Anticipating January


January is a rubbish time of year.  A time of coldness, darkness, dankness and dreariness.  It’s the time of year with the most suicides.  The most marriage break-ups.  The time of year with the most left-over Christmas cake, chocolates and whisky in the cupboards.  And the least exciting fresh stuff in the shops.

Not a great time for making wholesome life changes.  Writing the date while coping with the fact that the year has changed by an entire digit, is challenge enough some Januaries. Resolutions should not be a January thing.

But rest assured, they are a ‘thing’.  It’s only the January bit that I object to.  This year, hubby’s off climbing early December, and I’m in charge of the kids for three months:  it’s a natural time of change in our household, so….

If I were to make resolutions, a better time would be NOW.

I considered this at the bouldering wall the other day.  I’d snook in there between errands, without thinking very hard about it being Tuesday morning, and therefore the Official Kiddy climbing session.

Even crossing the entrance hall was a gauntlet of mini-people.  My climbing was interspersed with games of ‘peek-a-boo’ with the knee-highs who were watching me from around various corners.  I couldn’t fall off anything without first checking that I wasn’t about to squash any.  There was background music:  a rousing chorus of ‘see the little bunnies sleeping.’  Not having a toddler attached, it seemed prudent to prevent myself from joining in, but not easy.

I was climbing terribly.  I spent the first quarter of an hour blaming the kids, but it is actually normal for there to be kids – normally my kids – around when I climb.  Anyway, the adult wall opened and I went through there, but my climbing didn’t improve.  I’d been running just once in the previous month and was noticing the extra weight.  By mid-session, my mental image of myself was of a pale, wobbly, curvaceous blob, centre-of-gravity around the ass, with underdeveloped arm muscles that were tense as a fishing-rod that has just caught a whale, trying to get some leverage on it.

And things were bound only to get worse when hubby went North.

Is selfishness always a bad thing?

Because, I thought, I am selfish.  Sure I’m priviledged to get three months a year work-free with the kids.  I am greatly looking forward to most aspects of it.  I love taking the rascals out, doing craft, playing ‘where’s the mouse.’  Watching Toddler learning to read could scarcely be more satisfying were I learning to read myself.

But – I want to develop as much as I want them to.  Those three months with no childcare will involve very little opportunity for exercise.  Decreasing fitness leads to deteriorating body-pride.  There will be diddly-squat social life.  There will be diabetic instability brought about by inability to concentrate on myself at meal-times. All my attempts at constructive thought will get vetoed by demands to concentrate on bloody Ceebeebies.

I have two choices, I suppose.  I can grit my teeth and pklay the role of the selfless family-centric stranger that society perceives of me.  Or I can somehow find a bit of space in my life where……


I had a shower when I got home.  There was a yellow book that I hadn’t seen before balanced on the side of the bath, next to the toilet.  A sure sign that hubby had been reading it.  I dreid my hands and went to investigate.  It was a book about running.

I opened the front cover.  It said: Gareth.

WowHe’s got Gareth’s training bible!    I plonked myself down on the bathroom floor in my towel.  I began to read.

It was very Gareth.  All about improving your running speed.

They say ‘I don’t need to work on my speed.  I’m a long distance runner.’  Well I think that’s a cop-out.

I snorted.  Cop-out indeed.  But I kept reading, and turned the page…..

Anyway, the upshot is, that I have made mid-November resolutions.  Want to hear them?  Good!

I’m going to put Tiddler into nursery a few hours every week.  Tiddler will love it at least as much as Mummy-time. Tiddler is not what has stopped me from doing it before.  Rather, it is the colossal extravagance: it will cost quite a lot of extra money and make none.  I’m going to have to get used to that: looking after your and your children’s physical and mental health isn’t always going to be free.

To maximise the expense, I will be running whatever the weather.  I am actually going to be the sort of punter who tries.  I am going to train!   If I do this, by March I will never have been so fit.   But hush!  Don’t tell Gareth – I want it to be a surprise, when I challenge him to some kind of race.

Oh and I’m going to use that wordless mental time to write a story.  Not a book – that’s the stuff of self-inflated ambition – but a story.  To see if I’m any good at it.  Give it to some people to read, see if I can keep their attention, that kind of thing.  Writing needs word-free mental space.  Running will give me that space.

I will have to stop writing blog-posts.  Now.  I love writing blog-posts.  They are distracting.  I tinker with them for hours and – just when I ought to be giving the kids attention, or just when I think about writing a story – I have a new idea for a blog-post instead.

It’s easier, you see.  The feedback is lovely.  To the fifty or so people (not the same every time, I take it) who read my blog-posts: I want to thank you for your support.  I am going to miss burdening you.

Oh yes, and the most important thing about resolutions: I rarely keep them.  So no doubt I’ll nip back occasionally, to let you all know how it went…..


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