New Year, new ideas. Well, sort of. I’ve never been much of a resolution person myself. The same predictable old favourites appear on what may as well be the same rather thrown-together list every January – lose weight, finish that book, attempt dry January… I used to worry that I never stuck to any of them. Now I rarely bother making them. Or at least not so formally. How many of you have made any? Are you likely to stick to them? Does it matter?
After the world forced us all to look at life differently last year I’m sure you, like me, reflected long and hard about life, your place in society and about what’s important to you. And I mean what’s really important.
Much of 2020 for me was spent in my own company, as was the case for so many. Work was more difficult to find, at least in the middle third of the year, resulting in plenty of reading, lots of music, and more chuntering away to myself as my football team transformed from FA Cup winners to relegation candidates in the space of weeks.
In the Autumn work picked up – thankfully – but there is now a new sense of balance to my outlook. I realised over Christmas, when I was lucky enough to spend plenty of quality time with my daughters, that health and family are more important than anything. We all tell ourselves that this is what we all think but many of us allow far more trivial issues to dominate.
OK, so I lost most of the board games we played, but I kid myself that I’m not as competitive as I was. I lie. I’m just better at not showing it these days. And in any event there was reading and colouring, brick stacking and endless ‘Hey Duggee’ episodes to follow with my (nearly two-year-old) granddaughter. It doesn’t half help you to forget the mundane everyday rubbish you allow yourself to believe is important. I have come to appreciate that whilst thinking about work is natural, worrying about it – especially the elements that you can’t control – is an exercise in futility. It really is a wasted emotion.
Although it was an awful year, I’m still able to count my blessings. Work is still rewarding, family members’ health and jobs and have not been affected, I’ve been able to read widely, I’ve reconnected with a lot of friends, I’m not driving all over the country as frantically as I used to. I’ve even learned to play the keyboard and done a coaching qualification. It’s not all been bad. Even Arsenal are winning the odd game.
So what are the aims this year? Well, in essence:
- Read more (yes, I know, but… well)
- Listen to music, rather than watch TV
- Finally publish that book
- Produce regular blogs (yep, slow on this one already)
- Walk every day
- Don’t let relationships drift – stay in contact with people
- Pursue chartered status with the CIPD
- Don’t stress the work stuff
- Don’t stress over football
- Ignore anyone whose opinion I don’t respect
- Laugh more
Several items on that list might appear a bit glib. Maybe they are. But they’re all achievable, which many resolutions plainly aren’t, and these are all things that I want to do. I have my own private target regarding weight loss. We’ll see how that pans out. My old mucker Matt Maynard is planning a walking challenge in October – walking from Cardiff to Colwyn Bay and climbing the Welsh three peaks along the way. In wellingtons. I wouldn’t go that far, but accompanying him for a few miles (in normal walking shoes) is something for me to aim for.
Other than that, I just long for some of the simple pleasures to return. To be able to watch live football (forget the standard – just being able to sit in my normal spot and watch the Arsenal play would be wonderful). To visit my sister’s new house in Harrogate. To be able to wander down to Sophia Gardens in the summer and watch Glamorgan in action. To be able to walk into town and browse in Waterstones and Troutmark. To be part of another Tom Maynard Trust fundraiser at St Fagans. To enjoy a beer up in Yorkshire (or in Spain if we are able) with all my mates from way back at Woodhouse Grove School, rather than seeing them every Friday tea-time on our (now regular) Zoom call.
Stay healthy. Stay happy. And remember what’s really important.