Alex Molton looks forward to 2024 with a new sense of purpose and hopes for some real change.
So there we are, Christmas is done for another year and we are back to the grindstone. I don’t know about you but I did actually have quite a relaxing break. Sadly, due to the endless rain we didn’t get out and about for walks with the dog or football practice as much as I’d hoped, but we did get some proper rest, and even I – someone who is rubbish at sitting still for long – spent a fair amount of time on the sofa. I have to say the 8am wake-ups (compared to the usual 6.45am) were also absolutely glorious! Thankfully, the kids aren’t back to school until next week, so although it means, with us both working at home this week, they have been on screens a fair amount, it has delayed the inevitable mad scramble to get back into a school routine.
Having not done much for New Year’s Eve since we had the kids (usually a nice dinner, wine and conking out in front of Jools Holland shortly after midnight), this year we went to stay at a friend’s parent’s house for the night with a bunch of other families. A nice dinner and plenty of wine was still consumed, but it was great to make the night more of an occasion and I did wake up on New Year’s Day with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for what 2024 might bring.
I also had some interesting conversations with new friends about their plans and resolutions for the new year. One dad told me that he was hoping to ‘do more’ in 2024. As a man with two young children and a fairly high profile job travelling overseas on a regular basis, I was quite intrigued, but he explained that he wants to spend less time playing games on his phone, faffing about on the internet and wasting time doing nothing much. He wanted to make better use of his time; an honourable pursuit, I thought. He asked me if I had any resolutions for the new year: “to do less”, I proffered. When he seemed confused, I tried to explain: less stress, less doing things because I have to, less worrying, less taking on more things that aren’t my responsibility, less filling the days and weeks with an endless list of tasks which I will never reach the end of. I tried to sell it as a positive, but I’m not sure if he felt I was being a bit blase.
However, with the inevitable review of the last year and your life as a whole which the promise of a new year provides, I had come to the conclusion that last year for me was too much. Too much stress, too much going on, too much to think about, too much worrying about things I couldn’t change. So for me 2024 is the year of trying things in a different way, of saying I don’t want to, it’s too much, no thanks. To me that sounds very positive!
I think life for most adults these days is too much, but many of us find it hard to say we are at capacity, we can’t take on any more, or we have enough going on. For most mums in my life there is also an innate sense of obligation which we seem to find it hard to shake. Of course, we are obligated to our children, partners, families, jobs, but surely there is some balance to be struck between the things we have to do and the other things which appear to be forced upon us, the things which actually we can say no to (although we may not see it) and we don’t always have to say yes.
So that’s my plan for 2024 – more balance, more calm, more self care, and hopefully with a bit more time on my hands, a lot more fun.