Monday, 7 January 2013

Being irresolute

I have always been a bit of a sucker for new things: a new school year, all new exercise books and shiny new pencil cases; a new year with a new diary just waiting for the painstaking list of New Year resolutions.  So it is not really a surprise that for years I have carried on making New Year resolutions, long after the age when most sensible people give it up as a waste of time.  Of course one of the problems of being in your fifties is that you know that the resolutions you make have been the same every year for quite a long time (exercise more, drink less, ring your friends more often) which is clear evidence that they don't work.  I have tried ringing the changes by resolving to do things I think I will like to do.  A couple of years ago, I resolved to be more glamorous on a Thursday I remember.  I am not sure that I achieved that one in respect specifically of Thursday but it was part of a general desire not to disappear into jeans and fleeces every single day of my now rural life and I probably have managed that.  I have also considered making no resolutions at all but always wonder whether that would just result in a long slide into a fat, lazy, drunk and friendless old age!

Besides, after a couple of weeks of food and indulgence over Christmas and New Year, the idea of a clean sheet is quite appealing.  But what to resolve?

After a year where there has been a lot of family ill health I am once more painfully aware of how profound is the difference between health and sickness, so I am going to resolve to look after my body, not necessarily losing weight or anything cosmetic, just caring for the only body I have as it gets older.  I know it doesn't always follow that keeping fit and healthy is a protection against illness, indeed my dad was as fit as anyone I knew of his age and that has not prevented him from developing the condition which has reduced his physical, though not mental, abilities over the last year or so.  But nearly four years ago I walked the Offa's Dyke long distance path for 177 miles and a couple of years later I spent two weeks walking and climbing  the high mountains of Austria.  I think I would struggle with either of those right now.  Two years or so of looking after other people and worrying about them too has left me with an increased tendency to reach for the glass of wine or the cheese scone and less time for myself.  So I am going to make time to walk, an hour or so three or four times a week and a longer and more challenging walk a couple of times a month, and to go to my yoga class every week.  We live in a fabulous place with hill walking straight from the door.  I should get back to spending my time out in the hills as well as in the garden.

I am going to go places.  We might not be able to go to Peru for a fortnight or New Zealand for a month because of the ways other people depend on us but we have worked out a way of being away for four or five days at a time so, while we can, we will do more flying visits to London for theatre and friends, more short breaks to France or Germany, Italy or the Hebrides.  Life is short.  Carpe diem.

I am going to have fun, to see my family and my friends, both old and new.  Every month I will make time to see some of the interesting, lively and lovely people I know.

I am going to enjoy my garden, do the bits I like (taking cuttings, wandering about, thinking, planning) and less of the stuff which is just a drudge (for me veg growing and endless weeding).

In the midst of all the hard stuff that life throws at you, I am going to have a good time, both on my own and most importantly with the people I love.

Are these resolutions?  I suppose so, of a kind.




52 comments:

  1. I'm with you, wandering about the garden, thinking and planning ... Glamorous Thursdays? No - I live in comfortable country clothes!

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    1. I use the word glamorous fairly loosely Diana! Not wearing jeans just about makes the cut.

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  2. Those sound like really good decisions to me.I would describe it as getting your priorities right:)

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    1. Hope so! There are all sorts of things I haven't mentioned but we will let them go for now!

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  3. Elizabeth, you're so fantastically sane, honest and charming. And right! Not to be creepy, but thank you so much for mentioning me on thinkingardens. Did I say generous? No need for resolutions. But good luck with the walking and doing what you like!
    Jane

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    1. Blushing furiously, and the mention only your due.

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  4. Very good resolutions indeed! And if it's any consolation, I live in jeans and sweaters and I live a very urban lifestyle. You can't blame the sheep!

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    1. Ah but I have seen pictures of you and you are considerably chicer than I am, jeans or no jeans.

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  5. Your resolutions sound so very sane to me. I hope you get lots of short trips - short hops - lots of walks and a little yoga. It all sounds very good to me. I was so very happy that you made the hope to Long Mountain in September so that we could meet. Perhaps some time you'll make it to the Island - dreams are good too!

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    1. I would love to come to the island! That shall be one of my dreams. It was very good to meet you. Loved your post about blooming where you are planted too.

