Saturday, 14 January 2012

Day Five

For a number of years now I have been more and more concerned by consumerism and the way it has been sucking me in.  The idea that what I own or am able to buy somehow gives meaning and purpose to my life and adds value to me as an individual is one that we are encouraged by the advertising all around us to see as the norm and, in a rare moment of lucidity I realised I didn't agree.  It all started a number of years ago when, on one of my all time favourite shows, Dharma & Greg, Dharma was having a declutter and when asked why she replied 'because if you own too much stuff pretty soon it starts owning you.'.  The more I thought about that the more true it seemed, not that it really did anything to curb my buying stuff, after all I didn't buy nearly as much stuff as other people did I so it wasn't really my problem was it?

However this December we had some big, unexpected outlays.  The car needed a new clutch and gearbox, which decided to break two days before we were due to drive to Scotland meaning we also needed to rent a car for 10 days.  When we got back from our holiday the wooden stairs from our kitchen down to our garden gave up the ghost and became too dangerous to stand on meaning we had to pay to get them fixed then we had a very large, unexpected bill we had to pay.  All this before we'd started buying Christmas presents for our large and extended family and friends.

Now, as many of you will know, I have amazing friends and we all decided that we would 'charity shop' and 'second-hand' for pressies because it is, after all, the thought that counts.  We had a fantastic time finding wonderful, perfect little bargains which brought such joy both for me when I found them and to the recipients when I gave them so why then, I wondered, did I feel like I was somehow cheating on my presents?

I did a bit of soul-searching and realised that I really did believe the monetary cost of a gift said something about its value.  That shocked me.  I would never have said I bought into consumerism but here I was waist deep.  Something had to be done.  I needed a break and to re-evaluate why I buy gifts, which I love doing.  I came up with a radical solution.  My new years resolutions.  Normally I don't make resolutions just because I don't really see why Jan 1st is any different to any other new day but this year I decided to challenge myself. So I have three new years resolutions.

1.  No new clothes.  I am only allowed to buy second-hand or make them myself.
2.  Nothing new for the house.  Again I'm only allowed to buy second-hand or go skip-diving etc
3. (And this is the toughie) I am not allowed to buy anything new to give to people as presents, they need to be pre-owned, hand-made or (because I want my friends to still be my friends at the end of the year) I am allowed to make a donation to charity on their behalf if that is what they prefer.

We're only 14 days in but I do have two good friends' birthdays coming up at the very start of February and I've already got their gifts within my new limits so I'm feeling pretty good about it all so far. Will keep you all informed of how it goes through-out the year.

PS I have now found the spell-check but lost my glasses so the spelling should be ok but as this all looks like a grey blur to me I'm sorry for all the extra spaces etc.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Day Four

So Friday 13th was actually a really good day.  Went to a very useful seminar on funding bids and made some promising contacts then went for cake and coffee with friends followed by beating my wonderful husband 8-1 in a Wii tournament and writing another 1,235 words of my book, taking the total to over 40,000! Really quite happy. But why, oh why, did I lose my glasses and the usb stick in my glasses case again?!  I actually have the memory of a goldfish.  I put something down and forget it exists. Ho hum.  If I ever did develop senility I'm not sure any of my friends would notice the early signs.

All in all though a really good week, I had two wonderful surprises this week, I was sent a 'good luck in your new job' card by some very selfless women who I only speak to once a year when they donate toys for the looked after children at work and then I was given chocolate and wine by a lady who I gave a pushchair that I'd been given to.  I like it when brilliant things happen, especially when they're unexpected, it just reinforces my strongly held belief that almost all the people we meet are wonderful people, even if they are being grumpy at that second, after all we're all entitled to bad days.  It's a maths thing really isn't it.  If there are 70,000,000 people living in our country and the papers can only find around 3 or 4 people a day who have done truly bad things that still leaves 69,000,096 wonderful people out there and that has to make it a brilliant world, doesn't it.

At this point I feel I really must apologise for all the spelling mistakes you are going to find on this blog - as a dyslexic I rely on spellchecks and this interface doesn't have one, sorry, just think of it as a raw art form, like your toddler's pictures.

And did I tell you I have the memory of a goldfish?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Day Three

So obviously have decided against the clever titles or even chronologically correct titles, oh well, perhaps it means I'm putting all that cleverness into the body of the text.  I know.  Not so far.  Stick with it, you never know I might surprise you.

Had a very interesting few days.  Yesterday I met with someone who made me feel 'unsaved' as a good friend of mine says.  I guess that means that I really wanted to bash him over the head with a wet kipper but, as it was a work meeting, I wasn't allowed to which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, really does go against all my natural urges.  I am a creature of impulse usually and I don't seem to be getting any better with age though, it seems, I am learning to chanel those impulses, for example I had a lot of fun on the Wii sport boxing thingy last night! lol.

Something very strange is going on with my brain though, I'm choosing to call it burgening creativity rather than complete madness.  During December I didn't have time to breathe (much like most other women I know) and I really didn't have anytime to devote to my story, witness the fact that I wrote about 6 words all month.  I was beginning to worry the story had evaporated but with only three weeks left at work the story is back with avengence.  I have to write again otherwise it fills my every waking moment and invades my dream.  Let me tell you a dream about the Greenbelt Festival intersperced with images from a science fiction thriller is a very weird dream in deed!  So I'm now 38,784 words in, having managed another 1,911 words today and hoping I have done enough to clear my dream world.  I am beginning to suspect where J K Rowling got her idea for the remembril from!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day Two

So 22 days left!  Sorted out my final drawer today, feels very strange, not quite real still tomorrow I get to do my favourite part of my job, albeit for the last time and meet with lovely people for coffee and cakes. 

As for my plans for the rest of the year, well they are fourfold (if that is such a word).

Firstly, I'm going to finish writing my book.  I'm 36,000 words in and about half way through the story so it's getting there.
Secondly, I'm really looking forward to working with my Church on their exciting community project.
Thirdly, my friend and I are going to start selling weird & woolie things at various craft fairs around the country.
Finally I've always fancied having a go at being an extra, it looks like an interesting way to boarden your horizons and dress up in clothes you'd never get to wear otherwise and, for a chronic people watcher like me, even the endless hanging around has promise so I thought this would be a good year to sign up to an agency and see what happens.

So these are my goals for 2012 and my blog will be a way of keeping track of my progress and keeping myself on track.  I don't know if anyone will ever read it but I think I'll have fun writing it and perhaps, in a few years time, it will be fun to look at the year off I took and see if I really managed to do the things I set out to. Watch this space, as they say...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Day One

So I'm about to embark on the scariest and most exciting ride of my life.  In 23 days I will leave my lovely, secure job, which I have really enjoyed, and my very supportive workmates, whom I will miss, and set out on uncharted territory.


Well mostly because in 16 days I will be 45 - me, 45(!) and there are a number of things I have always wanted to do and never had the time.  I have a wonderful husband who is willing to let me try and realise my dreams and the mortage is all paid off so now I've run out of excuses and reasons I can't and I'm going to have to do. 

So look out dreams cos here I come!