The days of being 38 are over - one year to go before the big Four-Oh...!
And as usually happens, instead of New Year's Resolutions, I find myself pondering some birthday-time ones. It's a good time each year for me to evaluate where I'm at and where I want to be in the year ahead.
Like every set of resolutions, there are a few to do with how I look. This time last year I was skinny - but unfortunately it was more necessity-starvation related than healthy-weightloss. This year I've picked up a few kilos - again, not in a healthy way. The year has worn me down to the point where meals are rushed and whatever's at hand, instead of well-planned, nutritious gatherings that feed both body and soul. I've been working so hard that when it comes time to feed the hungry I wander around the kitchen wondering what to make next, completely uninspired and wishing that bloke on the Food channel would drop in to help out. I'm constantly dehydrated - no time to drink water, or I simply forget. All told, I'm not in the best health, and neither is my family. Which is my fault, I'm the home-maker / cook / shopper. In the year ahead I need to sort out our nutrition with a definite plan for each meal, well ahead of time. It's the basis for our daily energy and thus our ability to generate cash-flow. With all three of us working hard every day (and night), we have to have the right fuel for our bodies. Whether they boys complain about seeing more green things on their plates or not :-) Some of those green things I aim to grow right outside my front door, despite the fact that my entire yard is bricked up.
Basically - I / we need to eat better and sleep more. In a nutshell.
Add in to the body image the fact that wrinkles are springing up more readily, with their accompanying grey hair. I simply haven't had time to pamper my looks. My daily attire consists of takkies, jeans and a t-shirt, which usually ends up quite dirty by lunchtime. I haven't worn nail polish or perfume in months. I have a farmer's tan - the legs are snow white, the arms black-tanned. Make-up is something that's slapped on in the half-dark with the hope that it looks like I imagine it does instead of what I suspect the mirror will show me. In the year ahead I want to feel like a chick again, and look like a chick again. I'd love to own a skirt, something more than jeans to wear now and then. I need to replace just about every bit of make-up in my collection. This morning I've attended to a few facial matters - later this week I plan to attend to the flowing locks. The boys gave me a Woolies voucher for my birthday - I'll be perusing their shelves for some chick stuff as soon as I have a few minutes to do so. Later today I'm doing a clothing chuck-out: all the old crappy stuff needs to go to make room for what I really use and what isn't full of holes.
Beyond how I look and how I eat, there's how I feel. The time has come to reclaim myself - lost in the melee of the daily grind. I know deep inside who I am and what I'm capable of, but I've given a lot of this up, shut it quietly up, hid it away. I've become meek and conforming instead of listening to my gut, standing up for what I know and using that inner strength that saw me through some tough times in the past. Somehow I need to let that out - I know my work will be better for it. I need to shut down the fear of being ridiculed or having my dreams/opinions squashed and just go for it.
Then there's my home. I look around me and see barely-controlled chaos. We're three people living in limited space with two businesses that share it in many ways. Long working hours mean housework is fitted in when I can on the weekends, if we're not out on site or busy with other things. Yes, a lot of my work is done from home - but it doesn't mean I have time while here to attend to my housewifely duties. I still struggle balancing the home-maker with the cash-producer. Yet my home NEEDS to be a haven, as practical as it is required to be too. I've got big dreams to do so - I simply need to start working on them one at a time, and finishing them. Unfortunately many of them take cash to accomplish, which is always in short supply as we need to plug it in elsewhere. There are some big-budget items that need replacing in the next year: the lounge suite, the TV, the fridge/freezer, the microwave, stuff in our bedrooms... I need to get our storage and organization under control. We'll get there, will just take some careful budgeting.
My family could do with a few things too. We all need new clothes. New shoes. New office chairs, new computers.
And that brings me to the next to-do for the year ahead. It's been a very difficult year financially - next year has to be better. There is much hope on the horizon, I simply need to find a way to bring it closer. I admit I'm often frustrated that I seem to be treading water, waiting for things to happen. This year I have to make them happen. It is going to take some seriously hard work, that's a given. There's no miracles, no lotto winnings to wait for. Practically, you're only going to get as far as the effort you're willing and able to put in. In the year ahead I have a goal to bring in a set amount each day - I have to now find a way to do just that. It's probably going to require some "but first's". Before I can do this, I have to do that etc. It may also require buying another vehicle. But I've been sitting down and plotting what it will take, and I think I can do it. Deep breath...
Between all the work, I want to take regular time-outs. Not only to sit still in quiet somewhere for a few minutes (I may have to create that space if I can't find it), but also to spend time on things that feed my soul. I opened up my piano for the first time in months a few days ago - although my fingers can remember what to do, they're rusty. I have projects and stuff to make that I want to get to. One thing at a time. I would love to write again - whether for mere pleasure or for profit (need to find the words somewhere in my head for that and get them out). There are skills I want to develop, things I want to learn more about. My boys need more time and attention from me without distraction. Seperate from the daily slog, all these are stimulation for my brain and my heart. I'll be better because of them, and so will those around me.
This is all really a list in progress. It's a start, a direction pointer for the year ahead. Things will go from there, growing organically as each day unfolds.
39 - seemed so old when I was a teen. Not so old on this side of it. And definitely not too old to have a fantastically successful year to come.