2014: a very satisfactory year

December 31, 2014 § 13 Comments

It’s true: time really does seem to move faster the older you get. It seems like only five minutes ago that I was readying myself for 2014 and now 2015 is upon us.

As I survey the past twelve months, it feels like it has been an important year, maybe even a turning point. There were precious few major upheavals and no once-in-a-lifetime adventures but amongst the seemingly ordinary ebb and flow of daily life, I spot significant milestones, the confluence of experience, skills and ideas, appropriate endings and exciting beginnings.

The year started with a new job, one I resigned from before the first quarter was out. To the Mrs M of five years ago, this would have seemed like madness. I would have stuck with it for eighteen months or a year as that would have been the ‘sensible’ thing to do or it would have looked okay on the CV. But to me, quitting a job that made my heart sink within a month of starting felt utterly right. By resigning I was putting myself first rather than perpetuating old, destructive habits of putting an employer’s, organisation’s and clients’ wishes ahead of what was good for me. It, of course, also meant I had to trust in my value and potential and that too felt like a major breakthrough.

If 2014 started with working out what I most definitely didn’t want, most of the year revolved around pursuing and nurturing the treasures I do want in my life: the relationships, skills, soul food,… In a nutshell, 2014 was the year:

  • I became an auntie, a doting and eccentric one just as I have always wanted to be. Whilst my niece’s arrival has not triggered any desire to have children of my own, I am smitten with her. I am also enjoying getting to know my siblings in their guise of parent, uncle and aunt and love having carte blanche to spend a lot of time in the children’s section of bookshops;
  • I learnt one of the oldest crafts known to man, pottery. To my delight, and slight amazement, I not only discovered I love this most traditional of skills, but that despite my arthritic hands, I am quite good at drawing vessels out of clay. Don’t even get me started on my fascination with the chemistry of glazes…;
Pottery

One of my simple hand-thrown bowls, part of a little homage to my father

  • I started to pitch my writing for publication, resulting in a feature article in print, mentioned in passing here, and more glowingly here and here by a couple of lovely bloggers. (Note to self: I must increase self-promotion efforts in 2015, no matter how icky it feels). I also, in an “oh-sod-it” moment, decided to turn an idea into a book proposal and have started to submit it for consideration. Having written one book proposal, ideas for others are already bubbling away in my brain;
  • I shared many a conversations with like-minded souls, both online and off, who like me are trying to make sense of our relationship with each other and the material world and the contradiction of abundance and impoverishment in our society. Some discussions reassured me I was not going quietly mad on my own and fed a sense of solidarity and collective effort. Others led to encounters when I happened to be in the same city, like a delightful evening in Edinburgh with The Inelegant Horserider just days before the Scottish Referendum, or to the exchange of tips on cooking, growing, dyeing, sewing… with curious souls from the US to Sweden;
  • I embraced knitting small items. Constrained by clothes rationing and arthritis on the one hand and spurred on by the arrival of my niece, the constructive defiance in a post about knitting your own hand towels and a thoroughly generous gift of yarn on the other, I focussed on small pieces in 2014: baby clothes, flannels, socks, mittens…; and
Knitting for the wee one

Knitting for the wee one

  • I stopped fighting my body, even if this meant letting go of longstanding habits that were interwoven with my identity (e.g. the heat seeking tea addict) and of social expectations (goodbye vino and hair dye!), or embracing the eccentricity of writing or playing the violin in fingerless mittens (like some character from Austen or Dickens who has fallen on hard times). Turning 40 may have given me the confidence to care (even) less about norms and conventions than before but deciding to direct my time, finite energy and physical strength to those things that are truly meaningful to me is intrinsically tied up with my interest in sustainability.

In a similar vein, 2014 was the year I took creating what I wish existed to a new level, prompting me to ‘pounce’ on chance remarks made by likeminded individuals with the suggestion we turn this ‘thinking aloud’ into reality. Sowing such ideas is much like sowing seeds. Some fall on rocky ground, some drift off with the wind, some fall prey to the weeds of busy lives… Occasionally, though, one falls into fertile soil and with the right gardeners to tend it, the seed takes root, not necessarily into the seedling we expect but into something beautiful with the potential to nourish those who enjoy its fruit. I am currently fertilising and training just such a seedling together with Wendy (of Roof Top Veg Plot), a fellow writer, gardener and thinker, so keep your eyes out for an exciting new venture in 2015, one based around words, ideas and nurturing!

 

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