Looking towards 2019 with tenacity

Sitting down to write this post I looked back at my similar post from this time last year where I pledged to be kind to myself. As I read through it I realised that many of the things I set out to achieve didn’t materialise and I was a bit downhearted.  Although I knew that often they didn’t happen for good reason rather than just life’s busyness, although at times I think that and the lethargy that had been building over the year played its part too it was still a disheartening read.  But it was only as I remembered I was meant to be being kind to myself that I realised that I had been after all.  Had I been driven by achieving everything, quite honestly I think something would have had to give.

So while I didn’t achieve everything I set out to, and while sometimes it’s been quieter here than I’d have hoped, and I haven’t been as on top of things everywhere, that’s ok as 2018 has been a tricky year for us.  But it’s been one full of family time with commitments reevaluated and with plenty of highs to counterbalance some of the lows.  We lost my FIL relatively quickly to cancer, but we’ve also celebrated eightieth birthdays for both mums with afternoon tea and a surprise weekend in Birmingham and that impromptu trip the ballet.  There’s been holidays, but not the big trip to the US as we thought, as it was more important to be able to get home quickly if we needed to.

There was some big work on the house with our conservatory revamp, and smaller jobs too with some new wallpaper, which you’ll already know I’m very pleased with.  Our garden - and time working in our garden - suffered though as there wasn’t much time to spare and we reluctantly also gave up our plot, as that was one thing too far, even for us. 

Overall though, I was kinder to myself, despite my first reaction when reading last year’s post.  I was still busy, and it was a busy year at work as well and as ever there was still lots to do (and most of it got done), and there was a promotion for me at work too.  However, the biggest act of kindness was finally taking myself to the doctors towards the end of the year and giving myself permission to slow down.

It’s clear that in 2019 I need to continue the kindness - and build on it - so the word I’ve chosen for this year is tenacity.  I’ve a feeling that I’ll need to approach this year with determination, patience and persistence and it’s a word that works in many ways, whether that’s related to pursuing my health to make sure I get the right answers, crafting and learning new skills and of course, booking that big holiday which is back on again, and this year we’re determined to make it happen.

We’ve a family wedding to look forward to as well and a milestone birthday for my dad, and who knows what other celebrations the year will bring.  No doubt there’ll be the usual house jobs to do, many left over from last year and we’re hoping to really make progress with the garden again, making sure we schedule in plenty of time to enjoy it too.

It’s not just our garden that we’re planning to enjoy, MOH has already started a list of restaurants and pubs we should visit, and more ambitiously I’ve places for weekends and short-trips.  I’ve some photo books to put together for the past three years, and I’ve some plans for my blog too, which include sharing many of the older photos which for whatever reason haven’t made it here yet. 

I knew I had a few posts that I wanted to write and photos to share, but seeing just how many means I won’t run out of content any time soon, and that’s without even doing anything new!  But even so, 2019 already feels like it’s got potential to be a busy year, and I’m sure that we’ll do our best to influence how it plays out as best we can, as much as any of us can.

What’s on your radar for this year?

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

My word for 2018: Kind

It was last year walking home from work one evening when it struck me that I hadn't quite got the balance right. Somehow, somewhere along the way I'd got sucked in and forgotten about me. I was busy, there was lots to do and I was doing much of it, but I felt pulled in so many directions. I'd left work late again to help me get through what needed to be done, but still I knew there would always be more to do.

As my evenings were getting shorter, my list of home- and life-related tasks weren't. No wonder I was tired, and felt like I was hardly achieving anything. In truth, I was achieving lots, but I was also putting pressure on myself to do everything and more, and to do it well. 

Like we do.

But how did this become so clear walking home? 

Walking to and from work is my space for thinking and pondering, and acts in the same way as many other commutes. But as I walked home a familiar cyclist headed past me, and heading in the wrong direction. I called after him - it was MOH - but intent on the road and pursuing his mile target he didn't hear me, and I thought perhaps I'd been mistaken. 

Soon though that familiar cyclist had turned around and was cycling alongside me. It was MOH, and in the dark it'd taken him a little while to realise it was me (we're a right pair aren't we?!)  He was full of tales of the extra loop he'd completed on the way home, adding miles to the target he'd set himself many months before, and how now his target for the evening was done he was off to complete his post-work errand to collect the parcels from the local post office, and how he'd see me at home. 

