I feel I should be slinking back to this keyboard, pretending to yawn and stretch and say through bleary eyes “Oh what a lovely sleep that was… what time is it?”
January 2019?! My last post was nearly a year ago, so it might look like I’ve been asleep a long time, but it’s quite the opposite. I was very much awake, unfurling. Figuring stuff out. Finding stuff out. Learning, yearning and living. I retreated from many things, in order to achieve the things I really needed to achieve.
The weird thing is so much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same; the radio still rants relentlessly about Brexit, Trump is still trumping his own narcissistic nonsense and someone still hasn’t invented calorie-free wine.
But the landscape has changed all the same. Ireland repealed the 8th in a phenomenal groundswell of political and social and grassroots collaboration, and all over the world women stepped into a greater space for themselves from the incredible Vicky Phelan on cervical cancer scare, to #MeToo, to US High court judges, to Belfast courtrooms, to boardrooms and bedrooms.
I should probably hail my return with some poetic pontification of what I’ve learned and my forward moving resolutions for life. But the only resolutions I have are to be kind to myself more, and spend less time on housework and more time sitting on my ass reading good books. I still haven’t packed away my Christmas decorations, having fecked them into the spare room three weeks ago. How I love being a Recovering Perfectionist.
I’m also refusing to have a dry January, just a considerably less wet one than December. At least lifting the bulging bags of drained Christmas and New Year bottles to recycling counts as at least two of those four sets of push ups and arm lifts a day I promised myself I’d do. As I clinked the bags into the back of the car, my eldest announced she isn’t ever going to drink.
Slightly horrified that this was some condemnation of her mother’s behaviour, she announced it was because alcohol is too calorific. Now despite hating that reason (that’s a whole other post) but loving the sentiment, I didn’t correct her that a Gin and Slimline only has a mere 75 calories. Sure a fast walk to the kitchen (several times, as I forget what I came in for at least twice), a high arm lift to get the glass, a lunge into the freezer cubicle (because I haven’t fixed the ice dispenser yet in over a year), a pull on the cabinet door and a pour of the Gin must count for at least 50 of those. The fact that as soon as my arse hits a chair, someone wants me upstairs, or as I sit on the loo and someone wants me downstairs, it must account for at least another 50 so I’m nearly quids in.
One of the things I did learn over the last year is that short-term resolutions are not the way to improve your life, but to try and live as intentionally as possible all of the time. It’s interesting that my last post a year ago mentioned drugs – because I feel high as a kite. On life though. On potential. On the magic of this time of my life.
As well as finishing my novel, I started an Advanced Diploma in life coaching because I think I have something to offer other women, and to help them work out where they are going, and what they want from life. This is the single most transformative thing that has happened to me – to figured out what I want from this short, precious life and to make every decision accordingly.
During my sandwich years of caring for my mum and bringing up small children, during the demise and collapse of my marriage, and during the early post-break-up years of struggling to cope with single parenting wondering where the hell my stable life had gone, I spent so much time being scared of the future, horrified by the present and drained by the past.
But no more. I’m still and always will be a single parent; I still grieve the loss of the love and smell and warmth and beauty of my mum; I am about to engage in divorce proceedings. But I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.
And that’s because, (as Stephen Covey, author of the groundbreaking 7 Habits of Successful People so eloquently said): I am not the product of my circumstances. I am the product of my decisions.
The most important moment we all have is the one we are in – what we do from this moment on matters the most. Every day.