Archive for December, 2017

2018: More and Less for the New Year

December 31, 2017

2018: More and Less

I am making a blogging come-back in time for a New Year – and have some thoughts about how to make it a better year for me. Perhaps my non-Resolutions approach will help you too. I have found over many years that lists of what to do – whether seemingly practical or noble seem doomed to fail, so for many years I have eschewed the idea of New Year anything… But this year I feel it might be time to try again, to re-focus my energies in a way that might work for me. So, welcome to my More and Less lists for 2018. After all, most of us love a good list!



It’s time to return to regular blogging as I’ve paid for another year’s worth of platform, as writing regularly is good practice, and as I really do have a lot to say on most things!

I’m also going to be more regular in the fiction realm too: make sure I write for several hours at least once a week; Sundays most probably – to regain the habit of writing there too, of setting a regular time and place and letting habit bring the Muse to the surface sooner rather than later, and therefore allow the next murder-mystery novel to move at a more productive pace.


Winter slows me, swaddles me in layers and keeps me in the car and inside but it is anything but good for my knees or my health, so I will move more – try to walk every day, try to get some level of acceptable fitness back into my existence. Small steps, modest goals, but more movement will lead to improved fitness and a move away from obesity and declining health!


I mean for pleasure, just for me. I read a shit-load of stuff every day – mostly less than erudite essays and stories from the great unwilling teen-age beast, but also works of fiction that need to be read and re-visited for work, for the afore-mentioned teen-age beasty. So, I want to read more for me, read something current, something good, something classic that should be re-visited – perhaps a bit of Moby Dick; can I finally get to The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (bought last summer) or get through Eleanor Catton’s Booker winning The Luminaries (started three times)?

Kindness and Tolerance

I advocate kindness all the time: it is one of those seriously under-rated human attributes, something we need a whole lot more of. And if I expect it from others I should practice it more myself. I need to be kinder, more patient with those I love, those I work with, those to whom I am meant to make a difference. I shall work on smiling more genuinely and less ironically at my charges and think seventeen thousand times before opening my mouth and speaking. I like the idea of the THINK steps before you speak…

T – is it True?

H – is it Helpful?

I – is it Inspiring?

N – is it Necessary?

K – is it Kind?


Time doing the things you want to do –

This isn’t doesn’t need to be that hard and covers a multitude of sins: spend time doing what you love, what brings you joy – be that your own creative pursuits, being outside in the wonders of nature, being with those you love. Don’t ignore the importance of doing more of what you want to do, what fills your heart – don’t be afraid to be happy, even – especially – in small moments. Don’t fill your days with work and grind and have to, make sure you do somethings for yourself, that make you appreciate the joy and wonder of your life and makes you a better person.




Time Wasting on FB, etc

I don’t need it, it’s mostly rubbish and it eats my time in a passive-aggressive sort of way. Yes, I love seeing what my friends and family are up to, I love the cute dog pix, I love the quizzes, I love the interesting articles, I love that it keeps me connected to so many parts of my life, but I don’t need it open all the time, distracting me from more productive pursuits… and neither do you!

On-line Shopping –

This is hard too – I love a good trawl through Groupon, Kaleidoscope, BonPrix, Amazon, Wayfair, Tesco’s but oh, it too is just sucking time from my life. I shall restrict myself to certain times of the year and limit the spending (which was okay until Xmas!!) and exercise more self-control in such matters – do I really need it, where will it go, how can I get it back home (when that finally happens)?

TV –

Yes, this is taking over my life again – once during the PhD years there was no TV, now it seems to be slowly but surely taking up too much time again. I shall simply watch the programs I really like (The Chase, Victoria, Feud, Dr Who, University Challenge, Only Connect, Death in Paradise, Father Brown, The Durrells – oh, see how the list swells and grows…) and walk away from the couch the rest of the time and go and read or write. I shall be more discerning and less zomboid in this matter.

Diets that don’t work

Time to simply adopt a lifestyle change that gets me into some sort of reasonable weight range, allows my knee to have less bulk to deal with, allows wine and cheese but gets me stronger, and prolongs my life. This has to happen NOW – 5:2 anyone?

Being Angry, Frustrated, Feeling Negative –

It’s so easy to be over-whelmed by the negative of life, to wallow in the bad, the evil, the nastiness out there and closer to home. Too much time spent engaging with politics and economics and the cult of the rich and famous does us mere mortals no good at all. So keep away from things that make you frustrated, let the anger go quickly, do not brood on injustices – real or imagined. Accept that it is fine to feel angry, to get upset about things but the key is not to wallow in the negativity of life, not to sulk or brood about life’s many and varied injustices. All you do is hurt yourself, so don’t indulge. Feel the pain, the annoyance, the bile rising within, and then, let it go… You will feel better for it. This is the wisdom about knowing what you can change in your life and what you can’t affect. Negative feelings hurt us, not anyone else, so don’t spend the year hurting yourself unnecessarily.


And a Final Bit of More…

Pink, more elephants, more joy and more love – you can never have too many of these things


Can I manage this? I think so – less of some things will get me places, more of others will help too. But note this is not an eliminations list, not an all-or-nothing ambition for 2018, and to that end it should be achievable. Is that not the reason most resolutions fail – because they ask too much of us, doom us to failure before we start? We need less doom, less failure, more kindness, more attainable goals in our lives, more small things that will lead to big changes.

Think about how well you know yourself and make your plans for 2018 in line with that self-knowledge, then you will be a winner. Make your 2018 a successful year on your terms. Happy New Year, dear friends. (Images from Private Collection)