Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

01 January 2011

2011 - Starting it without a list!

As I reflect back on the last few years, there seems to be a definite pattern forming.  The year starts fresh with new hope, and the quiet month of January provides refreshment and restores energy.  I leap into madcap schemes somewhat rashly in this month of quiet and energy - start a blog, join Facebook, sign up to be on the Taste Test team for an edition of a cooking magazine - and also plan for the things that will fill my year.  And then life gets going a-new during February - new school year, new groups, new things to do.   Things bubble away for a few months with enthusiasm. 

And then, well, it's not that the enthusiasm runs out, but the weather gets cold, the things that were in the planning stages in committees during the first half of the year need action in the second half of the year, other things crop up, people get sick, life gets busy.  The second half of the year is the business end of the year - not a time for new schemes, but a time to get stuff done. 

And then it starts over again.

So, here we are.  The first day 2011.  I don't have any madcap schemes brewing as yet.  But there is still time.  The blog, the Facebook account and the email to the cooking magazine all happened spontaneously in mid-January, just after my birthday, so something crazy may yet happen! 

In terms of a deeper perspective on the year, I am tempted at one level to write a big list of my hopes, dreams, goals, plans and yes, New Year's resolutions and send it out into cyberspace.  I DO love a list and I DO love to plan!!  And it would be all too easy to fill every moment of every day.  Indeed I could overfill a week with ease, such are the possibilities.

But I know that I am at the threshold of the fresh, enthusiastic part of the year.  I need to remember that just four days ago I was at the very end of the business end of the year and could barely drag myself around for tiredness.

And I know that I face another year of transition, as both of our boys will be in school full time for the first time. I think that most of the thinking/work on this subject is done.  But I imagine there will be some new, strange and difficult moments to navigate. 

And my thoughts keep returning to a friend's wise, wise advice to keep a "lazy diary" - making sure we don't over-commit in the early part of the year because things will take longer than we expect, we WILL get sick at some stage in the year and we want to leave time in our lives to respond to the people and the opportunities that God gives us - things nowhere to be found in a year planner on the 1st January, hard as we might try to plan for all eventualities.

It's not that I don't feel a sense of optimism for the year to come.  I stand here looking out on 2011 with great hope.  But this year marks the beginning of a new phase with no small children at home or routine paid employment to head out to each day.  I don't want to be overcautious nor do I plan to be lazy in the true sense of the word (tempting as that big, lovely tin of T2 English Breakfast tea leaves I got for Christmas and the new list on my sidebar...oops!  there's a list!!!...of books I'd like to be reading during 2011 might be.)  At the other end of the spectrum there is the danger of over-progamming the week.  There is PLENTY I could be doing but in the end, being spread too thinly helps no-one and leaves no room to respond to the unexpected.

So, here we are - 1st January 2011.  No lists.  Well, there is a list (besides the book list.)  It's a prayer list - a list of options and possibilities to be prayed through.  And I pray that by February I'll have a clearer sense of what this year is going to look like - and if I don't then I am happy for this to take longer.

Happy New Year.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

4 comments:

Karen said...

I really enjoyed your post Meredith, thanks for your wise reflections on how we all feel at the beginning of a new year! Just wanted to comment on your reading list as well, I read The Spare Room a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it. I came to Helen Garner's books via her non fiction (particularly The First Stone) and find her writing style very engaging. Hope you get to read it at some stage this year!

Meredith said...

Hi Karen. Thanks for dropping in and saying hello.

I am looking forward to reading "The Spare Room", although am yet to secure a copy of it. Will have to see if it is at the local library!!

I hadn't heard of it (or Helen Garner...but now that I look her up I recognise some of her titles) but it has come up in a couple of reviews that I have read recently, one from the lovely Jenny at "No Reading at the Breakfast Table." She does seem to get excellent reviews, especially in terms of her writing style...and you have just added to that so I am definitely looking forward to getting into it, but probably later in the year at this stage.

At this stage I am enjoying a reread of Harry Potter 7, having recently seen the film and wanting to know what happened at the end again! And then I need to get myself reacquainted with John Calvin and would like to read the last Marilynne Robinson novel I have, having REALLY enjoyed Gilead and Home last year, before the school holidays finish and I venture back into non fiction.

But the year is long. So nice to have time and many good books stretching out before us.

Sarah said...

I too love January for it's 'listlessness'. It's almost the eye of the cyclone in some way as it comes off the back of a busy December and before the craziness as the next year looms. Apart from the heat, I do love January.

Keeping our diaries flexible and 'lazy' is good advice. I've learnt the hard way in the past, overcommitting to way too many things at the start of the year (especially at uni). Thanks for your advice about being kind to myself.

Happy 2011! :)

Meredith said...

Hi Sarah.

Describing January as the eye of a cyclone - that's terrific!

And yes, I think we all learn this lesson the hard way. I seem to be taking a long time to learn about it! The best time to make decisions like this is actually at our busiest times because it is then that we really know our limitations. And in fact I said no to being on a pretty big committee somewhere in the blur of November and December for that very reason. I develop a false sense of security during January...although, this particular one has been SO HOT so far that extra energy is a little thin on the ground!

Happy 2011 to you too dear friend.