A New Year, A New Beginning
A new year is upon us and what better way of starting afresh than waking up with an almighty hangover! The New Year’s Eve party was a hit…we think? Our memories are a little hazy. But boy, do we feel rough! Suddenly, that morning exercise regime doesn’t seem so appealing. Nor does the pea green juice drink we vowed to drink at least once a day. And as we nurse our pounding heads and try to recollect the broken memories of the night before, we feel anything BUT positive.
Of course, my New Year’s Eve’s aren’t so wild anymore! They pretty much consist of drinking champagne, scoffing chocolates and watching crappy television. There’s a running trend that I don’t even make it to midnight. This year I was determined to see the New Year in and prove to my husband, once and for all, that I hadn’t completely lost my partying spirit. I even made a bet with him, to which he laughed aloud and scoffed, “No way will you be awake at midnight!”
Sure enough, his words were true. At 5 minutes to midnight I was fast asleep, champagne in hand and a soft sound of snoring echoing self-righteously into my husband’s ear (Please note, I only ever snore when I’m
And cue the happy dancing as my husband relishes in the fact I lost the bet, and, therefore, owe him that ‘special’ treat.
Scrolling through a sea of WordPress posts showcasing listed goals and resolutions for the New Year, I smile to myself and recall how I, too, set myself the same old goal clichés this time last year. 2015 has arrived, and I can confirm with much disappointment that I didn’t stick to one damn thing on that list of mine, not one damn thing! Actually, this isn’t necessarily true. I have succeeded with my blog *Victory dance* but as for everything else…
Out with the old, in with the new
As a new year begins, so does a new chapter in our lives. What better way of starting a brand new page than with a new and improved YOU? Wait a minute… Have we climbed into a magical overhaul device and stepped out a brand new person? No, that would be utterly ridiculous! We’ve written down a list of resolutions as long as our arm leg body, and we’re about to embark upon a new journey of crack-of-dawn runs, putrid health shakes and *yawn* money saving. Simple, right?
Wrong! As we juggle our mile-long list of to-do’s, I can’t help but question; Are we setting ourselves up for failure? I’m sure there are some fervent folk out there who can stick to such resolutions and make it look an absolute doddle. Yes, the same folk we see jogging in the pouring down rain, smiles on their water-drenched faces and the picture of health. The ones who say, “I’ll just have water!” because they haven’t touched an alcoholic beverage for three years running, and while we try to recall distorted memories from the night before, they sit smiling smugly to themselves. The ones who look at us in mortification as we sink our teeth into our Big Mac.
The majority of us make our resolutions in January, break them by February and then spend the next 11 months feeling guilty about them. The following year, we do it all over again! But of course, this year is different from all of the others…This is 2015!
Oh, who am I kidding? This year I have abandoned my list of resolutions because Let’s face it, sometimes the expectation just doesn’t meet the reality.
New Year Resolutions: Expectation Versus Reality
January 2014: “I’m not getting any younger and one day my fast metabolism is going to well and truly pack up. If I keep on gorging on chocolate, cakes and sweets, I’m going to wake up one day to find my belly hits the floor with a big THUD! This aside, it is common knowledge that healthy food gives you more energy, and I need this in my life. With 3 children running me ragged, I need all the energy I can possibly get! No more McDonalds, Fry up’s and all things sweet. Energy and fabulous skin, here I come!”
We may have overindulged during the festive season. I mean, how could we turn down all those delicious treats? With chocolate calling our name and biscuits begging us to eat them, it’s almost impossible to survive the Christmas period without eating half our body weight in food. Unfortunately, after a few too many mince pies we now resemble that of a mince pie! As our waistbands begin to cut off our blood circulation and gym memberships circle our dreams, we pat our bulging bellies, and groan “I need to eat healthier in the New Year!”
On the list it goes, and for the next few months we begrudgingly eat our way through salad, after salad, after, you guessed it, salad! Tired of eating what tastes like…errr…garden, and drinking health shakes so repulsive they make us retch, we reach for comfort food to make us feel better. Only it doesn’t make us feel better, it makes us feel damned GUILTY! And so we watch our diets hurdle down the drain, along with those nauseating fish head and acai berry smoothies.
