I am not usually one for new year resolutions, but am going to try a change this year. I want to simplify my life.
Last year was a tough one. An injured son, another son doing his final year at school, and the care of my ailing Dad and his subsequent death. All while running a busy home and running my company. I am physically and spiritually tired. I am involved in many things and am looking to move away from stress rather than walk head first into it.
My husband and I had breakfast on our own on new year’s day. I identified to him a few things that I liked to do that make me happy and if we could do these things, some weekly, others annually, then that would be wonderful.
I was surprised how few things were needed to do this and how simple they were. To name a few - breakfast once a week or fortnight at our favourite breakfast place; a swim at the beach in the summer and a walk there when it is too cold to swim; the occasional dinner at our local restaurant; and the odd holiday. The rest of the time I am happy to just hang out at home with my family or catch up with friends.
The love of my family and friends that underpins my happiness. These things that I talked about with my husband are the icing on the cake. I am lucky enough to have a few regular friends catch ups, people who know me well and can tell as soon as I walk in the door my mood and wellbeing. Their ongoing love and support is like a healing process from the inside out. They help to dissolve all the stress and negativity that has plagued me in the past few years. I don't have to be anyone else except myself as they accept me for who I am on any given day. We laugh and cry, work through problems that I might otherwise stew upon.
"A problem shared is a problem halved" as my wise old Grandmother Mollie would say, she was right. My also wise friend Ted has a famous saying of " Smile, and keep the bastards guessing." So when I am upset or angry, I have taken his words in and just smiled and moved along. Simple sayings with huge benefits to my weary soul.
Beaches and walks
Then there is my husband who is always there to make sure I am true to myself. Not a man that needs fancy or many material things, I can learn how to keep things pretty simple from him. After discussing my happy things with him at breakfast, it turns out he shares the same wishes.
As we now have one son starting university and the other heading into his final few years of secondary school, it is refreshing to know that we still share many of the same interests and pleasures; that when our boys, who have been such a big part of our every waking moment for so long, eventually move on to start their independent life journey, leaving us oldies behind, that we will look forward to these days rather than dread them.
While we love our boys whole-heartedly and wish that they remain day-to-day parts of our lives, we know that they are not the glue that holds our marriage together. While we have had to make room between my husband and I to accommodate our sons, we have never been pushed so far apart that we can't come back together as a couple, we have always remained a couple, just the elasticity of our union has altered through life's challenges. It’s a simple pleasure of sharing our life together.
I am also getting better at saying no and stepping back from things that I just can't manage anymore. I am learning to concentrate on the things that make me happy rather than making everyone else happy but me. I don't wish to be selfish, but just preserve the energy that I have for happiness and contentment. If I can be the best and happiest person I can be, that can only benefit others.
So here's cheers to 2015. May it be a wonderfully simple year for me, and simply wonderful for you as well.