No, these aren’t my New Year’s Resolutions, the word ‘resolution’ feels like too much pressure. But having a bucket list for turning 40 really did help me focus, albeit, at times, on the wrong things. So, as a compromise, I thought I’d write my hopes and dreams for 2019. Things to try to adhere to, try to make happen, try to maintain, try to be.
Last year ended on a fizzle, if not for the fun of children at Christmas it really would have ended on a damp squid.
I had a really good year at work, but in offering a project my heart and soul came the bittersweet. E crying on the stairs at five to six in the morning as I left to work away. My body collapsing as I started my annual leave, in response to having cancelled much of it over the year. So, numbers 1 and 2 are chicken and egg… because yep, I’m a #workingmum (that’s irony, and my teeth are grating).
1. To be more present at home
I have decided that I have no intention of doing more than two consecutive overnights this year. It’s a small start. It may not be feasible but I would like less to be the norm.
Over the Christmas break I rearranged the kitchen, making it easier to have meals as a family. And I’ve loved it. Even if the boys conversation is relentless.
I want to spend more time at home. Not working. I want to be on the school run. I want to be available.
To enjoy the same things they do. I want to spend time playing board games and cuddle up for movies. To find slow cooker meals which they enjoy. To find quick and easy bakes so they can help prepare desserts.
2. To take my annual leave across the year
This year I carried over more leave than I’m allowed. Ten days of annual leave (for someone who works a four day week) and who took three weeks over Christmas. It turned out it’s not big, funny or clever.
But I have plans for 2019. I’m a realist, I can’t add my carryover to my allowance and expect to take it all if I couldn’t take my allowance in 2018. So I’m lucky to be able to sell a week.
And I’ve already booked a couple of days in the February half-term, a week over Easter. I have plans to get away with the family in July. And I have aspirations to make a return to Edinburgh in the summer.
And now, thinking as I type, I may need to revert to studying… let’s not go there yet.
3. To spend 5 minutes each day I’m at home listening to the sea
I may spend the odd day cursing my husband for deciding on dogs which aren’t really of the small/ medium variety but there is the benefit of their need for exercise.
I am of the odd for variety where I am content to not leave the home. Between board games, books, music and movies I am content.
But there is nothing as restorative as listening to the waves doing their thing. Whether lapping gently at your feet or crashing against the shore.
This week I stood listening to the sea, questioning why we need to live here. Why not anywhere? And after 5 minutes, the reason was clear.
4. To eat in at least twelve Indian restaurants
Spending time with the children isn’t the only thing I have on my mind this year. We’re still in the joyous position that no-one apart from my parents have looked after my children, which means time with him is lacking.
Whilst my taste buds maybe on the conservative side of spice, it’s his favourite meal. So this one is for us – with or without the kids.
5. To read at least twelve books
It seems I’m thinking of going back to uni. But I don’t want to lose reading for pure enjoyment. I’ve been on a roll the last few months and would like to continue. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself in terms of one a month, but I will put pressure on myself to read, just because.
6. To get to the theatre at least twelve times
Like reading I’ve decided not to say ‘once a month’, although I really am hoping it can be. I don’t want to binge watch but find productions which inspire and enthuse me. Again, this was one I was so fortunate with in 2018, I hope it continues.
7. To go on another family holiday on a plane
Yes, we were completely spoilt last year in being able to go to Egypt. Whilst I convinced myself we were worth it as it fell in between my 40th and his 50th, the need for vitamin D is great.
There was something in being in another country which made me concerns about work dissipate, whereas when we holiday in Britain I tend to keep an eye on my emails.
So yes, I would love to escape.
8. To meaningfully plan/ save/ implement a new kitchen
This is probably one which will hang around forever otherwise. I long for a kitchen/ diner which flows. Our current arrangement is a kitchen and dining room with the wall removed, and it still feels like two rooms (something to do with a tiled and amtico floor).
Trying to decide on a kitchen which has a chance of timelessness and one which I won’t hate after a year is putting me off. But after rearranging the space over Christmas and falling in love with the space, I’d love to have it feeling more like us.
9. To commit to personal development
2019 will most likely be the year I’ll be made redundant. I haven’t developed any psychic ability. In 2017 I found out my team would become office based, and the office is 200 miles away. In December we were told the expectation is that all office based roles will be in place by December 2019. So there’s a bit of a reality behind the prophecy.
There’s also a reality that this is familiar territory. I had all intentions of accepting redundancy in 2016 before realising I quite liked the job I had been seconded into.
So, whilst the process and emotions are familiar I have learned my lessons.
I must find time for myself. I need to find a form of exercise which makes me happy- I need to stay healthy and have an escape.
But there’s another reality. My last formal learning was my MBA, in 2009. I feel like my commitment to personal development is lacking. Yes. Since 2009 I’ve successfully grown three children, and taken on three different roles in employment, and grown this blog (and its previous baby focused version).
So, whilst I had absolutely no intention of going back to university, my head is telling me with four of six modules under my belt I should at least get myself to the point where I can exit with a formal qualification.
And should the little fire of a love for academia be rekindled, I’ve probably got nothing to lose.
Which leads me on to my final hope.
10. To not lose me in 2019
There have been too many times over the past couple of years where I’ve taken myself off into hibernation. And it’s been for the best. But I shouldn’t let myself get there.
I’ve got a vague idea of what causes it. Too many nights working away. With too many meetings in too short an amount of time to process. Too many deadlines. Too much taken on.
So I will stop. I won’t let me be affected by the things I can change.
I watch so many others just not ‘do’. And I don’t want to be them. But I do want to learn from them. I want to take more responsibility for what I do. So I don’t feel like I’m on a spiral to somewhere- with no idea of what somewhere looks like.
And so that’s my ten. It feels much more achievable than my bucket list for my 40th. So hopefully it’s realistic.