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Usually I spend my New Years Eve with several quiet cups of tea, while I make an attempt at summarising the life lessons of the previous twelve months… This year’s list is short (with several familiar bits – I’m a slow learner!):

1. The tension between working towards hopes and dreams and graciously letting go of what is not meant for you is a bloody lot harder than it sounds. Even still, missed opportunities and disappointments have a way of leading to other good stuff, which turns out to have its own loveliness.

2. Further to above: Aspiration/hard work/determination = all good. Anxiety/perfectionism/stress = all bad. It’s a fine line! I’ve never been brave enough to embrace the ‘I’m fabulous just as I am, deal with it’ mantra… Least of all in my case, where there is so much obvious room for improvement! But some days, I think it’s ok to say ‘This is the best I’ve got. It’s a bit smudgy around the edges, but it is enough’.

3. Further to above: So far being 30-something isn’t exactly what I imagined… But I am learning (still) to avoid counting good and bad years too much, and be grateful in the highs and optimistic in the lows. Plans have their place, but then so do surprises!

4. Further to above: Some years are just for loveliness. 2018 is already shaping up to be wonderful, surrounded as I am with with a great family and lovely friends who are in turn making their own families. It’s a delightful little village to be in! I am incredibly fortunate to have such amazing people around me.

5. Further to above, life goals for the year ahead:

– Less stress, more uncoordinated yoga/clumsy jogging/awkward scrambling up climbing walls. I’m always going to look like a multi-coloured hippo in active wear, but I don’t suppose that’s the end of the world! 

– Less study, more reading for pleasure. I always have the best intentions of a NY ‘No New Books Until I’ve Finished My Current “Want to Read” List’ resolution. I give myself a month at most before I break! Reading time and contentment level are directly proportionate, right?

– Less fretting about life at 3am, more sleep. Is there anything more important to good mental health than proper rest? Tea, oils, meditation – whatever it takes…

– Less sugar/alcohol/crap, more time in the veggie patch. Am converted to the view that a clear head and a happy heart begin in a healthy belly. Tips from my green thumbed friends welcome!

– And most importantly, less time inside and more time out and about with my beloved pup, who showed up in the life of Jess when I needed him most. Already I would be lost without him. What a gift it is to come home to the little pitter patter of paws and the exuberant adorability of puppy love! 

So I hope this fresh day/week/month/year also brings you and yours a 2018 that is your very best year yet, with adventures and lots of love and your favourite company in abundance. Happy 2018! Xx

  

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Trying to sum up a year in a few sentences always feels a bit awkward, and if I’m honest, a bit self-indulgent. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been dragging my feet this time round! The habit didn’t have illustrious origins, and is still not much more than an attempt to store away lessons learnt, in the hope that they might not need to be relearnt too painfully or often! It also does me good to look back over the highlights reel as an aid to keeping perspective and cultivating a resilient sort of gratitude… Though I do so this time in acute awareness that while I found 2016 to be passable company, it was a right jerk to a whole lot of people, who will be most pleased to have made it over the line. I was mildly disappointed that the replay of my own year was a little lacking in amplitude or achievement, but then perhaps that’s the take home message. Ordinary years have their place, to rebuild after extraordinarily bad ones and prepare for extraordinarily good ones. So to all those who crawled the last few metres of the finisher’s chute last week, I hope 2017 brings an end to the plagues and misfortunes of this year, and shows up instead with plenty of fantastic days to go round, an adventurous road ahead, and unexpected loveliness. I hope you also have a few nice bits of salvage that are worth celebrating. Jx

1. One favourite film: The BFG. Just beautiful.

2. Two favourite books: ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer, and ‘Heroic Australian Women in War’ by Susanna de Vries.

3. Three favourite tunes (none of which were written in 2016): ‘Benedictus’ by 2Cellos, ‘Calm and Crystal Clear’ by Miss Higgins, and ‘The Sound of Silence’ by Disturbed.

4. Favourite wardrobe addition: The loveliest pair of Duckfeet Fyns that ever was!

5. Best meal: Madame Hanoi, Adelaide. Outstanding company. Outstanding meal.

6. Best drink: Sullivan’s Cove American Cask. Breathtaking.

7. Best piece of advice: ‘Don’t rush. There are more opportunities ahead of you than you can even consider now.’

8. Favourite view: Newcastle Harbour from Stockton Bridge. I will miss it dearly.

9. Favourite addition to my happy home: The various precious gifts that send me on my way with a beautiful, diverse and most sufficient collection of teas.

10. Plan for the New Year: Work hard. Read widely. Take risks. Make time for kindness. Carefully expand scotch collection, in consultation with friends near and far.

Quote of the Week

“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

Khaled Hosseini - The Kite Runner

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