Oh man. Am I pleased to say toodle-oo to January? I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. I never had any intention of embracing ‘Dry January’, but I did want to feel like I’d kicked 2019 (tbh why aren’t we travelling on hoverboards by now?) off in the right way.
We’d woken up on New Year’s Eve with fuzzy heads. Friends had thrown a house party, and although I could have sworn I’d only had a couple of cheeky Proseccos and maybe a smidge of G+T, my head told me otherwise. Along with it came an overwhelming sense of relief. We had (finally) got through 2018. It was far from a vintage year.
So, with two children hardwired into their tablets (thank you BBC for posting the news story about tablets having a marginal effect on children) for an hour, T and I decided to make a few guidelines for 2019. We were going to worry less. Waste less. Drink less. Exercise more. Work smarter. Be present. Give less of a you-know-what.
Along with these rules (not resolutions!) to live by we were also going to expand our minds a bit. T had already kicked off an Open University Degree in Engineering (nothing like starting slow), and I had a passion project I wanted to develop. It felt great to feel ready to charge into 2019.
In a fever of activity, I’d managed to sign up to so many positive thinking/mindful/retrain your brain type newsletters, blogs and Youtube channels that my inbox heaving. All other newsletters which I’d promised myself I’d unsubscribe from during the Christmas holidays were now bolstered with additional emails including such subject header such as ‘How not to **** yourself up or your children – a step-by-step guide’ and ‘9 Reasons you’re not the person you want to be’ etc.
My new recommended routine was:
No phone for the first hour of the day.
Make a mindful cup of tea – hot water and lemon.
15 mins of meditation.
10 mins writing in my gratuity diary.
10 mins of visualisation.
A light, organic vegan breakfast
Drink twice my body weight in filtered water. Every. Single. Day.
Purposeful time blocking my day for maximum efficiency and minimum distractions.
My actual routine looks like this:
Radio alarm goes off at 6:15
Ignore the alarm and any small arms or feet implanted in our heads/back/ shoulders from a little boy who snuck into our bed again!
Alarm number 2 goes off at 6:30 – ignored and refuted.
Kicked out of bed by a three-year-old at 6:45. How do I know what time it is? Because I look at my phone straight away.
Breakfast time is so far away from a Zen experience it might as well be on the Planet Zen, in the Zenith cosmos, next door to the Zenoffyourself solar system. It’s survival of the fittest. The winner gets to eat a bowl of Coco Pops (and for those people who say my child will never eat Coco Pops, let me know how that works out for you) with or without milk, listening to the radio for 5 mins before I cave in and agree that they can watch TV.
Attempt to drink a lukewarm cup of tea with the bag still in it wondering if now is the time I should be mindful.
By now, child #1 has eaten and I’m drying the milk from her hair which she’s dangled in the bowl. Child number #2 has taken all his clothes off and shouting ‘look at my bum’ while running up and down the hall at breakneck speed. Husband and I will argue about who takes which child where (it will mean putting a bra on for one of us), and I’m already listening as my email, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and text messages make more sounds than Bletchley Park in WW2. I could have sworn I turned off the notifications and possibly even deleted the Apps only to remember that I reinstalled them at 3 am while trying to get E back to sleep.
By the time everyone is where they should be my brain is fried, my email is heaving and the only thing which is present and purposeful is my need to take the Coco Pops from my hair, put yet another bloody load of washing in and try to find clothes that don’t look like I’ve slept in them.
January was all of this and more. The result? I’ve knocked loads of podcasts, videos, newsletters and social media feeds on the head. I’ve taken full advantage of cut-price booze, and my visualisation mainly revolves around looking at holidays we can’t afford with my body looking like that of a nubile twenty-year-old. In other words fantasy.
Mindfulness, visualisation, purposefulness – they all have their place. But maybe not all in Jan and not all at the same time. I am casually walking into Feb a more balanced and perhaps more realistic person, trying to do her best. One App at a time.