Sunday, 1 January 2017

I am not making any New Year's

resolutions. I have never really made very public resolutions at any time but this year I am not making any at all.
Last year taught me something - or reminded me of something. You can't foretell the future.
During my time at teacher training college I had to support myself. To do this I worked as a "junior housemistress" in a boarding school for girls. I probably wasn't very well suited to the job. The girls were fine and I had no discipline problems but Sunday lunch was an embarrassment - unless I was on duty. 
If I was not on duty I was expected to eat in the staff dining room. After the meal was over the staff were expected to "have coffee" in the staff sitting room. The Sunday newspaper would be opened and the headmistress would solemnly read out everyone's "stars" for the week. Now in all fairness to the headmistress she was following a long standing school tradition. She didn't believe in what she was reading - and she knew I didn't. I remember the first Sunday I attended this gathering - and I still squirm. Nobody told me what to expect. I didn't know what "star sign" I was and I had to publicly admit this - to a gasp of horror from at least two elderly boarding house staff. They had been at the school for at least forty years and the tradition had been going on all that time. For them the Sunday "reading" was important. I don't know what the other staff thought - apart from the headmistress. She took me to one side and, quite kindly, explained what it was all about and why I would need to endure it. 
As I was also volunteering my services at the local residential nursery school for the deaf at weekends I managed to get away from Sunday lunch every second or third week. I endured the rest but, on the rare occasions I had to listen I still squirmed inwardly.
None of the "predictions" ever came true.
At the beginning of last year I made plans for the year. I knew other things might get in the way but I thought they might be achievable.
Forget it. I achieved none of it.
I achieved things, of course I did. The problem was - and is - that I did not achieve the things I wanted to achieve. I was forced to "resign" from a position I loved, leaving a job half done - simply because someone with less experience in a position of greater authority thought they knew better than I did. It's a situation still causing problems.
The Senior Cat had that fall and, although he has apparently recovered, I know that there have been subtle changes. He's even more afraid of falling and he tires more easily. Well, he will be 94 in February. I know we are lucky to still have him - and that we might not at any time.
I lost some good friends - two were completely unexpected deaths. Another friend was injured in a terrorist incident - and when it happens to someone you know such incidents become sharp and very, very close. 
There was more work than I expected. I had to come to grips with a new - to me - language. The resources were limited and it took time.
I kept up the blog  but I didn't do a lot of other writing...and don't tell me "you could have done more writing if you had tried" because there are limits - limits to the hours in a day, limits to emotional strength, and limits to the actual physical capacity to write. I didn't knit much either - although I did help others with theirs. I made myself take time off for that because I am supposed to look after the group. 
So this  year I am saying, "I would like to do some serious writing. I would like to do some serious knitting. I would like to maintain my local and electronic friendships." If I can do that, look after the Senior Cat, do my work, and read some books then it will be enough for now. Anything else will be a bonus.
I am, as someone put it recently, "vertical and ventilating" - and it is really much much better than the alternative. 
Happy New Year everyone! 


helen devries said...

I do like vertical and ventilating!
Happy New Year.

Allison said...

Well, of course, you could have easily made time for writing (and knitting, too). Anyone could have. Many would have. But you wouldn't have been the Cat we all know and love if you had put yourself ahead of all those in need of your help. I hope the coming year allows more personal time. And good health to you and all your loved ones. Happy New Year!

catdownunder said...

Thank you Helen - and the same to you.
Thank you Allison. I think I'm lucky being able to do things at all when some people can't. Happy New Year to you too!