img_9024I have resolutely avoided blogging about New Year resolutions. I am a great believer in doing rather than saying and it is easy to say I will do this or that but actually carrying it out is another thing.  I am also one of those people who easily feels a strong sense of failure if I say I will do something and then I don’t so I have become very wary about putting my head above the parapet and making rash declarations.

However, I do have aspirations and hopes for the coming year.  As many will know I have been through somewhat of an internal struggle with life over the last year or so, struggling with work, what to do in the garden, what to do with the blog, the list goes on.  There is probably a lot of over thinking taking place but I have concluded this morning, having listened to a seemingly very relevant ‘Thought for the Day’ on Radio 4 that I need some sort of direction in order to try to channel all my frustrations and feel that I am actually achieving or changing or developing something positive.  The thought behind the ‘Thought for the Day’ was about being the best person you can be.  An interesting idea which sounds very obvious unless you are me.  I have spent most of my life aspiring to be really good at something. Throughout my school-days I was always average, middle of the road  which is fine but it seems I have a deep-seated competitive streak so I felt frustrated that I couldn’t be top of the class in something no matter how hard I tried, I was always a B and never an A.

This quiet irritation has continued throughout my life along with a sense of needing to justify my existence.  When I was at home with my young children the house was always spotless and the children immaculate as I felt I had to prove something.  I am super efficient at work and the Queen of multi-tasking again constantly in need to prove something although I’m not actually sure what that is anymore and who I am trying to impress.

Recently something, albeit small, has relaxed in me and this Christmas instead of redecorating a room in the house as I have done between Christmas and New Year for years  I just pottered and I have to admit I feel much better for it and apparently I look more relaxed.  But there is still that niggling voice in the back of my mind telling me I should be trying harder at this or that so I have decided to set myself some aspirations or objectives for 2017 to focus my energies and to quieten the niggly voice.  I don’t want them to be aspirational in the sense of being hard to achieve, what I really want is a way to allow myself to not worry so much and to actually enjoy things but still trying to be the best person I can be but for my own benefit rather than to prove something to someone.

So some of the things I am hoping to make a regular feature of my life this year or to learn to do better are as follows:

  • Photography – buying my first SLR a couple of years ago was a revelation.  I procrastinated for ages about getting one convincing myself that my simple point and click was fine and I would never get off auto-focus.  I now use some of the macro settings but I want to understand how to improve my photographs more particularly close-ups of plants and flowers and how to frame a landscape view better.  To this end I am thinking on attending a short photography workshop or participating in an on-line course.  I am also going to try to do a weekly photography meme.  I have participated in Wordless Wednesday for years and have dabbled in WordPress’s own weekly photograph challenge (see the last post) but I am thinking of participating in one hosted by another blogger this year (see Blogging below)
  • Walking – I have loved my walks on the Malvern Hills this year.  I think the key was not to set myself specific targets to achieve or dates to do things by as I just rebel against those.  Instead I have got into a habit of just setting off on a Sunday morning when the mood takes me.  I would like to extend the length of my walks and start to explore new places so I am toying with doing some of the Herefordshire Trail circular walks.
  • Sewing – again building on joining the Teme Valley Embroiders Guild last year I want to make sewing more of my life.  I used to sew loads in my late teens and when the boys were small but for some reason it petered out and I lost my confidence, particularly in dressmaking.  I am participating in the 1 year of stitches project in which you try to do a little embroidery every day and post a picture on social media.  I am hoping that it will help me unlock my more creative side rather than religiously following kit instructions; who knows I may even get brave enough to try dressmaking again.
  • Blogging – this is my real struggling point.  I oscillate between wanting my blog to be amazing to win prizes etc and to just wanting to engage with a great community.  I think I have worried too much in recent times about the quality of the writing or the photographs and am in danger of losing the identity the blog had early on which I was proud of.  For me this is going to be the hardest step change as I need to make a mental commitment to enjoying the blog for what it is and using it to engage with and be part of the wonderful blogging community that is out there.  To this end I am going to try very hard to comment more on others blogs and to engage with a couple of memes i.e. In a Vase on Mondays and  a Weekly Photograph Challenge.  As I said under photography I could do the wordpress photo challenge but I like the idea of supporting someone else’s meme just as others have supported my End of Month meme.
  • Gardening – I need and want to engage with my garden more and not feel daunted by it.  I think last year one of the reasons I struggled was the uncertainty of the new neighbours and trying to adapt to the subsequent clearing of boundaries and feeling exposed.  I have, I think, talked myself into a good place in terms of this and can see lots of positives and am busy thinking about what new planting opportunities this gives me. I want to visit more gardens this year, when I did a review of the year I was amazed at just how few gardens I had visited apart from on holiday so I am going to try to visit something most months.  And more importantly I am going to try to visit those gardens with a view to looking carefully at planting, not necessarily in a plant addict way, but to try to learn how to combine plants and create interesting borders.

So these are my personal aspirations or objectives call them what you will, for 2017.  They have no measures or specific goals attached to them but are more about changing my attitude to how I live my life in a gentle way which should bring me a better sense of inner calm and well-being.