I am writing this a few days before the birth of the new year, my head full of good intentions and strategies as usual. But I know before the year starts that it may never quite be as good as we intend, although there seems to be more optimism around than usual. Some people would say that maybe we shouldn’t aim so high, then we might to achieve more. At least it would look that way, wouldn’t it?
But it is just possible that we need to have these unrealistic dreams and ambitions to encourage us to be braver than we ever thought we could be.
It was a different story a few days ago. The festive preparations were under way and we were all set for a wonderful family Christmas… then things started to go wrong.
Late on Monday night we had the most colossal storm, 180 mph winds and torrential rain, but we were all safely indoors… or so we thought. Then we heard the sound of heavy dripping in between the gusting winds that were howling outside. On investigation, we discovered that the roof over the bay window at the front of the house was leaking like a sieve. The curtains were soaked through but the main damage was to the Christmas scene we always set up on a table in front of the window. It was our favourite scene, old fashioned houses with windows that lit up, a pretty little church with stained glass windows (also lit up) all clustered around a medium sized Christmas tree that was also covered in fairy lights. All laid out on realistic cotton wool snow.
Well, the snow was becoming even more realistic as we surveyed the damage, the dripping water was creating slushy, grubby looking areas like real snow does just before it thaws. We realised quite quickly that anything electrical should be removed as quickly as possible before it was completely ruined. (or blew up!) So at 3.30 in the morning we had to dismantle the entire display and remove everything to a safe place, then lay out buckets and cloths as the storm showed no sign of stopping.
When we all woke up the next morning, our house looked like a war zone and not very festive at all. But the storm had abated and the sun was shining, we hadn’t suffered too badly had we? Some poor souls had sustained real damage and lost their power, and might not be able to cook their Christmas dinner. We were lucky, a pile of ruined cotton wool and a lack of sleep was nothing in the scheme of things.
Major disasters always make you stop and count your blessings, for no matter what you are putting up with, there are always others who are worse off. Two days after Christmas and some people still have no power, plus the stormy weather has not gone away and last night inflicted more hardship on even more people with more to come, apparently.
So, no matter what happens, we have so much to be grateful for. It is with this frame of mind that I contemplate the arrival of 2014. I was exhausted and a little disheartened by the time Christmas was finally over. Two full days of family sized cooking accompanied by all the usual family sized arguments, and if I am honest, the prospect of another year that would undoubtedly be just as full of disappointment and hard work as this one had been was not rocking my boat in the slightest.
But today the sun is shining and I can feel a small surge of enthusiasm creeping into my heart and my head. In four months time I will be 70, an age I never thought I would reach, and I want to finish writing my book, ‘9Lives’ by then. Something else I never thought I ever would or could do.
So I have the notion that 2014 is going to be the year where I change from being a daydreamer to someone who grabs the world by the tail and hangs on!