Do I have a word for 2015? No resolutions, although I have had fun with resolutions for years. Mind you, some do tend to recur rather: less food, more exercise, less wine. Nothing too exciting there then and clearly they don't work or they wouldn't keep coming round again like a wooden horse on a roundabout at an old fashioned fair.
But a word. I like the idea of a word. I came across it first on Exmoorjane's blog. Her word is "light". Then it cropped up again on a new discovery for me, The linen cloud, where the word is "grow" and on another new to me blog, Mitenska, with her word "brave". I like all of these. I am living very much in the now. My father's health casts a long shadow over 2015 so I had not intended to do anything which involved any sort of looking ahead. What would be the point? Be here, now. But as I read the last of these blogs a word formed in my mind, suddenly, sweetly, like a bubble blown by a child: free.
I have been mulling about "free" for a day or so now. It is an odd word for me with my many, beloved ties. I do not wish in any way to be free of my ties to my husband, my children and stepchildren, my grandchildren, my father, my wider family and my friends. My ties to these people, which I suppose do constrain me in many ways, make me the person I am. They are the warp and weft which make up the fabric of my life. They give my life shape and meaning and sense. Yes, there are times when I feel all of my energy running outward to others and know that I need to pull back inside myself for a day or two but there are also times when their energy lifts and supports me and keeps me afloat. I do not want to be free of my wonderful, sustaining ties. So what is all this about "free"?
It has slowly grown on me that the wish to be free seems to be connected to two things: having less and doing more. Having less, owning fewer things, living with less stuff, is an interesting one. I don't think we are paid up members of the consumer society. I could not truthfully say that we live frugally but I do think we live quite carefully, quite thoughtfully, trying not to waste, making food from scratch - our own bread, our own jams and preserves. We don't shop as a recreation. We mend and re-use. We are not, I don't think, acquisitive. Yet still our house and our outbuildings are full of stuff. It washes in through the door. Paper piles up on desks and in trays. Books accumulate in leaning towers by the bed. CDs and videos which we rarely listen to or watch fill drawers and shelves. Outside the outbuildings heave with tools and materials. Clearly we have chosen to live a life where the responsibilities for things both outside and in require an armoury of equipment which we would never need in a two bedroomed flat in the city. We can never return to our eighteen year old selves with possessions that fitted into a rucksack and a battered trunk. But we have envelopes and notepads and biros you could open a stationery shop with, files of papers going back to the years before we moved here, seeds we never sow, clothes we never wear.
I need to be free of some of it. Some is mine, some is Ian's, some is no-one -in-particular's. I shall start by looking at my things and see if empty files and clutter free wardrobes give me more room to breathe.
Of course the problem with getting rid of stuff is that it takes time but I shall find some, even if only a little. Perhaps a little every day will make a difference and still leave me with time for the other face of freedom. Because some of being free is to do with doing more of the things I love and less of the things that weigh me down:
More drinking tea.
More reading with grandchildren.
More sitting on a hillside watching the sun come up.
More holding hands.