Every year I brace myself for the tsunami of ‘New Year, New You’ memes, blogs and reels which chase my algorithms on social media from the moment Big Ben embraces the arrival of January 1st. I am quite partial to a little reset – I am not even adverse to a little nudge in a better direction – but if this torrent of helpful life hacks is anything to go by, in 2023 my personal data must be flagging that I am a bigger work in progress than I have acknowledged.
I am a little affronted, because my new fitness goals had already been addressed before the old year was out i.e. I attended double boot camp during that awkward Twixmas period (it was cold, muddy and wet so this must make me super human, right?) and I have reliable witnesses who will attest that some running did indeed take place during the festive season.
Do not get me wrong, I would have preferred to stay in London with my lovely adult children – lying on their sofas, inhaling melted cheese and chocolate orange – but selfishly, after five days they gave my inner sloth a frank talking to – this wrist slap still jars so I can not remember the fine detail, but it was something along the lines of, ‘ Mum, it has been fun, you have been fun, but it is now over; you have single-handedly eaten all the Camembert and your arteries will now be a mass of congealed cheese unless you get back to the real world and atone for your gluttony. Goodbye’.
I know deep down that they only wanted me to leave London because they were exhausted and needed a rest. This was my first Christmas of being hosted by my offspring and, incidentally, I think this is the way forward for a woman of my age. They may not agree. Over five days, we packed in a musical, a curry house, two pubs, two long walks (not linked to the pubs but thank you for asking anyway), a football match (yes me, seriously) and a shopping trip. Favourite Son and Favourite Daughter even went vegetarian to join me for our Christmas Meal and wrestled valiantly in the kitchen with a pastry masterpiece, shouting, ‘stay on that sofa mum, we have got this; we do not need your help!’
I was allowed to contribute alcohol to our festive gathering and I blame an experiment with a whisky chaser for my emotional and tearful outburst on Christmas Eve, ‘I flipping love you two, you are so lush, I do not know why I am crying, I am not ungrateful, I am just so happy and so proud and you are both so grown up’. I also blame the aforementioned beverage for my poor performance in every card game that we played during my seasonal sojourn in the metropolis (‘you keep changing the rules, you horrible card sharks; you are breaking my heart’) and for my lack of dexterity when undertaking some ridiculous challenges involving paper cups, ping pong balls and chopsticks. (In my defence, how can you blow five ping pong balls out of five paper cups when your children are making you laugh? I have a face designed for merriment not competition, people).
My favourite kids did indulge me in the New Year’s resolution game we used to play when they were younger and I was in charge: everyone writes down 10 resolutions on 10 scraps of paper and then puts them in a hat (there was no sorting hat, we just mixed them up in a conveniently placed Quality Street tin #justsaying in case you want to play along at home); you then draw out 10 very random resolutions.
I think I did quite well out of this draw – you can decide for yourself if you believe any of these were my original intentions:
- Buy a house
- Run a 10K
- Book a summer holiday
- Eat fewer Pringles
- Shave my legs at least once a week
- Go and see ‘A Man Called Otto’
- Get a tattoo
- Plan a weekend trip to the beach for a swim
- Go to a music festival abroad
- Cook a new recipe every fortnight
Being so ahead of the New Year curve, you may now understand why I have been been offended at the audacity of any algorithmic suggestion that I may be lounging about in my PJ’s instead of grasping 2023 by the throat. In truth, I cannot lounge at the moment, because of extreme DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness to those who are uninitiated in boot camp acronym) for bootcamp + kettle bells = inability to sit down or raise arms above head.
DOMS is in turn quite problematic because in my authentic set of 2023 goals I have set myself the task of being kinder to myself and having my own back more. I have told myself that I am going to be confidently patient and that everything will fall into place exactly as it should, exactly when it should. (I am already noting that this manifestation will need abbreviating if I am ever to afford a tattoo to go with it – see above). Being in physical pain on January 1st is going to make it a greater challenge to, ‘prioritise ease, and to remove what doesn’t feel aligned’. I can see that 2023 is already shaping up to being a pesky critter and that I am going to need to keep my wits about me.
I refuse to be beaten. Goals is goals. January 1st sees me lying on my yoga mat at the MyKindofYoga charity NYD yoga class. Ten minutes into the class and I can feel my DOMS easing; 40 minutes into the class and I am lying supine on my mat: I am inhaling peace and exhaling worry. It is safe for me to rest. I am vaguely aware that I may be snoring but I forgive myself with unconditional love. I am already smashing 2023, but even if I am not, I can reset again tomorrow.
If all else fails, I can always shave my legs or get to the cinema.