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  6. I like your resolutions. I always find that, even if I live a pretty healthy and sane lifestyle ordinarily, the holidays toss that all out the window, so starting fresh in January seems like a good way to respond to the chaos that is December. I didn't make any resolutions per se this year, but I am compiling a list on the website '101 things in 1001 days' which is sort of a goal-setting website - not limited to things that can be accomplished in a year (although you could do it that way.) Obviously the line between setting goals and making resolutions is a fine (blurry?) one, but since resolutions have never resulted in any lasting change for me, I'm going to try it this way for a change. Either way - Happy - and Healthy - New Year!

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    1. I have noticed how even these not really resolutions are somewhat like the real resolutions I used to make!

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  7. Great New Years wishes for self . . . I especially like enjoying the garden cuttings and planning, and less of the drudge! I am joining you with that decision, for sure!

    One more . . . the travel. We love to travel and have had to put our long, two, three week travels on hold for the past few years . . . We have been lamenting that reality of late and have decided, more travels, shorter stays are in our plans for 2013.

    I really loved this post!

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  8. I resolved not to make resolutions but perhaps this is the year where I should sit down a give it a little thought about which direction I want my life to go (given that I am getting pretty ancient now). I think you have made some good resolutions, nothing too threatening or hard - just requiring a little effort. Hope you manage to keep them all - it should make interesting reading.

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    1. Well we shall see! They are more in the way of small shifts to the way I live my life than the "go to the gym three times a week" variety so that might make it more likely that they happen. Watch this space...

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  9. Those are good resolutions... and you're right about the walking: those of us who live in the country are lucky. Paradoxically though I now walk less than I did when I lived in London. Maybe I'll join in with that one. Maybe... when it stops raining...

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    1. And today is a beautiful cold and sunny day! I know what you mean. I used to walk all over in the place in London as an alternative to public transport so it had a functional element to it. Here I get in the car to shop and work and have to choose to go walking because I want to!

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  10. That's the very best kind of resolutions. The ones that bring you genuine pleasure in themselves, with physical and mental health benefits as the side-effect rather than the objective.

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    1. I hope so Mark! Doing something for its own sake instead of constantly looking for another outcome attracts me.

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  11. Great ideas. We try and make the most of our hilly country too for walking, but have all but stopped the trips to other hilly parts for new challenges. Now that the house is pretty much done, and the garden well on its way, we must make time for some trips to Snowdonia and the Brecons again.

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    1. If you are a bit of a garden obsessive it is very easy for your time to take place in your own space. I hope to get out more! If you are coming to North Wales do let me know. It would be good to meet!

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  12. It's so easy to get totally wrapped up in all the things that need doing - in our case the house. Like you and others, we live in an area perfect for walking and yet hardly ever find the time to do the things we like.

    I would also spend my life in jeans. Except they no longer fit. Two birds with one stone methinks!

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    1. Well I admit to buying bigger jeans! I know just what you mean about the things that need doing. We don't have any fewer of those. I am just hoping to lift my head from them more often.

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  13. Thoughtful post Elizabeth. And I love your new header photo - how do you get it to show that size?

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    1. The photo is quite a big one (about 2.5MB from memory) and that gives you the larger size!

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  14. I don't do resolutions but have 4 'Life Priciples' instead. However, I have resolved to walk a long distance footpath in 2013 and it was you doing Offa's Dyke which has inspired me (albeit very late!) to do so this year.

    I'm not sure my fitness levels could even contemplate one hill, so having the Thames footpath fairly close by is the one which appeals at the moment...

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    1. Doing a long distance path is a great idea. I loved mine. One of the best things I have done!

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  15. As I've slid from my thirties into my forties, I developed a "not wardrobe" of jeans and tee shirts, as well. Recently I discovered Hue brand wide wale corduroy leggings, and they changed my life - and my wardrobe! I wear them with smart leather boots (flat heel) and oversized shirts. They come in lovely colors like olive green, heather grey, and espresso brown, and they are so warm and cozy and more comfortable to move around in than anything I've ever worn. No binding, no zippers or buttons or tight places, even if you sit cross-leggged on the floor, they'll never cut off your circulation. My lifestyle and schedule and budget just don't call for high heels and dresses, but ever since I discovered corduroy leggings, my wardrobe has finally developed a style!