January 2014: “This is what I feel like when I do anything strenuous (See picture below) – Hot, sweating and out of breath. I have the pleasure of living on top of a hill, which is great when I walk down it – I can practically squeeze myself into a ball and roll down it. However, it proves problematic when I have to climb back up the hill, especially when loaded with shopping bags. It is during these fat-man-on-treadmill moments, when I start to question my fitness. I like to think I am the picture of health and fitness, however, my stamina and energy has proven me so WRONG! Therefore, I plan to exercise more frequently.”
The Christmas bulge isn’t going to shift just by eating garden salad. Nope, we need to fish out those Lycra jogging pants and get ourselves over to that gym we’ve been avoiding. But all that starts well doesn’t always end well, as we soon discover this fitness malarkey isn’t as easy as we assumed it would be. As it turns out, those big machines don’t do all the work for you, you have to do that yourself…and this involves perseverance, heavy panting and a bucket-load of sweat! Before long, we are not only out of breath, but our sweat has offended the nose of one too many and our determination has done a runner. Oh dear! It looks like we have no other option than to hang up our running shoes and have a long rest on the sofa…and while we are here, we may as well dial Dominoes.
January 2014: “This is something I do A LOT! I spend my life stressing about, well… EVERYTHING! Someone once told me stress is a waste of time. In fact, 90% of time is spent stressing when not needed. It’s time to stop all the over-thinking, dwelling and assumptions. I need to chill out and rest my fretful head. I need to shake this negativity and find positivity and happiness.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could place all our worries into balloons, set free the string and say farewell to them forever? Unfortunately, we don’t live in some Walt Disney fantasy, we live in the real world. In reality, we stress about stressing until our hair turns grey, and then we continue to stress about stressing as well as stressing about our grey hair-infested manes! We stress about forgetting to water the plants, we stress about what to cook for dinner, we stress about which colour underpants we should wear. We stress about pretty much anything we can possibly stress about!
As the workload piles up on our desk and we spill coffee on our brand new laptops, we not only want to sob hysterically, but we also scrawl out yet another New Year’s Resolution. But wait! Perhaps this isn’t so bad after all? One less resolution, one less thing to stress about? And if for some magical and inexplainable reason all stress was eliminated, what the heck would we do? Surely we’d miss fretting over the mismatched socks in the laundry pile?
January 2014: “Get those violins out, for I have laughed less this past year than any other year. I have forgotten what it feels like to laugh so uncontrollably, tears roll down my cheeks and a little bit of wee comes out! Through the hustles and bustles of everyday life, I feel like I have lost my sense of humour and ability to act both infantile and irresponsible. I question, when did life become so serious? Or rather, when did I lose my sense of fun and playfulness? Anyway, I hope to find that child in me once again, and laugh more!”
If we were to go about our everyday lives laughing like an elated walrus, people might start to question our sanity. Let’s face it, life isn’t all smiles and laugh out- loud’s. There’s a time and place for laughter. Rather than fake a smile for the sake of a New Year’s resolution, why can’t we just be real? Let’s remove the façade, and say… “You know what? It’s okay if I don’t feel like laughing today! I am NOT the walrus!” <- See what I did there?
*Cough* Wait a minute! That’s not a walrus, is it? It’s a seal. Okay, Okay… Let’s just keep it seal, then!
Take on more hobbies / Learn something new
January 2014: “I am a lady of many hobbies and have many a finger in different pies. I especially love to sew. I have bags of creativity waiting to burst from within me, but i would love to try out some new pies (or should I say hobbies!). I’m not quite sure which hobbies to take up yet, but I would love to get back into sketching. Perhaps I should take up dance? My current moves need a bit of updating, and frankly, I am an embarrassment on the dance-floor. Picture an octopus with numb legs and you’re almost there!”
