Is it inevitable that we look back on the old year before the new year starts? How has it been, did I achieve what I set out to do?
On the whole I think we had a good year – no deaths or serious illnesses, the usual ups and downs of life with school-age kids and teenagers. Compared to a few years we’ve lived through recently, it has to rate above the line. I certainly didn’t achieve all I set out to during the year – weight has gone up not down, I still haven’t run the marathon I’ve been planning to run for the last 20 years, although my 31km mountain run in July wasn’t far off and I didn’t manage (at all!) to write my novel or not to add to my stash of books, fabric and yarn.
However, I did manage to get this blog up and running – and I can hardly remember what life was like before I wrote every day. I also learned to machine quilt and I finally managed to extricate myself from the last of my external responsibilities – and am no longer Church Flower Fairy.
The latter is the end of something I started a couple of years ago. I think it was at the beginning of 2008 that I realized I was thoroughly sick of always feeling run-ragged and that I had fallen into the category of ‘women who do too much’. Always giving to others, organizing and being heavily involved in my local community – from the football club to the PTA to my church – had left me totally drained and exhausted. No-one showed any interest in taking over the responsibilities from me and I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wasn’t actually at all, but that is how it felt at the time. A brush with cancer in mid-2008 changed all that, and I realized that life is short and it is meant to be lived and enjoyed. This resulted in me evaluating what I truly want to do with my life and where I should really be focusing my energy. It has taken me until now to extricate myself from all my unwanted responsibilities – and just sitting and thinking today, I suddenly realised that I had actually done it. The feeling of liberation and freedom is tremendous.
I no longer feel weighed down and I am starting to focus on living the life that I want to live – whether that means creatively or through growing my translating business. And moreover I am categorically not living the life that others think I should be living. I can’t tell you how good that feels! After years of doing things because I ought to, or to win the approval of others, I’ve finally learned to say ‘no’ and am now truly being myself.
So in the year ahead I’m going to carry on down this path. Who knows where it will take me and what will happen along the way. One thing is for sure – I don’t feel exhausted with life anymore and I’m planning to enjoy every step along the way.