    Here's to all of us living up to at least some of what we resolve! Happy New Year!

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    1. Just been to have a look at these - nice!

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  16. Sounds very wise and realistic Elizabeth and I do agree about taking control of your health to try and ensure a fit and active next bit. One of the reasons I am so into holistic health.

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    1. Hope you are right about the realistic bit Marianne!

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  17. Good for you girl. Go for it. I hope the weather is kind enough this year for us all to enjoy a bit more outdoor life.

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    1. Well I was going walking today but the wind was so cold and it is so high up here that I was blown back inside!

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  18. Those are good resolutions -- however long they last, they're worth the effort of re-setting perspective.

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    1. I agree. There is a value even to the short lived resolution!

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  19. I'm one of those people who feels that September/October is the time for fresh starts - probably ingrained from childhood - so I don't stress about January resolutions. At this time of year, when it's so dark, wet and cold, I think we do well enough just to get by, without adding pressures to make big changes. Once spring comes, I know I'll have more energy to get active again. Perhaps 'be kind to yourself' is my mantra.

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    1. That is a very good one. I will try to mix it with mine!

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  20. I love that more-Glam Thursday! Do you think it might catch on? You know as an alternative to dress down Friday. I think I made some resolutions but I have almost forgotten what they are: oh yes, something about always being aware of the time and trying to allot time to tasks - it works but it is awfully hard and there are so many things grabbing at ones attention. Let me though extend an invitation should your way ever take you from one end of Wales to the other (you could practically walk it!).

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    1. I think you have something with the alternative to dress down Fridays. I wonder if anyone would notice if I adopted dress up Thursdays?

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  21. I suppose they are resolutions but I think they are really a recognition of what you feel you need to do to make life a happier place. I gave up the allotment last year and it was a weight off my mind. This year I am really focussing on my garden and doing the things I enjoy like propagating plants. I also want to tackle the house which has been neglected for a few years. I also want to visit local gardens instead of trekking all over the place as I have in previous years. I want to feel relaxed, rested and fulfilled at the end of each weekend before embarking on another weeks work.

    I think we both have realistic goals/ambitions so heres to us achieving them.

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    1. You are right. It is very easy to get caught up in a sense of what you should be doing rather than what you want to do. Weirdly this happens even when you are not full time working, which has rather surprised me! I thought it wouldn't, but it does.

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  22. Those sound like excellent - and achievable, with a good wind behind you - plans. I don't like the r word, I think it winds up being loaded, but the turning of the year is a good time to take stock and work out what you want to do differently. Carpe Deum is an excellent way to attack life, I've watched one of my dearest friends be rocked by the loss of not one, not two, but 5 close friends and family, all in one year. Give that one of those was in his late twenties and died in his sleep, it is a bitter reminder that we have no clue what is around the corner, so enjoying the here and now, and the people who bring a smile to our faces, seems wise. I bunked off from my tax return today to take advantage of a clear sunny day and went for a walk instead. Hope 2013 is a good year for you.

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    1. Bunking off from the tax return? Did that one today too!

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  23. I think they're wonderful resolutions. I particularly like the one about taking time to have fun. That's the one thing that seems to fall by the wayside when one is burdened with family stuff. And it's so important to "carpe diem!"

    Have a wonderful year. We'll look forward to hearing about your new adventures. Take care and God bless!

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    1. Yes, fun is the aim up here, along with all the other stuff!

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  24. Great plans for a new year. I have to admit I'm terrible at thinking I have to cram too much in - so totally agree, the important thing is to put the emphasis on doing the bits we enjoy. Must try harder! Hope 2013 has lots of the fun bits in it for you.

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    1. Thank you and to you too. I am a big crammer inner so I do sympathise!

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  25. They sound like good plans to me! Have a wonderful 2013 Elizabeth. And perhaps we will manage that meet up later in the year :D

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    1. Would love to meet. Let us have another go at plotting to!

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  26. That all sounds sensible and achievable, without too much suffering or self-denial entailed. I love the having more fun one best.....

    Me, I'm going to try to stop whining about the cost of trains to London, and just use them more. Life is short, one's child grows older too; I want to see more of mine!

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    1. I am hugely aware of the growing older in relation to children but you are right, it is just as important with the adults you love! Good luck with the extra train journeys!

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