So the new year might have *officially* begun a week ago, but I’m easing myself into this one. I’m so full of plans and ideas that they’re in danger of becoming overwhelming, and I’m determined to hold on to my focus – and my self – to make this year a truly happy one for me and my family.
2017 was a curious mix of some hugely positive life changes for us against the backdrop of another calamitous year for the wider world. I started January with some clearly defined goals, mainly around my writing, along with vague notions of finding a new home, expanding our family, and maybe even overcoming my fear of driving to get on the road. By the end of December we were settled in an incredible new house with our beautiful new baby, and I had made unexpected progress in the journey of learning to drive – confident behind the wheel if not quite in possession of a license just yet. These were all most definitely things to celebrate, but still last year left me feeling unsettled: it almost took on a power of its own, ricocheting towards its conclusion with seemingly little input from us, pushing me well and truly outside of my comfort zone and leaving me feeling that there was still so much more I wanted to do.
I am hoping this year that I might be a little more in control.
I am not really one for New Year’s resolutions, and certainly not ones which are to do with making my life less pleasurable. Midwinter is not the time for that. There is something about this period of transition, though, the coming out of the chaos of Christmas to the promise of longer days, that I cannot help but find inspiring. It is a time for dreams, and aiming high, and for setting in motion the plans that will help goals become reality.
Last year I was guided in pursuing these dreams by the Inspire Now journal. It was the first time I’d used any sort of productivity planner, and it really helped me shape my days. I loved that it put as much emphasis on health and family and physical environment as it did on professional and creative goals – and it strikes me now that it might have been exactly that which set me off on the unexpected path of huge life changes that we ended up hurtling down. This year, whilst I want to hold on to that holistic perspective, I sought out a framework that would help me prioritise more personal ambitions. I found myself drawn to the Daily Greatness journal, and so far I love it: I’ve found the focus on my core beliefs and values and how these link to finding my ‘why’ really valuable, and am excited to use this renewed sense of purpose to drive me forwards.
And so I move into 2018 with a number of intentions. This blog is at the heart of it: a place to reflect on my continued explorations of parenting and education, a vehicle to reach out to a wider community, and a hub around which I can create a community of my own. With a tiny baby to care for as well as a five year old to guide and inspire I know that we will all benefit from me taking a more mindful approach to my own parenting experience, and also from seeing the minutae of every day as a part of the bigger picture – not a distraction from my work, but an integral part of it.
I am also excited about finding the time to escape again into the fictional worlds I have created over the past few years: to revisit the novels and stories I have written and to focus on finding them a home. The success of this mission depends a lot on my own emotional strength, on building the confidence to cope with the inevitable rejections that journey will bring and on believing that my voice is important and my truth is worth telling.
Underpinning this will be a focus on physical and emotional wellbeing – on good food and exercise, on forming new bonds and rekindling old friendships.
We do also have one slightly bonkers plan, as a family, which is to take advantage of a natural transition in Leigh’s work to go travelling in our camper van for a couple of months. Bonkers is good though, in amidst all of this careful planning. And besides exploring the potential of travel as a teacher has been on my radar for a while whilst Arthur remains outside of the restrictions of the school system…
So there you have it: 2018. A new year, full of new adventures and new challenges.
And plenty of happiness, I hope, for my family and yours.