We've all heard the 'new year, new me' mantra. It’s very easy around this time of year to feel the push to make new year’s resolutions. I’ve never really thought that this was something for me, and yet this year I find myself being drawn a little into the idea. A few weeks ago, I picked up a beautiful Filofax, Norfolk it’s called, in tan-brown leather with many blank pages which I am already filling. My brain often feels as if it's on overload, in too many places at once, with too many to-dos and points to remember. The Filofax therefore was brought in as a treatment regimen, an analogue version of my higher self, to cure the disease of forgotten tasks. Like paying bills, let’s say. And yet it also seems to have become an outlet for all my thoughts. It even has a place where I can slot my journal. And perhaps this is the reason why resolutions seem possible this year, rather than pointless. Because, when I am not overloaded, my brain has time to process things like desires. Hopes. Goals. Perhaps because of my Filofax, what I processed by late 2022, was that certain things did need to change.
The outgoing year was not one I’ll treasure. Of course, there were wonderful moments. Travel opened up again. I fell in love with Florence and it's history. My daughter’s speech improved immensely. She entered reception and loves it. Personally, I had the utmost pleasure of publishing another book. And yet I feel that by the end of 2022, I had lost some of the clarity about what it was I wanted from my days. And when you don’t know what it is you want, you inevitably end up accepting things you don’t.
So, this year, for the first time, with a bit of a lead up in December, the first day of the year became my reset point. I did a lot of looking back, reflecting upon what I want and don’t want. What I like and don’t like. What is it that brings me joy? And I found that besides those around me whom I love, the thing that provides me with the most joy, is creativity.
Writing for me, has always been my medium of choice, a way of expressing my thoughts and ideas. My emotions too, the things I fear, love, and cherish all go into my stories in some way or another. There’s a reason why my books are all thematically inclined towards the idea of understanding oneself, of what makes a home, and of where the lines between the past and present are blurred. And this week, during another New Year reset, I found an old wooden box under my staircase. It is stuffed with hundreds of useless items that I thought to store. A pressed coin from the Dali Museum, name cards from weddings, and a ticket for the Metro in Paris. Birthday cards, apology notes, ribbons from places long since forgotten. I recall that I once called it a memory box. I was a magpie, for little things, collected along the way. I no longer do this, namely since Covid, and perhaps also it trailed off when I became a parent and had no space for thoughts of anything but milk and sleep schedules. For a time, I think, I stopped looking outward. Maybe as a result of this I now collect thoughts, all written in my journal. But both methods are I think fulfilling the same function. To create a living document of who I am and where I’m at. Of what I like, and what made me feel loved. My intention is not to remember every single moment, but rather be clear about the things I cherish. It's about being intentional with the life I live, by collecting items and words that connect me to where I’ve been and felt present.
And so, it's with this in mind that I make my promises to myself this year. Not a resolution, but an intention to live with my gaze cast out wide instead of inward. To be part of and enjoy the process of life and creativity. To stop perhaps, being an observer, and instead become more of a participant. And to once again pick up a leaf that will one day become nothing more than dust in a forgotten wooden box, and say to myself that in that moment, in that day, I found happiness.