I generally don’t make New Year resolutions but this year I might make two; or at least one and a half.
Very often I find that people’s resolutions at this time of the year tend be rather negative; all about what you are not going to do or what they are going to give up. To me those kind of personal promises might be made for the best of reasons but the emphasis always involves a loss of something pleasurable rather than the gain of something worthwhile. Cutting out cigarettes, alcohol or too many cream cakes probably won’t achieve much unless there is an equal determination to do something positive to improve one’s health or lifestyle. Personally I am quite comfortable with my vices. I eat, drink and smoke in moderation and in general my health is pretty good so I don’t see any point in making any token pledges about those things. But I think it is psychologically good to start the new year with some new aims, objectives and ambitions so I have been trying to think of things that would be beneficial for me.
The first thing that comes to mind sounds very selfish and cuts me to the bone and that is to reclaim my own life. To be honest 2011 was a really bad year for me and I am glad that it is over; but the problems that reached their peak during the year haven’t really gone away. Last year was all about my mother’s rapidly deteriorating health. I have written about this elsewhere so I don’t want to go into too much detail here. In short I had to give up work late summer because mu Mum was no longer able to care for herself at all. I then began a reluctant but urgent search to find a care home for her. That process was pretty soul destroying but eventually I found a place and Mum moved into a home about a month ago. It is a good place with kind and caring staff and they take good care of her daily needs. But I still visit every day and I still feel that I understand her needs better than anybody else. I also know that she wants and needs me to visit as often as possible; and I want to be able to do that. Letting go is proving the hardest part of this whole process and I will admit I have cried myself to sleep several times recently.
But I need to earn a living and get back my own life. I am scheduled to start work again next week which will involve travel to Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Serbia. I will get some breaks at home between courses, but still, this will be the longest period without daily contact with my mum for half a year and it worries me tremendously. I have never approached a new contract more nervously.
On the other hand I know I need to start being me again. I am good at my job and I enjoy doing it. I have good friends throughout Europe and I am looking forward to seeing them again. Yes there are many places and people to reacquaint myself with and new ones to discover. There are bands to see, musicians and artists to wink at… And yes, some more “earthly pleasures” would be nice as well. It’s been a while…
So yes, my first new year resolution will be to reclaim my life, but at the moment I feel half-hearted about saying it. It seems so cruel to even think about it when at the same time my mum is slowly losing both her life and her mind. And I wonder if she will even remember me when I come back to visit…
My other resolution is to write more; and more regularly. I enjoy writing and still have aspirations and ambitions in that area. With things being as they have been during the last year I just haven’t had time and I have gotten out of the habit of writing. This shouldn’t be too difficult to fix. Perhaps I will start by writing more here and I have plenty of other writing projects that I could be getting on with. So this is a resolution I think I can keep to.
Writing these thoughts and plans down now provides a useful bench-mark on this first day of the year. In the weeks and months to come I can look back on this post and measure my progress and see how things have evolved.
This is how 2012 began for me.