As the New Year approaches I am seeing and reading an awful lot of messages out there about what I should be doing in 2018. Booking a life changing family holiday, whilst dieting and exercising, not worrying about what hasn’t or wont be achieved but also striving to make things happen, whilst keeping my home clean and tidy with brand new gadgets that will save me time and money, so that I can spend the time on relaxing and the money on that holiday, which I will absolutely need a lot of new beauty products for because who doesn’t want bouncy hair, actual magic cream that can tone your thighs just by being rubbed in and age defying skin? Oh, and have you got that must have dress yet?
I might just hibernate.
I’m not sold on New Years resolutions. I spend a disproportionate amount of my time worrying and feeling bad about my weight, saying it’s all going to change when the date does seems naive. Same with how I am definitely going to get on top of the house work. Definitely. But probably not straight away because when I get a spare half hour and my choice is house work or going for a run, I’ll be gone like a shot.
I don’t think that it’s resolutions that are the issue, it’s the waiting until New Year. Any chance to stop and reflect is a good thing. Any decision to make a positive change is a good thing. If that for some is the beginning of a New Year then great but if 2017 had taught me anything it is that waiting for the right moment could be mean you miss it. That there is no right moment, only now and that although time may be infinite, our moment in it is not.
It is not for me to tell anyone else how to live life. I’m certainly not suggesting (or intending to start) extreme sports and sky diving as the best way to seize the day and make every moment count. But to counter the messages about magic body creams and picture prefect holidays for 2018 I want to give a shout out to the one that seems to be missing. The one where we are reminded to Love Hard.
It shouldn’t take bad things happening to remind us of this but this might be when we reflect more on our lives. In 2017 illness took a person I love and hate nearly stole another. I feel profoundly changed by the events of the year, and those changes have been instant. When faced with these challenges it has not been bouncy hair and an expensive vacuum that have left work to come and spend time with me because I needed to talk, held me while I slept or taken the strain of every day life so that I could have space and time. I know you might be thinking, it seems obviously that my family would be supportive in challenging times. But the point is the difference is makes. The point is that Love helps, Love heals, Love can make people well, if anything is going to make 2018 a better year it is really knowing and understanding that. If you are looking for magic it is Love, it’s not going to be found in thigh cream, but it is something we all carry the capacity to do and to share and to sprinkle every single place we go.
With Love comes kindness and understanding. That we can show to anyone, anytime. That makes a difference too. It makes a difference to the old man who chats to you in the queue at the post office, because there is no one at home for him to talk to. Or the mother who you let in front of you to pay at the super market because her baby is hungry and screaming.
It seems obvious really. And so simple. But here’s the thing. As we build up to Christmas we are reminded about those less fortunate than us, those who are alone and many of us will do some small thing to help. But then it’s the New Year and the mass media focus becomes on a making your own year a bigger better one that the one before. But there are still people who need your kindness and understanding. And there might be sad or difficult moments in your year to come where you or someone close to you will need to hear or feel they are loved. Don’t wait for those moments. Love honestly and simply and throw everything you have into letting those around you know they are loved every day.
Love doesn’t make money, so you wont see a lot of adverts for it. Love doesn’t mean expensive holidays and fabulous hair, (although I have nothing against either) it doesn’t mean you get it right all the time, that you wont have to say sorry, or that it is always easy but if I will take anything from this year it is the need stop and reflect and take stock often, do your best, love as hard as you can.
*First published on Selfish Mother 30/12/17