There are many things in life that bring me joy – long walks, sunny days, mugs of hot tea, a vase of flowers on the kitchen table, writing, clean sheets, Sunday roasts, clear skin, friends, reading, weekends, summer holidays, crisps, laughter and, of course, my man and boy. There are also a lot of things that don’t bring me any joy, but I think as long as I fill my life with more of the things I love then, hopefully, they won’t seem so tedious.

Last year, I didn’t feel I got the balance quite right and losing my grandmother in January made me realise that I need to change this. So, my theme for 2018 is JOY. I have decided to use this theme to guide me through the months ahead and if something does not bring joy to me, or to someone close to me, then I’m not going to bother with it anymore.

Such as:

  • Trying to organise get-togethers with people who are clearly not interested in getting together with us! After several unanswered invites, no-shows, and late cancellations, we will get the message and move on.
  • Trying to post more regularly on social media for blog purposes. Some people are absolutely brilliant on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and the like, but it feels so false whenever I try to do it. If that means no-one ever reads Grenglish again, then so be it.
  • Working for free. No brainer really…
  • Ironing clothes as I wear them when investing just an hour a week at the ironing board gives me the joy of having a wardrobe that is ready to wear.
  • Complaining about socks being discarded in the hallway, plates being stacked next to the dishwasher, and the TV permanently tuned in to sports channels. Instead, I am going to take a deep breath and ask myself whether these things – as irritating as they may be – are a big enough deal to fall out over. If the answer is no then I am going to let it go.

Obviously, there are some tiresome tasks that can’t be avoided like submitting my tax return, which certainly does not bring any joy! However, I think I could save myself a lot of stress and panic by not leaving it until the last minute, which will eventually bring me joy when January rolls around again.

We tend to socialise a lot at home – or in other people’s homes – but this year I want to venture outside of our little bubble. I want us to take the trips we talk about, book tickets to the shows I know Zee will love, make time to see friends who don’t live on our doorstep, try out new local restaurants, and find a reliable babysitter so that the Greek God(zilla) and I can do some of this stuff together.

Most of all, I want to be more present in my own life and not simply coast through it. It’s so easy to switch over to autopilot when the demands of family and work become overwhelming. Days, weeks and even months collapse into each other and I often find myself wondering where the time has gone.  When I look back, the moments I remember most are the happy ones. The stress I feel on the day my tax return is due is long forgotten come 1st February, but the thought of a steaming mug of strong tea on a sunny day can always make me smile.


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