Well, there it goes; all done.
Christmas and New Year - a strange, coughing sneezing cold-infested couple at that - have come and gone, and we’re back to reality.
We had house guests and parents, and a very nice - if quiet - time was had by all. We saw some theatre, sang along to some carols, and, by and large, managed not to die of TB, or whatever nasty bug has been plaguing the country since mid December.
The 2nd of January was D’s sisters 40th Birthday, and saw me, at 11:30pm, curled in the foetal position, shivering and coughing. Not, strangely, because of any bad trip or excessive alcohol consumption, but because I’d finally fallen 9and how) to the march of the Lurgie.
And I’m back at work today - still a stew of germs, but working through it. The plan, this week, is to get up, go to work, go home, go to bed, and try to clear the system of the virus. This means I won’t be consuming the vast quantities of leftover booze (we had a house full of relative t-totallers, combined with the fact that any desire to consume alcohol was cancelled out by the plague we all had at one point or another.
Parents went home yesterday, and I miss them already, but it is sort of nice to get the place back to myself, and start to think about what “Normality” is going to mean this year.
To start, it’s going to mean that I still have a job - in Investment Banking - at a time when thousands of people don’t. It’s a job with an agenda which is largely self-set, which is good too; and it’s one which management have just given me a glowing Review on, and which they’ve assured me will be around - and in demand - for a good time yet. But it’s also going to mean that, whilst I’m still earning a lot of money, it’s a lot less than last year. But you know what? It’s a job, and the shift in focus away from the desperate chasing of ever increasing sums of money means that I can really work on making the Job just that, and consciously make my Life a better, more holistic mix.
One good thing about the job is the way they push the idea of “Working from home.” I’ve made great use of this one in December, what with the prep for Christmas and the parent’s visit. I work just as much, but save on the two hours (minimum) commute each day, as well as being able to pop down and get some household chores done (laundry in the machine, dinner in the oven) and I’m looking forward, this year, to using the WFH idea to make Life even better than it is.
Because it is better: “Glass Half-Full,” is how D’s been describing it. We’ve got some bits and pieces to sort out - the house, by and large, is falling apart around us; springing leaks, overflowing with junk, in need of decorating, but none of these things is life-threatening, and, right now, I have so many things to look forward to.
Things I’m looking forward to:
- Saying “No” more often. As in “Do I want to go do X or Y? Well, Yes, I do want to. But I’m already doing A and B that week, so Will I do X? Why, I believe the answer to that is ‘No.’” Less stress, more time at home.
- Writing. See above. I will have something published this year; it has been decided. But only if I (a) write and (b) start sending stuff off to market. Which means making a writing and selling plan, and sticking to it. No, really.
- Taking control of my Life. Again, see above.
- Continuing the fitness habit, which is now something I truly enjoy. Had to lose the trainer last year when it became clear that the money would be dropping this year, but am still training regularly, and going to classes. Then there’s the Sunday Badminton Blitzes against David (due to restart next week, once the Lurgie is banished), for which I now have a lovely - and very expensive new Badminton Racquet, (thanks to the Sister-in-Law for the Christmas Pressie), and the prep for the next 5k in March (for which, thanks to D, I now have lovely new running shoes. Which, strangely, match the Badminton Racquet. How camp is that?), and the ongoing Wednesday night Boxercise Classes (which leave me dead every week). So that’s all good.
- Pet Shop Boys “yes” album. ‘cos I love the psb.
- The new Lindsay Davis book “Alexandria.” ‘cos I love me some Falco.
- Watching more TV. Because, what with one thing and another, I have soooooo many DVDs to watch - movies, whole Seasons of TV shows, you name it. Not to mention the multitude of Sky-plussed TV shows. Have already told D we can NOT afford to get ‘into’ any new shows until we’ve caught up on what we have.
- Reading some of the Hundreds of unread books on my bookcase. Well, hundreds may be an overstatement. But there’s still lots. I’ve started with Agatha Christie’s “The Secret Adversary,” a re-read, in truth, but one I am just loving. Very simple, very entertaining. Proper old yarn.
- Living “Frugally.” Which doesn’t mean Hessian and Ashes. I have a house full of booze, canned goods, dry goods, a freezer full of food stuffs, and a fridge full of food which is good for another week or so. I realised last week that D and I have no real idea how much a point of milk costs. None whatsoever. And this is not ‘cuz we is Marie Antoinette nor nuffink. It’s ‘cos we’re just used to going to Tesco, filling the trolley with whatever takes our fancy, and then squeeeeeeezing the stuff into already overflowing cupboards and freezer. My new goal is to spend as little as possible, in January, at the supermarkets; and to start paying attention to what I (a) have in the house already and (b) am buying, so I buy what I need, and actually use it. So the contents of the cupboards and the cookbooks are all going to be coming in for a lot more use. I’ve already made, this year, a very good Banana Bread, a pasta with walnuts stilton and bacon, a decent spag bol, a flaky pastry tart with oven roasted tomatoes (from a huge batch I roasted and preserved in Oil back in early December) and goats cheese, and a baked camembert (not much ‘making,’ really: Just bung it in the oven and serve; but it made a meal out of a leftover cheeseboard item), oh and a decent carrot orange and ginger soup (which, truth be told, is a mite too ‘peppery’ for my liking, but is still v tasty). I have found the timer plug for the slow-cooker, and am looking forward to using it to try to make the most of what I’ve got.
In fact, that’s the big thing: I am looking forward to Making The Most of What I’ve
Got. Too many times, in the past, I’ve had a surfeit - of things to do, of adventures, of food, of drink, of Life, dammit. And it’s all become just a bit of a haze.
This year, I’m going to try to have each event, each meal, each activity as something I can actually savour, rather than something to be rushed through en route to somewhere else, or something to be agonised over then lost in a mist of stress over the next half-planned event.
And that’s not a resolution, cos I don’t do them. It’s a plan.
I’ll keep you posted.