second is something I’ve been talking about for long enough. With the surgery behind me there are no more excuses - oh yes, except my illness, and life which sometimes has a habit of getting in the way - but you will be pleased to learn I’ve actually STARTED that non-fiction book I’ve kept talking about. Living (and smiling through) long term illness and/or pain.

That’s it. Nothing else. If all I achieve by the end of 2011 are those two things I shall be very pleased with myself.

Now it’s over to you - same question - ‘What is the one thing that you would really like to do – just one thing, (however small) that you keep telling yourself you would do, if only you had more time, more money, more motivation…’

You don’t need to write a book. It might be something simple like write your memoirs, start piano lessons, call an old friend, volunteer. As long as it’s something you would really, really like to do. Another true cliché – life is too short. It’s time to grasp it, get on with it. Carpe Diem – seize the day!

After all the hurdles and hindrances I encountered in 2010 I shall spend this year living a creative, joyous and fulfilling life.

Just like my second novel, a new chapter in life is waiting to be written…

So until another day