And then he was gone again, and I was back to my thoughts, and creating the mental list of the shopping I needed to pick up on the way home, and what needed to be done when I got in. And I marvelled at the inequality of it all, before realising it was in my gift to change. 

Photo by  Greyson Joralemon  on  Unsplash   ** I'm not entirely sure how this image relates to kind, but I liked it, so I'm using it! **

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash
** I'm not entirely sure how this image relates to kind, but I liked it, so I'm using it! **

Arriving home though rather than seeing the lopsided-ness of life, I found myself admiring MOH's determination and realised that I also should set my priorities and be as just as determined with my goals. 

I can be a procrastinator, but I'm also a great do-er, I know that.

But I have to let - or make time for - myself to do that, and that's where my word for this year comes in.  This year I'm prioritising being kind to myself, so I can be as determined with my goals. Because while I don't feel much like a gander, we all know that saying, don't we?

I'm hoping that this year being kind to myself will show itself in all kinds of ways. Leaving work timely, eating healthily, exercising and sharing more of those evening chores with MOH, he's going to be so pleased when he learns this, are just the start.

I'm planning more crafts, I already have several crochet and scrappy quilts planned and want to start some new ones too. I've an idea that I can make some t-shirt wool from old t-shirts and crochet baskets with that. It sounds easy enough but I'm sure there'll be some lessons along the way. 

We were pretty poor at getting away last year and so I'm planning to be more on my game for that, and already I've started research for a trip to the States involving Chicago, Nashville, a train and San Francisco and more, but I just haven't worked out what yet.

We also plan to have some work done on our conservatory and in theory that will end the "first" round of decorating, but we all know that decorating is never truly done and I'm sure there'll be a few more projects along the way.  We need to finish adding slate around the circles in our garden and come up with a plan for the area in front of the pizza oven, and of course there's the allotment too.

So while I'm planning to be kind to myself, I'm not expecting to be any less busy, and I'm sure you didn't expect that from me either did you?

Looking towards 2017

It's that time of the year when like many of you I start to look forward to what next year might bring and how I can shape that, even if that's in the smallest way. For the last few years I've chosen a word for the year - last year it was shine, the year before focus and before that active and I've had mixed success with using them as a guide for the year. But as I still think I'm more likely to have success with a single word than a raft of New Year's Resolutions I'm sticking with this approach. 

I've learnt for a word to stand the most chance of being successful I have to love it and what it stands for.

So for 2017 the word I've chosen is flourish.  Not in the curlicue, decorative way or in the wave about kind of way, I mean in the grow and prosper meaning. Although I'm not sure I can commit to there not being any of the other meanings throughout the year!

I think it works as an all rounder for my home life, work life and blog life. I still want to get things done, and do them well but I also want to grow and prosper as much as I can too. At work that means continuing to shape my role in my new organisation, implement changes and generally make the job my own, and I think that's entirely do-able.

Here on the blog, I've realised over the past year that it's the gardens and gardening posts that I really enjoy and you seem to as well, so I want to grow those (sorry!) this year. For Christmas I received membership to the RHS and I'm looking forward to getting out and exploring all that has to offer. I still plan to write about homes and interiors and the projects underway in our own home but this year I'm also a RIBA Friends of Architecture member and I'm looking forward to making the most of that too.

In real life both MOH and I will be celebrating our fiftieth birthdays, and our tenth wedding anniversary this year so we hope to do that in style and I'm also hoping there'll be a holiday (or two) to celebrate along the way too. I'm off to Munich in January, and very much looking forward to that and sharing all of that here too.

Share your hopes and dreams for 2017

As I said at the start of this post, I'm probably not the only one thinking about what 2017 can bring, so if it's something you've been thinking about I'm keen to know what your hopes, dreams, goals, resolutions, aims or whatever you call them are. You don't have to be a blogger to take part in this, just leave a comment to let me know.

If you're a blogger I'd love to read your post, so add your link below - I'll leave this linky open until mid-January. And if you add the badge to your post and tweet me @Lifeat139a I'll share your post too.