This isn't as easy as I thought it would be to write. 2010 was a completely crazy year. We became four when Max arrived in March only 17 months after the first time we became parents, Will started his career after months of unemployment, I took another long break from my own job to be a full time mama and Ollie dealt with more change than he'll probably ever have to cope with as a little man. I really can't summarise it in a sentence, but suffice to say it was another year of learning, very hard work and true joy.
I often hear people say they're happy to see the end of a year and the start of a new one, but I don't think I've ever felt that way. Each year that goes by makes me feel a little melancholy; maybe because I missed something or could have done things differently, but mainly I feel a little sad to be saying goodbye to experiences and events that I won't see again. I'm a creature of habit, and I don't mind change, but it takes a lot of mental and emotional preparation for me to deal with it positively, so past events hold a certain comfort for me, one that slips away when we do something big like welcome in another year.
And so, here we are, it's 2011 and the start of what promises to be another big year. I go back to work in little over a week, Max will be a whole year old, I will be 25 (that was a genuine typo, I mean 35), it will be 10 years since I met Will and we will have been married for 5 years. I have no doubt Ollie will continue to challenge and awe us with his retreat from infancy into boyhood and I know that balancing my career with my family, home and creative urges will be demanding to say the least. But, as I remind myself daily, we for the most part choose our circumstances, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. It's hard work, but what else would I do?
Which brings me to my resolutions. A new year. A. New. Year. I've never written down my resolutions before, but then I don't think I've ever kept them either, so maybe writing them down will mean this year will be different. I think three resolutions is more than enough for one person, and probably a little ambitious, but I have more than that as I believe that when it comes to personal goals, it helps to aim wide.
- To floss more often. This is a resolution carried forward from the beginning of 2010 which fizzled out shortly after Max was born. I think every other day is reasonable, but if I can manage it once a week, I think my dentist will be happy.
- To try one new recipe every week. Even though I love the idea of shopping daily at markets for the evening repast, I have, for many years now, planned our meals weekly, but lately I've been getting complacent and adding the same old dishes to the list which has meant the inclination to cook is waning. I was given this awesome vegetarian cookbook for Christmas which is a good start.
- To improve my fitness. I know everyone has this on their list, but my main aim isn't really to get fit, but to get into a rhythm of exercising more often, be it yoga, walking or cycling on a stationary bike to hardcore techno. I think I am done with growing babies (it pains me to write that), so my body is my own again. Time to make it feel that way.
- To improve my French. I have a rudimentary knowledge of this beautiful language, but one day, I want to speak it fluently. I will have to if we are to retire to our future chalet in the French Alps.
- To stop questioning the meaning of life, and then trying to make it perfect. It doesn't help me get through the day, and it often stops me from enjoying myself. We're here, we have stuff to do, fun to have and wine to drink. Get over it.
And then, there's the ongoing effort not to let the daily grind take over my life. I have spent my life so far worrying about what might happen and I don't think it's ever done me any good, except that I'm probably a little more organised and prepared than I might be if I didn't worry. Never did I imagine I would be mama to two little boys (I imagined it but didn't expect it), but as much as anything else, even when they are draining me of every ounce of energy I have, they are here to remind me that I need somehow to dwell on the highs and not the lows. Now, if I can remember that instead of a list of unkeepable resolutions, I might be getting somewhere.