It’s that time of the year again. New year resolutions are being. Promises to never drink again are made fervently: ‘but just after this last peg’. Gym memberships are gained and personal trainers are employed to melt that holiday gut that started growing... Oh about a decade ago.
That’s the wonderful thing about the New Year... no matter how terrible the last 12 months or 12 years have been, no matter how awful you were at sticking to the South Beach diet or if your kitchen garden died on the 2nd of January, there is something about the 31st of December that makes you feel like ‘hell, I can do it this year’.
Like almost everyone else, I’m in stock-taking mood. 2012 has been a mixed year for me. I struggled and continue to struggle with bringing up two rambunctious boys whilst trying to cling on to my own sanity. I tentatively dipped my toes in to the waters of the employment with a brief freelance gig. I trained and continue to train for the upcoming marathon in January. And in December my better half finally picked up on my the heavy hints i’ve been dropping for the last five years and booked a holiday for just the two of us in Bekal, Kerala.
We flew to Chennai, deposited the children with their doting grandparents and got the hell out of there before they realised what they’d signed up for and changed their minds.
For the first time in almost five years, I strolled on to a plane with just one bag instead of three. I read the in-flight magazine and safety manuals from cover to cover. So pleased was I with my new found freedom I spent the very short flight beaming manically at every one around me and relished every mouthful of that exquisite cardboard they call food.
Our entire vacation was an exercise in doing pretty much nothing. There were no small people to bathe and feed, no nap schedules to stick to, no boredom to alleviate, no tantrums to soothe. We smiled benignly at the harried parents ferrying their charges around and imploring them to eat an idli, before we went back to sitting on a giant swing with a view of our own private plunge pool and continued on the divine path of doing nothing.
I was reminded of a wonderful piece in the New York Times that championed just that: doing nothing. The writer spoke at length of how we go about filling our days with things to do,that were not always meaningful but just gave us a sense of being busy, useful and productive. I realised how much of my day was spent in moving on from one task to another, in auto-pilot and that even when I spent ‘quality’ time with my children my mind was already moving on to the next item on my to-do list. I realised with horror that spending time with children was also an item on my to-do list rather than something more organic and free-flowing. I was trying to fill the day, so that no one, myself included, would be able to point a finger and accuse me of doing nothing.
And so I have arrived at my own new year resolution. To take a step back from it all and learn to live in the moment instead of from one chore to another. To spend more time being silly with my kids instead of correcting their silliness. To remember that they are only children... something I fail to do with alarming frequency. Oh and finishing my half marathon in less than two and half hours.
So here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful new year. And if you find yourself eating a jam donut on the 2nd of January instead of hitting the gym, remember what Scarlet said ‘After all.. tomorrow is another day.”
Menaka Raman, a former advertising professional is currently a freelance writer, occasional blogger and also moonlights as a mother. She tries to write when she’s not chasing dragons and riding magic carpets with her two boys.