Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful day, and are feeling as full as you should be of cheese, roasted parsnips, tangerines, turkey or whatever the tradition is in your house.
You can see from the photo above that our current traditions are chunky socks, handwritten letters to Santa, ugly but loved tree decorations, stockings, apples and cherries… Oh and crackers, which are sold here as ‘bon bons;’ but will always be crackers to me.
We started with Eggs Benedict, and I surprised myself with some pretty good hollandaise sauce and perfectly poached eggs. (Actually no, we started at 6am with stockings in bed, but I hadn’t had my coffee at that stage, so…) We had roast pork and potatoes, fresh peas and plenty of champagne. This year it was just the three of us, and it was the calmest Christmas Day I can ever remember. Neither DorkySon nor I got out of our pyjamas all day.
I was super touched by the reaction to my Word of the Year post last week. It was nice taking the time to reflect on 2014, and to read how you all are feeling about your year just past. I have spent every day since chewing over my year for 2015. I have to-ed and fro-ed and daydreamed and drawn mandalas and scribbled notes to myself and tried words on for size and found many them lacking. Thank you for sharing yours, you have all given me a lot to think about…
I thought about STRIVE but it was just too aggressive for me. Too rargh. I am a hard worker but I am not a striver – it conjured up images of locking myself in a room to write and write – STRIVE DAMN IT! – leaving my boys to starve from lack of love and affection. Not going to happen. No strivers here.
I tried BLOSSOM and I tried SHINE. They both came close. I imagined myself walking into a room, blossoming and shining and dazzling and doing a ton of other sparkly, beautiful things. But they didn’t feel right for me this year either. They felt too passive, and too superficial. 2015 is not a year about how other people see me, it is a year about how I see myself.
BALANCE was my number two choice, but it still felt a bit too much like I was willing to just let life happen. Balance can be such a cop out. Like the BBC still have to ask a climate change sceptic or a UKIP candidate on in the name of ‘balance’. Like it would give me a get-out clause if something got tough in one area of my life, I could just scooch myself over to another area, all in the name of balance. No. I want to make 2015 a good one, and I know I need to work at it.
So. I have chosen FOCUS. I like it for several reasons. It is a word that implies effort on my part. It implies choices – that I will have to focus on one thing and prioritise it over another. I will have to choose important things to focus on, and let unimportant things fall by the way side.
BUT – and this is a big and necessary but – it is an open word. It holds equal validity whether I am focusing on a piece of work, or a jigsaw puzzle with DorkySon, or a night out with DorkyDad, or a good book, or cooking dinner, or a song on the radio. It is a word that encourages me to let go of distractions, that encourages me to be very present in every moment. As a gigantic procarastinator, I think it will be a helpful word. I think it will make me concentrate more.
It also reminds me of the importance of a visual word. My poor, lovely camera has barely made it out of the bag in this last year – just a couple of times during holidays. One of the reasons that photography became so important to me was because it gave me an understanding of focus – of the difference between zooming in on a small, close object to the exclusion of all others and of focusing widely and trying to see everything in front of me equally clearly.
That’s a good nudge to take up photography again. To apply the lessons of photography to life. And perhaps to apply the lessons of life to photography too.
FOCUS is not a sexy word. It is not a fancy one. But I feel like it will do me well, in 2015.
Today, I focused on family. I was in a gigantic crabby Appleton of a mood this morning, but DorkyDad prodded me out of the house. I left my phone behind, slapped some suncream on, packed some snacks and drinks just in case. We took a wrong turning in Kingston, having failed to find a garden bench. We found ourselves on one of those ridiculous steep, winding Tassie roads that only goes in one direction, and will take you twenty miles wrong before you can right yourself. At least you get treated to some pretty views while you grumble about whose fault the wrong turn was.
Then we saw a side of Mount Wellington that we had never seen before. We walked through Huonville in the sun, and DorkySon had a two-buck sausage sizzle sandwich for lunch. We bumped into a colleague of DorkyDad and caught up on her Christmas news. We stumbled into an antique shop and finally found the CD shelves we’ve been hunting for the last eight months. They will be delivered on Tuesday.
We drove up the road to Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. Tasted our first Tassie cider. And a cheese board. And a slice of apple pie too because why the heck not? DorkySon’s new teacher was there – we had a chat with her – a wee walk around the museum and some photos.
We came home. There was still time for a nap, and some Lego, and a baked potato for dinner. Such simple happiness.
The thing I am learning, already, about focus is that it means doing one thing at a time, and doing it better.
I’m going to do it better. Even the wrong turns are going to lead to good adventures and apple pie.
See you there?