The inevitable new year notes

New Year's Eve. A time for expectation, disappointment, hype and rain. I both mock and entirely fall victim to the whole thing. We all do. And as such I have obviously been reflecting, looking forward and deciding upon what it will be that will drive my 2014 to be unexpected, challenging and peppered with pockets of bliss.

The year of living

Superman, the most wonderful of cats, sadly not mine, here demonstrates perfectly what I mean by the year of living.

Last year, as I mentioned once or twice, was 'the year of yes'. I have loved it - my confidence has grown in leaps and bounds, I have discovered things that it would now be tragic not have in my life and I have countless memories that bring the broadest and most enveloping of smiles to my face. But I am exhausted.

This Christmas has been characterised by a long and deep bout of flu. Throughout the year I have suffered lasers in my eyes, hormonal imbalances, weird allergies, alarming tic bites and some occasional - yes I admit it - total mental breakdowns. Saying yes and always being and doing takes its toll. You need balance.

And that's where Superman comes in. When he wants to lie down, nap and hug his own tail just 'cause it's fluffy - he does. I don't want to start saying no, but I do want to be able to thoroughly enjoy everything I say yes to, to the extent that I can manage the everyday as well.

And that is why I have chosen the 'year of living' for 2014. Excitement and the new balanced with indulgence in the existing and comfortable. Staying healthy and happy and investing in what I already have, while working hard to build the foundations for what I might have in the future.

Living with what I have

Of course this whole concept only works because of the wonderful things I have managed to entwine within my definition of me by saying yes throughout 2013 and the things that were me before and I have happily continued to invest my time and attention to.

  • Work. I have developed and learnt a lot and rather than feeling I must race to catch up, I can now focus on quality and consistency and find a way to enrich my commitment and interest at a healthy and sustainable pace.
  • Music - oh so much wonderful music. I have discovered a whole world of both local and big-name bands, genres and talents. My passion for listening to, learning about and writing about music has grown exponentially this year and this is one area where I will most definitely still be saying 'yes' all next year.
  • Home. I've covered this before, but now I'm settled I can revel and simply live in my lovely flat and use it to ensure I sleep and take care of myself using my custom-madecocoon.  
  • People. I have made new friends this year, met new people and circulated in new circles with some fabulous and fascinating characters. I have also rekindled and maintained friendships that I would not trade for all the gold in the world. I will always make time for the people who matter and say yes to the possibility that someone new I meet could come to matter too. (And yes, there may be one person of particular significance who I have already met, and who's smile makes me feel as happy and contend as the cat who cuddles his own tail - and there I shall most certainly be indulging in the wonderfulness of what I already have.)
  • Writing. At the core of many of these things though is writing. Be it writing for a living, reviewing gigs, writing to my friends far afield or simply creating a space where words and thoughts can coalesce more naturally in my home - I want writing to be something that I live in 2014, not just something I say yes to.

And speaking of words...

I shall end by telling you my one, and only, 'traditional' New Year's resolution - which is actually a rather scary move, as it makes me more than somewhat accountable for achieving it - but here goes.

I intend to learn Italian. I have always loved languages, and I could kick myself for letting so much of what I learned at school in French, German and Latin slip away. But my next international dream destination is Italy, and since it may be a while before I can trail the cities I want to see, I shall spend my time learning the words they use to communicate who they are and what they mean.

And if you think this is one of those wishy-washy wishes that will dissipate by February, I'll tell you now, Italian lessons were one of my Christmas presents - I (brilliantly) have no way out.

And so I say to you.... Buon anno!