Taking Stock


As I start to think about what my resolutions for 2014 will be, I realised I needed to start by checking how I managed my resolutions for 2013. These are the resolutions:

  1. lose at least a stone in weight
  2. complete all assignments at least two days before deadline
  3. read at least 50 books
  4. be tough
  5. keep it simple

Numbers 1 to 3 are easy to measure and therefore I know for a fact that I didn’t manage any of them. Regarding my weight, I went in the wrong direction. This is as assumption because I am not remotely ready to step on scales.

Number 2 was not technically achieved but I am actually fine with that because even my main Masters assignment was handed in 24 hours before deadline which is pretty amazing given how I usually work.

With my reading challenge, I came close. With only a few days to go, I thought I had 9 books to read to make it only to realise after powering (and enjoying, by the way) two more books, I had actually miscalculated. In the end, I managed a respectable 41 books in 12 months – my best count since I started keeping track in 2007.

Now for the last two. I think it is fair to say that I managed both for some of the time but there have certainly been times when I felt anything but tough and I kept it anything but simple. It’s a work in progress. And I am making progress (although that word makes me shudder now that I am a teacher and I have to prove progress is being made AT ALL TIMES WITH NO EXCEPTIONS!).

I think for 2014 I will give myself a bit of a break. Instead of resolutions, I will have intentions. To resolve is so concrete. And it feels so much worse when you fail. To intend shows the right attitude without the self-applied pressure.

Simple Life

A Space of My Own

I realise that a lot of my quirkiness is just another excuse to procrastinate but I find it extremely difficult to focus on studying without an orderly place to do it. When I was given a day to myself last week I used part of it tidying up our spare room. I forgot to take a proper ‘before’ photo of the whole room and desk – the photo above was taken mid-sort. The piles of books are ones that I am selling/donating. The bag of clothes in the bottom corner are the ones my daughter has outgrown (just the most recent couple of sizes). These are all now folded and zipped into the bag, ready to be put in the loft.

I emptied the ugly plastic six-drawer unit and managed to fit everything in the boxes next to my desk, the baskets underneath the desk and the boxes in the wardrobe behind my desk. I had been saving up a ton of glass jars for some future project but I decided to get rid of these as they were taking up precious space. I gave some to my husband for screws etc. in the garage and the rest were recycled.

The space between the desk and the wall was a dumping ground so I moved some of it into the wardrobe (so that similar types of fabric / supplies were together) and just tidied it up.

I alphabetised all my books so I can quickly find what I am looking for and easily which books I already have. To make space, I got rid of a load of books which I never going to re-read, donating them to charity or adding them to our boot sale pile (most likely, a combination of both).

This was meant to be my tidy ‘after’ picture but the slanty books on the top shelf and the magazine file sticking out on the bottom shelf make me itchy. I might need help.

I used to call this my craft corner but since I now need somewhere to study too, it has become a multi-functional space. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want it to still look a bit pretty so I made sure my craft things were still on display should the urge arise, as well as those other decorative touches that keep me feeling calm and happy.

I’ll feel even calmer when I turn that block the right way up…

Simple Life

The Possibilities of Mondays

For the past 20 months or so, Mondays don’t instill dread the same way they do more most 9-to-5ers. Instead of that Sunday Night Feeling, I get a frisson of hope for the week ahead. It’s a new leaf. A new start. A chance to do things right this week. Never one to start in the middle, I am no good at making changes mid-week, so Mondays are when I try new things. Mondays are when I think of all the things I want to accomplish and since it’s the beginning of the week, it all seems so achievable and I have not failed at getting things done (yet!).

In a few weeks, I am sure this will all change. I will be working / studying full-time and I won’t have the luxury of naptime-quiet hours to blog, read, tidy, watch TV etc. etc. I will have a lot less time and a lot more to do. It’s a daunting thought. Don’t get me wrong, I am really excited about starting my course; but I am also aware of how my life is about to be turned upside down.

It has never been more important for me to live intentionally, using my precious time in the best way possible. I want our house to be uncluttered and easy to keep. I want to cut out all the mental clutter of pointless worries. I want to live a simple, happy life in spite of the excessive workload and stressful new career. I was thinking last night about this blog and about my post categories, wondering if the simple category was something I could write about once I start my course. I almost thought of it as an indulgence that I have been lucky enough to tackle with having so much time at home.

This morning, as I wrote out my day’s tasks, I realised it is more important that ever that I keep my eye on the simple goals I have set. I need to refocus on what is really important so that I have the best chance of being successful (and sane) come September onwards.