OK, I know. I know. I do this every year. I’ve been doing it for longer than I can remember. And despite all the best intentions in the world, it never seems to last.
Maybe it’s because I’m too ambitious. Or maybe I choose the wrong things to attempt. So this year...
I’m not doing the I’m going-to-lose-twenty-pounds-and-fit-into-that-dress thing. The older I get, the harder I have to work to make it happen, and ever since my husband told me he wasn’t interested in the packaging, just the gift inside (I think that’s about the only time he’s ever waxed poetic, but he has other qualities) I’ve taken him at his word. Though I do feel better for shedding a few pounds, so I’ll keep going with the 5/2 diet for a while yet. Well, maybe 6/1 until the Christmas goodies are eaten up.
I’m not doing the this-is-the-year-I’m-going-to-get-my-novel-accepted thing either.
If publishing other people’s books taught me one thing (and it actually taught me quite a few) it’s that from the author’s point of view getting published involves a large element of lap of the gods. So I’m being philosophical: if that door is meant to open, I’ll see it standing ajar and find the courage to push. Though I can’t help feeling the whole marketing by social media thing will have to implode before it happens; I checked out yet another relatively new publishing house the other day, and the message was very clear: don’t even bother submitting if you don’t have a huge Facebook and Twitter presence.
I never do the these-are-the-books-I-will-read-this-year thing, mainly because reading is one of the things I do for pleasure, and since 19th century Russian tomes and high-concept litfic don’t do it for me, I really don’t see the point. Though I enjoyed Wolf Hall a lot, and will be reading Bring Up the Bodies as soon as a two-week reading space opens up.
So what thing am I doing? More precisely, what thing have I decided to have a go at this year?
I’m going to try to be better at staying in touch with people. Social media may make me go cold all over, but I came to terms with e-mail many years ago. Though it does make you – me, anyway – lazy; it seems to lend itself to three-line soundbites rather than two pages of news. I may even revive an old tradition and start writing letters again. Meanwhile, I’ve already made contact with three people I’ve been out of touch with, and there are more on my list.
And I’m going to try to move outside my comfort zone more. It’s become all too evident from watching elderly relatives and neighbours that the world shrinks if you don’t keep exploring it, metaphorically as well as literally. And I don’t want to be one of those helpless women who can’t change lightbulbs/alter the central heating settings/retune the TV/take the curtains down for the wash.
Yeah yeah, I know. I know. But who knows, this may be the year it works.
We’re a week into 2014 now, and so far... Ask me again in six months.
Meanwhile, to my American friends, a happy and successful 2014, and stay warm; to my British friends, a happy and successful 2014 and stay dry.