I haven’t written here in a long time. I wish I could tell you I have been hurling the words at my book. But I haven’t. Work swept me up and Christmas carried me along. Writing has fallen away.
Now, in the quiet days of nothing and all that matters in between Christmas and New Year, I have a small window to write. I thought I’d reflect on the year. All the things that have happened and where 2018 might lead.
It has been a year of change. I headed back into the corporate workforce and had to learn all over again balancing my expectations against reality. My work hours are ideal for my lifestyle. Three days in the office and two at home with my little ones. But of course, it’s not how my mind works. While I am so good at building the boundaries, I am terrible at respecting them. My work crept into the time belonging to my children. Again. For a while I was mad at my employer about it. Until I realised, that this what I DO. A project seizes my imagination and hurl myself into it, letting it rob time from the other corners of my life. So rather than being frustrated at other people for choices that I am making, this year I will be stricter with myself, more realistic with my time and fairer on my family.
This year, I wanted to finally the write the book. It’s sitting at about 40,000 words. That’s okay. I will get there. As long as I respect the time I put aside for it. I’d like the time that I spend on things to reflect their importance to me. Sometimes I don’t spend enough time with the things I really want and too much time with the things that mean very little. I want that to change.
I held to my no-buy promise this year and bought no new clothes. Although I was given some and I made some. While I was expecting this to be difficult — a sacrifice of epic proportions. It wasn’t. After a while, I just got used to it. There were a few pieces of clothing that I sighed over and left on the rack but I could count them on one hand. I am grateful for the thoughtfulness I have brought back into my attitude towards to fashion.
While I will buy a couple of pieces this year, I will bring that attitude with me. Each purchase accompanied with questions – How often will I wear this? How did this garment come to be? Did it make a positive impact on people’s lives or a negative one? What will the future of this garment be when I am finished with it?
I love public speaking but when working for myself and being home with the kids, the opportunities to do so where closed. This year, I spoke twice in a professional capacity, I was a guest on the Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast and I was part of a panel at a Champagne Cartel event with Rebecca Sparrow and Suzi O’Shea talking about resilience. This year, I am keen to seek out more of these opportunities. To actively grab them with both hands.
Within weeks of starting my new role as a practice manager, I was asked to join the ALPMA committee – the Australasian Legal Practice Managers Association. That meant a great deal to me. That despite being out of legal for a few years I was still thought of. My background is in IT and knowledge management, rather than the more general area of practice management, so that committee and those connections have been invaluable.
I am still struggling with being a novice in some areas of practice management and more qualified than most in other areas. There is a constant tension between feeling I need to learn more and failing in the areas I am still weak. While being taken advantage of and not being recognised in the areas I am strong. But this is what happens when you move into a new area. I have never been content staying still and there is always a bit of pain involved in growth. I’m going to manage that pain a little better this year.
For the first time in many years, I let this blog go. Previously, I published two posts a week and naively thought I could continue that pace, work and write a book. It’s hard, letting go of something you have built and nurtured. But, in reality, this blog is not my baby. My babies need me more. All three of them, including Xavier. My baby who died and whom I am writing the book for. I just need to put safeguards around the time I have saved so that it doesn’t seep into the cracks.
There are the usual end of year promises that I am making to myself. To look after my health, to exercise more and eat better. I want to step more lightly on the environment and reduce waste. I want to laugh more. Stress less. Have more music and love in my life. Worry less about what people think. All the usual things.
But I also want to be realistic. We live in such a rose-tainted world when we peer through the windows of other people’s lives. Over the holidays, I have seen so many pictures of smiling kids, happy families, festive decorations and sparkling beaches. But I also have seen post after post about fractured relationships, difficult Christmas days, disappointment and bitterness.
My own Instagram posts captured the perfect moments and didn’t tell the stories about the harder times surrounding them. So I go into the new year, ready to savour the perfect moments when they come but aware that life doesn’t look like that all the time. And that’s okay.
This year I will try to “Go Gently”. In all the directions.
Calendars & Reflections
If you are into reflecting and planning for the new year, these might be useful. Just click on the image to download the PDF.