Thursday, 6 January 2011


It is incredible what a few days with people around can do to lift my mood.
People who loved R nearly as much as I do. People who forgive me if I am a bit tetchy or weepy or just generally useless. People with welcoming arms and ready shoulders. People who make me laugh.

The only down side, if indeed that is what it is, is that it does not leave much time for reflection. There is no space in which to do the balance-sheet accounting that is usual at this time of year. No quiet hours to sit and think and plan for the future.

So I am a bit late with my New Year's resolutions!
Actually this is not something that I have done much of in the past, as it always seemed such a pointless exercise. But that was in that other, charmed life where things always appeared to work out for the best.

Now I feel that I am approaching some sort of crossroads.
I seem to have been simply marking time for so long. It is difficult to say exactly what I have been waiting for - probably for the deus ex machina to descend and explain that the last two and a half years were all a bad dream.

Nope! Much as I'd like that to be true, it just ain't going to happen, so I need to do something about the inertia that has been rooting me to the spot for so long.

I could write a long and very boring list of all the things that need to be done around here, but that would be missing the point. First of all I have to decide what I want from my life from now on, otherwise anything that I do achieve will be nothing more than rearranging the deckchairs.

I think it all came to a head when I was plucking the turkeys. It was about 10 below zero and my hands and feet were painful blocks of ice. At that moment it wasn't entirely clear to me why I was doing it - other than that was what we always did. But that was when there were two people to share the work, and it was the precursor to a hugely-satisfying home-produced Christmas dinner.
With one person it was just a miserable exercise.

It would also be nice to do a bit of travelling this year, and that is much easier to arrange if I keep the animal numbers to a minimum. But then it feels like holding up the white flag of surrender to say that. On the other hand it would allow me to concentrate on getting the house sorted, or at least half of it, which would be a very positive achievement and make me feel a lot better about myself.

Gah. I just don't know where to go from here. All I know is that I don't want another few months like the end of last year, when I found myself running - and failing - to keep up with everything. Something has to give. But what? And how to make that feel like a positive thing, rather than making me feel I have failed?

So, my resolution is to find out what I really want from the next phase of my life - whatever that may be. If it takes a year, then so be it. It has got to be better than watching myself becoming increasingly overwhelmed with everything.

Oh, and I want to run at least one 10 k race this year, plus a sub-28 minute 5 k.
And catch up with all those overdue letters that I owe people (you know who you are)!


  1. "So, my resolution is to find out what I really want from the next phase of my life" is an excellent resolution. It may be a matter of eliminating, working out what you don't want to get to what you do want. Don't rush it J. Good luck with the marathons.

  2. My NY resolution was to make NONE! LOL. That way I cannot fail. A cunning plan (as Black Adder would say). IMHO, I think you should concentrate on making some time for you, such as the 10k run, travelling. As you say, the goals with R are not the same as they are today ... lots of love, Boo x

  3. There really isn't any surrender or failure in changing our plans. When Don died, I made a very swift decision about not remaining at the farm that we had owned for 30+ years. After about 26 years, we had stopped keeping livestock and just continued with the garden and our dogs. I tried not to think of selling the farm as surrendering to my situation - and, in fact, looking back, I know I did the right thing. If it were me, I would just figure out what it is you truly love to do - maybe it is growing plenty of vegetables and just keeping the kind of livestock that can take care of themselves for a few days while they're on pasture and you have a good water supply. In any case, I think the key thing in sorting out the "what to do" in our lives is to give ourselves carte blanche to follow our dreams or desires. For me, that has been to travel to the wild places where I feel the most alive. I had to give up a good deal to make that possible, but it has been worth it for me. Follow your heart and you won't go far wrong.

  4. @Rose: Yeah, I know progress will be slow, but I am OK with that, I think.

    @Boo: A cunning plan indeed!

    @Bev: Sometimes I really envy the way you left everything behind and strode off into the wilderness. I can only imagine the sense of peace that that lack of encumbrance brings. I really feel I am running around like a headless chicken at times - which is good from the point of view of not having time to think, but doesn't really help clear the mind.
    Yep, "Follow your heart" is sound advice - I just need to make time and space to listen to it!

  5. J - What I've done isn't for everyone. I think I was ready to do this because I went through losing my dad about ten years ago. He and I were very close and the last year he was alive, I ran his small manufacturing business while also taking care of him. After he died, I kept the biz going for a couple more years and did everything his way even though some of it could have been done better my own way. Then one day I thought, "I don't have to keep doing things this way as he's never coming back." It was kind of a break through moment for me. When Don died, I just knew what to do -- not to try to carry on if I didn't want to. I didn't sell the place immediately, but went on the road for the winter and returned to sell it in the spring. I was very sure of myself by then - and sure of what my heart wanted to do. For myself, I had done just about everything I wanted to do and it truly was time to move on and start a new life elsewhere. Not the best thing for everyone, but for me - yes.