Whether you’re thinking about taking up yoga or debating whether to dig out the sewing machine from the attic, it’s always good to try new things. Most of us have had our fingers stuck in a pie too many. We get a little over ambitious, and suddenly we are convinced we are the new Nigella or Bear Grylls! You see, when we eat too many pies, we get sick. As the sewing machine flies out of the window, I think it’s safe to confirm that it’s no longer our friend. The apron strings come off, as yet another cake lump of coal comes out of the oven. Our yoga mats get tossed into the attic when we do ourselves a back injury attempting the downward dog.
It’s been 3 months, we still haven’t caught one fish, made one edible cake or made the dress of our dreams… A wise person once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. As I jab the sewing needle into my finger for the umpteenth time, I shriek, “Screw that, I give up!”
Taking steps to the career of our dreams
January 2014: “I am one of these people who has never really known what they wanted to do in life. While my husband is off around the world saving children’s lives, I have no desire to do such things, and consequently I feel a little bit guilty inside. I have climbed upon many career wagon, but only to crawl, fall, leap off again. I guess, like many, a part of me fears failure. It gets worse with every year that goes by, the clock is ticking and I’m thinking, ‘What the hell am I going to do?!’ Well, this year I am going to explore what it is that makes me tick. I’m going to jump on that career wagon and I’m going to cling on for dear life!”
Discontented in our jobs, we long to break free and explore different avenues. The clock keeps ticking, reminding us that ladder isn’t going to climb itself. If we want to do something life changing, we need to get out there and chase those dreams. So, what’s stopping us? Fear? Finances? Life? You betcha! Any form of life changing experience is daunting. It’s easy to fantasise about where we want our lives to go, but in reality, it takes courage and a great deal of hard work.
Two years ago, my husband was depressed and in a job he loathed. One day, he came home and said, “I want to go back to university!” My first response was one of complete shock. I was heavily pregnant at the time, my husband had a decent pay check and our financial stability was about to be jeopardised by what I thought was some sort of mid-life fantasy. I soon realised my husband was serious about this, and he longed to make his dreams a reality. The following two years weren’t easy by any standard. There have been times when we lived apart for long periods of time, there were times when we barely had any money, there were even times when we questioned our marriage. But despite the bumps along the road, my husband has achieved more than I could ever imagine. Not only has he travelled the world, but he has also set up his own charity (for refugees in conflict zones) and he has worked with the very prestigious United Nations.
The moral of the story is, no matter how rickety that ladder looks, no matter how many steps there are, you CAN achieve anything you put your mind to!
That being said, I am still yet to place a foot upon the ladder and that clock, it’s ticking louder than ever. But I’ll climb that ladder when the time is right, and at this moment in time, I want to hold my husband’s ladder so he can grasp hold of his dreams and transform them into reality.
Read more books
January 2014: “I am not the greatest of book reader, I must admit. I have the attention span of a small child and can only cope with small doses of focusing. When I was going through a tough time, I started to read Self-help books by the dozen. By the end of these books I was the happiest person in the world and had high ambitions to go out and save the whales, and what not! This is just an example of how inspiring books can be, and quite frankly, I need inspiration in my life! Throw me a book, QUICK!”
We have purchased the majority of the library, the books look divine sitting on our bookshelf and they smell good too. Have we read any of them? No. Not one damn book! “I must read more” we promise to ourselves, but there never seems enough hours in the day. In fact, the only text we seem to read these days is the text of trashy magazines or internet gossip columns. Gone by the days of long reads in the park. Vanished are the days when we read fine literature. The last book I read was 6 months ago and it involved whips, chains and a man by the name of Christian Grey!
