Happy New Year to everyone!
I know that many people use the new year as a time to look forward and make resolutions about personal behavioural changes. I don’t like to do this. It is just another way for me to feel disappointed in myself when I don’t manage to achieve those goals. Instead I like to look back. I like to think about the previous year and reflect on what I have learnt about myself. In actuality this contributes more to my future behaviours than any list of resolutions.
So…2007… This year I went back to work on a part-time basis. I learnt that I do like to work, but that this balance is just right for our family. I could easily work full-time and earn plenty of money, but it makes us all miserable. We don’t get everything done around the house; ferrying the kids around is inconvenient and makes me resentful; life is fitted in around work. I would much rather forgo the extra money for our peace of mind and emotional happiness.
I learnt that I do actually like to work in a group of people. **I have always thought of myself as a bit isolated from the masses because I don’t really do all the popular things. This makes small talk almost impossible. Did I see that reality show on TV? No, I don’t watch it. Did I see that story on the front page of the paper? No, I don’t read it. Did I see the results of the football game? No, I don’t follow it. Do I love that new song by (insert name of skinny, skanky girl here)? No, I don’t listen to it. Despite this I may not be quite the introvert that I thought. I enjoy working toward a task in a group of people, but here’s the thing… I always end up as the leader of the group. I try to sit back and just listen, but eventually I have to state my opinions – not in a bossy way – and people agree with me. This causes me a lot of concern, because I LIKE to be the leader of the group. I am not a follower (I already knew this about myself), but I’m not sure if I am entirely comfortable with having people follow me. I LOVE to be involved in discussion about/with management and some part of me could easily move in that direction, but that causes my peace-loving, left-wing hippy heart some pause for thought. I find it quite a paradox in my personality. It doesn’t need resolution right now, I am happy just to recognise it and live with it.
I learnt that I am not at all frightened to stand up in front of a large group of people and talk. I can present a prepared piece or talk off the cuff and be equally calm. I am very pleased to have this skill.
I learnt that I need to trust my gut reactions to people. Three times this year I have had a negative/nervous response to an initial interaction with someone. I have been harsh with myself over this for being too judgemental and allowed the interaction to continue only to have it conclude in an unpleasant way. I don’t want that to happen again. I have no time for that sort of nonsense.
I learnt that letting go is not easy. This is a work in progress. I have always encouraged independence in my children, they have never been reliant on me (they would have been sorely disappointed!). I have never held on tight, but I have maintained control. I am struggling through the re-negotiation of this control. This is not an issue caused by my children. They are well prepared to take on life on their own terms. I have to be prepared to find out about it later – when they let me in – and that is difficult for me.
I anticipate that 2008 will be a challenging year. My Pete was making up little family slogans last night – It’s great in 2008! (he has the soul of a poet), but I know that may not be the case. Lots of changes, lots of learning. I am looking forward to a few of these challenges though, but more on that later…..
** May I just state that, ironically, I never feel isolated when blogging. I think there are lots of people who blog who are sucky at small talk too. I like that, it is one of the appeals of blogging for me.