Tuesday, December 30, 2014

For the year ahead

I wrote this today in response to a Facebook post from a friend, whose mind is turning to the newly-coined (but not new) "frugal abundance" philosophy as 2015 starts. She asked what we hoped for in 2015. I was surprised to find my answer was spontaneous, immediate and felt true, straight away; with more reflection, it still does. I wrote:
I am striving this year for mindfulness - of myself, my body, the people around me, the world I live in, the earth that supports us. Part of this will be the frugal abundance you speak of - having made a conscious choice to prioritise my physical and mental health by moving to part time employment, this is both necessary and a wonderful opportunity.
Part of it is a renewed focus on that which matters, and a sustained practice in letting go of that which does not. My disability is my teacher in this - I could not keep living my life as I was, my body closed the door on that option some months ago.
I haven't officially announced it anywhere as such, but just to clarify - I am moving to 0.6 at my job in 2015, where I'll be working three short (school-hours) days and one "normal" office day, with Fridays off altogether.  The hope is that this will make managing my health flares (which my specialists tell me I must expect as a part of life now, for at least the next few years) a lot easier, as well as freeing me, when I am well, to spend more time with family, community and writing interests. Of course, it also means about 25% less after-tax income, but this is a trade that I am lucky to be in a position to be able to make.

I want to live 2015 wide awake to every moment - the good, the unremarkable, and the shitty alike. I feel a little bit like a deep-sea diver coming back to the surface; the last 18 months has been so immersively difficult that it will take time to re-learn how to breathe and to feel the sun on my face.

That doesn't mean that all of my time as a full-time worker / full-time parent / full-time hyper-vigilant / recent sick person has been crappy, because hello it has not. There have been many great days and many great experiences in this time. (Pooooort Dooooouuuuuglas!) It does mean, though, that the period from mid-2013 until now has been characterised by unbalance, and a lack of mindfulness, in ways that have not made me happier, or more creative, or more productive, or more of a contributor to the areas of life where I most want to contribute. (My community. My family. My world, especially in social justice areas).

So what I hope for from 2015 is just that - to be present, to be mindful, and to show up in the ways that feel the most meaningful to me. In cooking fresh foods, in volunteering, in speaking up, in poeticising, in writing, in reading, in being with my children and my partner, in being a friend, in paying attention to my own body and mind, in being gentler with myself and others.

These are humble goals in some ways - there are no KPIs attached, there is no target list of outputs to measure. In other ways, of course, they are the most transformationally significant I have ever attempted. I know that the game will be worth the candle, though, and I know this is what I need to do in 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds wonderful, I hope you find the balance you and your family need. I was really worried about you towards the end of the year.