IT'S NEW YEAR'S EVE, 2019 and the radio is on as I get lunch. I can't even remember what I'm listening to, but being new year's eve, there's lots of end-of-year stuff being talked about. Round ups, the best of, the worst of. I'm only half-listening.
And then an item grabs my attention, an interview with two women who make their living advising the rest of us how to declutter our homes and organise our lives. I'm a sucker for this: forever on the lookout for the magic wand solution.
To my renewed astonishment, neither woman has a magic wand solution. One of them declares that she's tempted to take down all the Christmas decorations and get on with THE BIG CLEAN. Given that our own Christmas tree has only been up a few days (we just about made it in time this year - don't judge), it's definitely not coming down until January 6th.
The other woman reveals that she's always decluttering. Every day she clears something out of her house. I'm surprised there's anything left. Just as I'm starting to think that you could drop this pair into any decade during the last 60 years, and they'd probably be doling out the same tips, one of them starts to talk about energy.
Did you know that when you pull out a sofa and vacuum behind it, it changes the energy of a room? Not the dust levels, apparently. The actual energy.
By the time the interview ends, I'm a convert. Energy is clearly my trigger word. I start to throw around the phrase so often, The Middle One begs me to leave her out of my 'latest craze'. This from the girl whose bedroom is such a mess, I tell her I'm astounded she has the energy to get out of bed in the morning. She manages to climb over the mess and give me a quick hug, before closing the door in my face.
As the first few days of 2020 trickle in, I try to ignore the endless print and online articles, the tombs of conflicting advice about diet, exercise and beauty regimes for the twenties. Already, my stress levels are rising. Not the start I'd wanted.
But as the last of the mince pies disappear, and the madness of the festive season finally begins to fade, I meet up with friends. We all have advice overload, and it's time to sort the good from the bad. The pressure is real. It's not just the start of a new year: it's the beginning of a new decade.
One woman is doing dry January. Then she'll see if she can continue it for the rest of the year. Another wants to take up running. A third person is going to start yoga.
One has embraced Veganuary: going vegan for the first month of the year. Suddenly, hoovering behind the furniture doesn't seem like a major achievement.
Another friend arrives late, orders her coffee and sits down. What are we all talking about, she wonders? We fill her in. Well, I know what I'm doing for 2020, she says, I'm looking after my mental health.
We sip our coffees and await further nuggets of wisdom. Finally, somebody prompts her. What sort of stuff will she be doing to look after her mental health? She lathers jam and cream on her scone.
By doing whatever makes her happy, of course. She lifts her cup. Happy new year.
Wishing all my lovely readers a very happy new year from Dublin.
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Happy reading: let's hope 2020 is a very good year for us all.