2018: Maybe 'as good as it gets', is good enough.
HAPPY new year, all, and welcome to 2018. We've survived the holiday season (in our house, a traditional Irish Christmas), enjoyed the fireworks displays and suffered at least one rendition of Auld Lang Syne. So far, so good.
But if you're looking for a column listing my new year's resolutions, then click here to see last year's ones.
This year I've made none.
Now before anyone dismisses me as a cynic (I can see you tutting and rolling your eyes. Yes, you! ;) let me explain. Each year I set myself impossible tasks:
I will get thinner,
climb a mountain,
run a marathon,
start baking my own cakes.
I will read far more books than I already do, I will get up at 6am to write. I will declutter my house and stop shouting at my kids for making this impossible.
Each year I set myself up to fail. Ever been in Ireland in January? It's cold, it's grey, the days are short and everyone's broke after the excesses of December. It's not a month to try to lose weight.
And despite my wild notions, I can't see myself climbing a mountain, running a marathon or decluttering my house. Although I have to say, if someone were handing out awards for self-awareness right now, I reckon I'd be in with a chance.
On the plus side, I might read more books (if I'm curled up by the fire with a hot drink and a generous slab of chocolate). But my family and friends know to bring dessert when they come to dinner. And 6am is still night time, thanks very much.
This year, though, I think I've finally figured it out. If I cut out the noise, if I don't sweat the small stuff, if I concentrate on what's really important, won't life be better?
It may not be cleaner, or tidier. If I stop fussing about being able to see the colour of the carpets, nobody else I live with, will notice. But unless the place is actually dirty, does it matter?
It means ignoring the guilt. We Irish are brilliant are guilt. I know people who should have degrees in it. And we set ourselves up for endless grief.
What do you mean you never go to the gym? Don't you want to look after yourself? So what, if you HATE sweating in public! What do you think you'll be doing once you hit menopause? And speaking of menopause, have you any idea how quickly you'll pile on weight if you don't start training now for that marathon?
So here's one resolution I might actually keep: from here on, I refuse to feel a single nano-second of guilt.
Next time I berate myself for not being better than me, I will channel Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in 'As Good As it Gets'. Life isn't perfect: but there's always fresh rolls.
So I'll eat those fresh rolls. I'll treasure my loved ones. I'll wear my good clothes. I'll see my friends often. And I'll write every day. But not at 6am.
I think this year I might win.
A very warm welcome and a wonderful happy new year from Dublin. Please feel free to SHARE today's column via the sharing buttons below.
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Here's hoping 2018 brings you peace, happiness and very good health.