Often in January, you see lots of people starting the new year with a specific word: a meaningful term which will take them through the following twelve months, something which encapsulates their intentions and which will act as a motivational thread running through all they do. It’s usually something to do with wellbeing or intentions, a beacon guiding them towards a more fulfilled and mindful year.
I too have thought about this; winter is, after all, the time for introspection - for looking back as well as forwards. The short days and long hours spent indoors prompt us to consider not just what has gone before (and perhaps to reflect and evaluate that), but also to start putting out tentative little shoots in the form of plans and ideas. 2018 saw many personal achievements big and small, but there were also anxieties and mistakes. There’s been a lot of learning and realisation. My health was, at times, an area of real concern. But when thinking of my word for 2019 - my touchstone - I didn’t want to use ‘Heal’ or something similar. To me, that suggests a period of recovery from a long and severe illness. And that isn’t how things are. Anyway, I don’t want to focus purely on physical health. That’s just part of life.
I do have a few issues going on in that area; they’re complex and require a careful approach. But I work on this through diet, supplementation, stress management and - something I need to look into more - mindfulness. There is, of course, a place for conventional medicine too and ‘I’m in the system’ where that’s concerned. But I don’t want my thread running through the year to be all about medical concerns. As I said, life in my case is made up of so many other chapters too.
It’s about balance: work and family, being content with what I already have and having aspirations. Recognising that things take time and that instant gratification generally requires means I just don’t have. That oft-quoted sentiment ‘Enjoy the journey’ applies here. We live in a place where things don’t happen quickly; ‘Skye Time’ (although joked about) is actually something very real and is acknowledged by all who reside on this island. You have to go with it. And learn to enjoy it too - Skye Time is the antithesis of modern, urban living. And isn’t that why we came here in the first place?
So, 2019. I still don’t have that one definitive word to live by this year. I don’t want one. Instead, I intend to progress through it in a considered way; to notice the seasons, to explore and appreciate this wild place, to make our home our own, to build my business and enjoy the process of everything. Joe’s growing fast and I want to savour these ‘little’ years. He still reaches for my hand and calls me ‘Mummy’, cuddles up with his tattered old stuffed panda at night and talks about ‘horsies’ and the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.
Stress has had a huge impact on my health (both mental and physical) over the years; decades of it - of anxiety and panic, fear and worry and catastrophising. Challenging that mindset once it’s established isn’t easy. But acknowledging it is important; it lets you find ways of climbing out of the mire when you feel yourself getting stuck. Steaming through life juggling plates and ‘sweating the small stuff’ is not conducive to wellness. I’m learning to do what’s manageable at any one time, to take the long view and to recognise what’s really important; looking at the bigger picture whilst enjoying the little things.
This new year, to me, is unfolding with promises of good things to come. Just typing that immediately invokes a mild worry: Am I tempting fate? Setting myself up for a fall? Will something terrible happen now I’ve committed that optimism to (virtual) paper?
I never said it was easy. But challenge these thoughts I will, and I plan to spend this year collecting good experiences and happy small moments. I’ve already been filling in a daily diary with a few highlights each evening, recording little wins and moments of joy. Life needs to be lived a day at a time, sometimes an hour or even a moment at a time. Yes it’s sensible to plan - and I do - but for me, projecting too far ahead and going down the ‘What if’ road is a recipe for worry, and that can quickly spiral. So this year, I’m working on taking a different path: the scenic route. On foot. The one where you still get to where you’re going, but not at breakneck speed. The one where you travel that bit more sedately and take in your surroundings and breathe in the fresh sea air.