“Still round the corner there may wait a new road, or a secret gate” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I realise I haven’t wished you a happy new year. Although it’s still January (just) so maybe I haven’t quite missed the boat. When exactly does the new year stop being “new” anyway?
Despite the deluge of “new year, new you” articles flooding my inbox, Facebook page and magazine subscriptions at this time of year – a reminder that we are socially obliged to feel dissatisfied with ourselves – I’ve managed to sidestep (somewhat gingerly) away from specific new year’s resolutions. I’m usually quite the enthusiast: run 40 km a week; pay bills on the day they arrive; be a better daughter; stop being late; go to the gym three times a week; be a better sister; respond to emails immediately; lose those extra four kilos that seem to have gradually taken root over the past couple of years; be a better girlfriend… Perhaps it’s because, despite the oodles of good will with which they’re made, they are usually doomed to almost immediate failure. Or perhaps it’s because this new year didn’t feel so much like a new start as a time for continuation and consolidation.
Work overflowed from December into January with no clean break. I became an Auntie in November (my nephew has fast become my new great love); a new life, the newest of new beginnings, began at the end of the year. And, at the end of October, after more than 12 months of uncertainty about our future location, our fate was sealed and we (very happily) get to stay put. I realised I had been subconsciously detaching myself from life in Copenhagen for the past several months with the thought of an impending move hovering over us. Suddenly it began to feel like home again.
So, if anything, 2016 will build on 2015’s news. It will be a year to reconnect. To travel a little less and work a little more from home. To get back into the theatre and back to Danish lessons. To find a ballet class and maybe a riding stables, to resume the hobbies I love. To spend more time with friends and family, and rediscover my enthusiasm for my adopted home.
Do those sound dangerously like resolutions? Maybe. But I can assure you they’re not. They’re things that will bring fulfilment, rather than self-improvement. And I won’t feel a sense of failure if any of them don’t come naturally to fruition just yet. Nor – if that is the case – will I be able use the fact that I didn’t “achieve” them to self-flagellate for the entire month of February (and beyond).
That said, I haven’t managed to segue seamlessly into 2016 without a slight nod to the need for personal reform. It’s an ongoing battle. But I’ve retreated from the particular to the general and opted for a “theme” for the year ahead. Or rather, true to form as a Jill-of-all-trades and serial multitasker, I’ve actually opted for two:
I don’t have any fixed goals in mind, except to broaden my creative and active horizons, whichever way the fancy takes me. I shall keep those two words in mind, and it will be a time for exploration and investigation. Poking my nose outside the boundaries of the comfort zone and taking a peek at what lies beyond. I’ll let you know what I discover.
In the meantime, I wish you a happy new year! I hope 2016 has got off to a great start, and that it brings everything your heart could hope for. And thanks for reading! xxx