January 2014: “My husband and I barely ever get any time away from our lovely children. I think it’s important to get away sometimes, inject a bit of romance into our lives. However, due to lack of funds and the general business of everyday life, we seldom get the chance to get away. Our last romantic break was our honeymoon to Mexico – 3 YEARS AGO! Saying that, I did receive a rather lovely Christmas present for a weekend for two at a Mayfair hotel…*Gets the sexy lingerie out from the attic*”
Saving money, just saying those words makes me stifle a yawn. I mean, why save money when we can buy all the pretty things of our dreams? Sadly, money doesn’t grow on trees and if you don’t fancy re-mortgaging the house in exchange for a holiday, then it’s time to put those pennies in the piggybank. Sound’s simple enough, but saving money is not fun and nor is window shopping! Rather than padlock our purses and convert to frugality, perhaps we could treat ourselves occasionally and in between times, save some money too. When we know we can’t have something, it makes us want it all the more. And how can we possibly walk past that boutique when those shoes are clawing at the window, begging us to purchase them?
Encourage date night once a week
January 2014: “A date, what’s a date?! It’s been a long time since my husband and I went on a romantic date…well, not one without getting into an argument or ending in tears. Due to lack of funds and babysitters, we may have to come up with imaginative dates from the home, a meal followed by some sexy time? Sounds great to me, same time next week?”
Due to the business of everyday life, it’s hard to keep that romantic flame a burning! Date night is a great way of relighting that fire, but life being life, there are always obstacles thrown in our way. Children are an obvious passion-killer. “Muuuuum, why’s your bed creaking?” – Need I say any more? Technology is another. As much as technology rules the world, it doesn’t rule my world when my husband is too occupied with candy crushing than staring dotingly into my eyes. And not forgetting those PlayStation nights when I sigh with utter boredom as he plays his 15th game of FIFA. Oh, how we long to sip milkshake in the diner, while gazing passionately into each other’s eyes. Rather than set ourselves up for disappointment, perhaps we should just appreciate those rare occasions the candle is relit and that box of sexy lingerie can, once again, be dragged down from the attic!
January 2014: “As scary as it sounds, it’s true. I have spent too much of my life sitting on the safe side of the fence, looking through and wishing exciting things would come my way. It’s time to hop over that fence and explore new things! It’s time to get motivated!”
It’s time to pull on those mountain boots, dust off our grappling hooks and head for the mountains! Or perhaps we could just sit down for a while longer, that mountaineering looks hard work. We don’t all come equipped with bags full of motivation. While some people are taking selfies from on top of that mountain, others have barely taken two steps and they are already complaining about their boots chafing.
Okay, I admit…I’m the one at the bottom of the hill, complaining about the chafing boots. The mountain is representative of the pile of failed resolutions I have set for myself over my lifetime. I’m not a skilled mountaineer, nor am I good at completing lists. Baring these things in mind, if I eliminate them both, then maybe I might stand a hope in Hells chance of achieving some of these goals?
Too many balls, not enough hands!
New Year Resolutions, they aren’t for everyone. Whether you’re thriving on the top of that mountain, or ready to throw the towel trekking poles in, it’s important to remember why we set these goals for ourselves in the first place. Starting the year on a new page can be a great way to wipe the slate clean, but let’s not get too carried away! Too many goals can make us feel like we are juggling too many balls. We feel overwhelmed, we start to doubt ourselves and we buckle under the pressure. It’s only a matter of time before one ball slips from our grip and falls helplessly to the ground. As soon as one ball goes, the others start to fall – one by one – until we have no balls and we are left feeling like we have failed all over again. Like juggling, if we start off with two balls, and when confident, more onto three, and so on…perhaps we wouldn’t fall at the first hurdle, feel like a failure and say, “Screw it! There’s always next year!” Why wait until next year to pick up the balls and try again?
I spend my life setting myself goals only to fail to see them through. This year, my only New Year’s Resolution is NOT to set myself any New Year’s Resolutions!
We are barely a week into the New Year and I have already eaten a McChicken sandwich, indulged in a mini spending spree and been joyously intoxicated …but who cares? Tomorrow is a brand new page, if I want to spend the day pumping iron then I might just do that. If I wish to spend the day shoving my face with chocolates, then I might just do that also! Life is too short, we may as well enjoy it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!
Have you set any New Year’s resolutions this year?
Have you been able to stick to any in the past?
Are you done with setting resolutions?
Feel free to stay and discuss, I’ll pop the kettle on and fetch the…. Wait a minute, who is on a diet?