I was unsure about how to start this new year. Do I acknowledge the last twelve months at all or do I just sweep it all under the rug and make a fresh start today? This last year has been the least chaotic for our family in a long, long time. We did not buy a house, sell a house, have a new baby, have children that were constantly sick or needing operations, start at a new school/kindy or discover any new dietary limitations for anyone in the family.
Our complicated child in this last year has seen his paediatrician twice. Prior to that he was known by six specialist paediatricians and a selection of therapists. For us, it is quite a novel thing to only be dealing with the usual, the everyday. There are of course ongoing complexities for our family but they are all old and familiar and I am a seasoned veteran with these and mostly in the last twelve months life has become much simpler.
My chosen word to represent 2012 was " Grow". Ironically, this is the first year in six that I probably did not have to grow much at all. In hindsight, the previous six years that were so hard, so challenging, caused me to grow so, so much. Of course you don't realize while you are doing the growing. So this year was perhaps a year to "Bloom" instead. For me that meant being able to take the time to do things that make my heart sing, instead of just doing what is needed to keep everyone else afloat.
There is a lot of colour and pretty on this blog. There are a lot of frills and fluff. When your life is a layered cake of complex and difficult, it is so good to have a space to go that is all about the icing and sprinkles. Here are all the befores and afters from this year while I crafted and created to my happy place. (I didn't feel that I did much at all this year, but surprisingly it's not as insignificant as I thought).
What became of my gratitude project? The one where I planned to post a letter of thanks every day for a year. Well, I did around 90 and then gradually life just got in the way. Many months passed and I had not written a single thank you. Then our much loved neighbours, the Menace brothers, moved , to the new house they had built a few streets away.
They may as well have moved to the Outback. Our yard was suddenly quiet after school and I realized that the year of precious memories of happy, noisy gangs of children playing in my backyard was a moment that had passed by. I wrote my neighbour (the mother of those wonderful boys who accepted my complicated child wholeheartedly) a thankyou card for making such a difference in our family's life, just by sharing her children with us.
She turned up at my house a week later to thank me in person. She told me that she had just been out doing a presentation to the Country Women's Association in rural Queensland. That she had been envious of the solidarity and support that these country women had for each other. That she was saddened that her life in our little suburb did not reflect this kind of care and connectedness. And then she arrived home the next day and there was my card in her letter box. We both had a cry. And if that is not a sign that this gratitude project is an exceptionally meaningful commitment, well just bludgeon me with a hammer.
I did in fact write a list of resolutions last year but given my penchant for scribbling on scraps of paper, it is nowhere to be found. I suspect I achieved very little of it. I am only cross about not doing a camera course to learn how to use my camera properly, I did try three times but each time the course was on a day that I work. Hopefully, this year it will be easier to make it happen.
This year, I suspect is going to be very full, very busy. There is supposed to be a renovation for Betsy you know. It is supposed to start in March. I know in advance that it is supposed to take around four months. I have the good sense to know that this could be delusionally optimistic. I also have the good sense to know that it is probably going to be somewhat painful to live through but at the end it will be so, so worth it.
But the mantra for the year ahead I could not distill down to a single word this year. About a year ago, a lovely girl posted a few comments on my blog. I popped over to her blog to see what she was all about. I liked her blog a lot. It was about living simply, with less. Strangely, after commenting that day on my blog she did not post again and has not for over a year. So I won't link you over there but will say thank you to her for providing the words for me for 2013.
Less Stuff, More Life.
I have felt bogged down by our stuff for the last three years. We have been culling and selling and donating more than I could ever have imagined and we are not done yet but we are getting there. As each item leaves our house, I feel a bounce in my step. It all started when I read this book, It's all too much by Peter Walsh a few years ago, when we were moving into Betsy and realized we had way too much stuff.
Much of our stuff was child related paraphernalia and as time passes much of it is no longer needed. A small number of the most treasured toys and books have been boxed up to keep, most is going or gone. It is getting easier to be ruthless and emotionally detach. I am quoting William Morris daily.
"Have nothing in your home (life) that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
Ugly serviette holder made by me in Grade 9 woodwork- gone. Shoes from my wedding that were ugly and uncomfortable - gone. Every sipper cup in the house- gone. Thankfully milk glass and vintage sheets fulfil both criteria to stay so there will still be some very selective op shopping.
Luckily, these two are both useful and beautiful so they get to stay. Hugs are a rare commodity, sometimes she gets lucky and he tolerates it. This is twelve months ago.
Happy New Year to you all and may you all have more life and less stuff this year too.