It’s that time of year when everyone is thinking about their lives and making plans for how to live a better one. I’m not really one for NY resolutions, I just kind of stride out into the year, blindly optimistic, hoping to muddle through the chaos that the world finds itself in, and to keep my loved ones safe and happy (although I do make inward promises to myself on small little changes I’d like to see). So if there is any theme to my rambling thoughts on 2018, I guess that is it: I may have some large career goals to strive towards, but it is mostly daily/small incremental changes I’m going to focus on.
Lots of these have been inspired by this letter written by 27-year-old Holly Butcher who recently passed away. It’s affected me quite profoundly. Not because it says anything new, but because she’s just reminding us to let go of the bullshit, and cling on to what’s real. What would we be thinking about if we knew we only had a little time left on this earth? More cuddles with our pets, more time with our family and friends, more precious moments. THAT’S my focus.
With this in mind, this is as good a time as any to give your life a spring clean: from your cupboards to your social media channels, to even your friendship circles. As Holly so eloquently wrote: “Be ruthless, for your own wellbeing”.
We’re moving house and the next place is smaller so we’re selling stuff, giving it away, paring down. I just donated two bags of the kids’ toys and five of my dresses that I haven’t worn in years. You know those ones you wore ten years ago to weddings but just don’t suit you now? The Princess Project is a great place for all those smart dresses – these allow under privileged Matrics the chance to feel special and beautiful at their Matric dance, if they can’t afford to buy or rent overpriced evening attire.
We’re trying to minimise plastic in our lives by not accepting straws at any restaurants or takeaway places. We got some bamboo straws from Faithful to Nature that we keep if the kids really need one. We’re also saying no to plastic lids on takeaway coffee cups (ideally we’ll use our reusable mugs, but if not, we’ll try take the coffee without the lid). Plastic bags we have are going to get reused until they fall apart. I refuse to ask for new ones at the grocery store!
Food wise I’m going to be eating less meat, of a better quality. More vegetables, in season and locally sourced, if possible. I’m going to spend more money on books, because they make me happy and enrich my life. A friend sent me this post from the Blue Zones on 20 habits for a healthier, happier life and I was chuffed to see most of my plans for this year included in this list – so I won’t repeat too many of them. But I will say this: the term “downshifting” is a great one to cling on to: it’s about doing less, minimising stress and slowing the hell down.
Maybe it’s my age but every.single.day I’m reminded how precious this life is, and how fragile, and maybe it’s because the world finds itself in an increasingly tumultuous state, but this is impacting my views on life quite tremendously. I’m all for striving, but this year I know it’s also okay for me to think smaller, keep my focus close, live a quiet(ish) life and try to be a good human being.
I hope your 2018 brings you all that you need, and a few things you want.
P.S. This beautiful botanically inspired calendar is locally produced and handmade by Arty Miss.