New Year 2023
A new year is upon us, and with it all the hope and good intentions a fresh start heralds. Last year was challenging, to say the least, with long covid insomnia stalking my younger (albeit grown-up) son relentlessly and as yet no solution has been found. It is its own form of torture watching a loved one suffer month after month, and it has taught me a lot about a different kind of resilience. Sometimes there is actually nothing one can do about a situation, except to be there. So this year my new years resolutions are all about that:
1 . Make the best of the (crappy) situation
We had a small but lovely Christmas on the farm, with just the nearest family gathering at home. Fear of bringing in a new bout of covid has made us isolate like it was 2020 all over again, but if there is one thing learned from that year it is to enjoy the things available to us. So we baked a proper gingerbread house and decorated the Christmas tree, made lots of Christmas food and ate a long dinner, had red wine in front of the fireplace and dashed out during daylight hours to bring in more logs. As snowstorm after snowstorm hit us, I went out to take pictures in the lovely blue twilight that midwinter provides when the little light we have reflects on the snow. Instead of complaining I made a conscious decision to really enjoy a slow-motion yuletide. So my first new years resolution is to make the best of what 2023 throws at me.
2. Get more chickens
I know, this is an odd new years resolution! But really, more chickens is the best slow-grow happy trigger ever! Firstly, it has been proven that taking care of animals improves mental health as it makes you get out of bed in the morning when you know there are all these sweet things just waiting to see you - and be fed. It gives rhythm and structure to the day, and regardless of what you really want to do (as in stay all day in bed eating chocolate) there are things you need to do (as in clean the coop, check the feed and water, collect the eggs). My chicken all have different personalities and lay different coloured eggs, and starting the day with a fresh home made omelette is just divine. As they love any leftovers from dinner we tend to eat really healthily and vegan based so they get lots of nutritious supplement to the grains they eat. I mean, who wouldn't make a large vegan broccoli bake just to see their happy little faces?? So this year my new years resolve is to build a second coop next to the one we have so that I can get more chicken without them being crowded, the added bonus obviously being that I love a good building project!
3. Valuing friendship
As I have had to be unusually isolated for much of the year the friendships with my girlies have become a lifeline. Once a month my nearest friends, the Thursday Girlies Cooking Club, meet up to make food together and spend a whole afternoon in the kitchen, cooking and talking like there is no tomorrow. We stay in touch all the time, and even during the months when my sons sleep has been extra bad we manage to take a (corona safe) picnic and walk outdoors with the dogs. Other friends have taken the time to just have a chat over the phone, often booking it in advance so I can sneak out of the house and not to wake the insomniac if he manages to sleep.
The theme of our discussions range from high to low, but it is fair to say that there is not a person we know who leads a charmed existence - everyone har their trials and tribulations. By talking about daily life we shine the torch on each others little happy triggers, and help each other get over the bad stuff that invariably invades our lives. Sharing life with friends is the biggest blessing in the world and instead of throwing big dinner parties (or any parties in fact) I resolve to spend even more time with my closest friends nurturing our friendship and doing happy things.
4. Enjoying the little things in life
I know this is an oldie and goldie, but really there is no better new years resolution! It is a fail-safe win, and one that makes life so much more pleasurable. As I have gotten older, the one thing that strikes me most is that happiness is not in the big successes (they pass) but in the ability to appreciate the little wins and small moments. Enjoying the sunset after a week of cloudy skies, meeting up or visiting a restaurant after a long period of isolation, Luna the cat proudly bringing in a dead mouse... Life can be beautiful even when not travelling anywhere or having grand experiences. Small gestures of kindness really mean a lot too; a well thought out gift or a text message when least expected, or my godfathers bringing supper to our house and having early dinner with us when we've had a rough week, makes all the difference in an otherwise monotonous existence. So this year I will once again truly endeavour to enjoy the little things in life. Happy New year to you!