As we come to the end of the year I’m in a reflective mood so I thought I’d share an article about a new year life audit that I read at the hairdresser’s. Unfortunately because I took a photo of the pages I can’t tell you which magazine it was but it was by Libby Purves and she was talking about a new year walk that she takes with her husband (she said that it was important to do it without your children to give yourselves space to think). It struck me that you don’t necessarily need to be part of a couple to hold this kind of audit, you could do most of it when walking on your own. Either way, it’s definitely a good time as the tired old year turns into a sparkling new one. I hope you find it helpful, I’m planning to try it with Mr MC as we walk along the canal to a pub in the next village for a glass of wine on New Year’s Day. This is how it goes…
- Start with the basics – are we happy with the house and where we live? How is the mortgage doing? Is there anything that would make home life better – a home office or a shed and if so, who would use it most?
- Are we managing the garden OK?
- Would a new washing machine be a better use of money than that posh fridge with the ice-maker?
- How about work? Is it fair, the way we operate – both on us and on the children?
- Is the commuting OK – is it worth it in order to live somewhere nice like this and, if not, how much longer do you think you can bear it?
- Are we as happy with our childcare arrangements as we ought to be, or does one of us have a nagging suspicion about some of it?
- How’s money generally? What do we hope for in the next twelve months? And what did we do right and wrong financially in the past year?
- Move on from basic questions to personal ones. Are you OK, or are you bored with what you do? Are we sharing out the house jobs fairly?
- The kids – take them one by one, reflecting on difficult phases, school problems, health worries…not the little daily things but whether they seem happy and active or whether one of you has been noticing something and worrying about it privately without a chance to raise the matter with the other.
- What about school, university or nursery – honestly, is it working?
- Do the children see enough of their grandparents or too much of one lot and not enough of the other?
- On that subject, are in-laws driving either of you mad, are they well, do they need more or less of your attention?
- Maybe one of you is feeling a bit sad at living far away from siblings or parents with few trips or visits.
- What about getting a dog/cat/rabbit – shall we calmly discuss the pros and cons?
You may imagine the walk descending into mayhem and someone being shoved into the nettles (or indeed the canal). But because it is a walk – and both of you are a little bit short of breath – the replies to hard questions tend to come more slowly than usual, giving time for thought. And because you’re walking side by side, there’s none of that confrontational attitude you get in a weary face-off across the kitchen table with an imprudent bottle of wine.
I really liked the practicality of Libby Purves’s talk. I don’t know about you but too often Mr MC and I focus on hopes and dreams rather than the hard facts of everyday life. I’m hoping this will set our heads straight for what we’re both intending will be the year when we finally work out a firm direction for the second half of our lives. Of course first of all we will need a spell of decent weather to walk in – the floods around us seem to be drawing ever closer, our village is almost an island and every road we try to travel seems to be blocked at some point – which strikes me as a living metaphor, maybe the weather’s trying to illustrate something to us!
Finishing with some outfits from the last couple of days…
For a family dinner with my sister, the younger of my two brothers and their broods
French Connection velvet jacket; Mango blouse, M&S coated jeans; Boden shoes
For a breezy walk with the youngest today…
Great Plains gilet*; Boden Alexa jumper; Uniqlo jeans; Clarks boots*
…look, we’re even squinting in the sunshine, it was such lovely weather until we got home to another power cut before the latest storm had even arrived. As I type Storm Frank is making his presence known. The wind is howling outside and I really hope we don’t have more flooding because we have theatre tickets for The Sound of Music in Manchester tomorrow.
I hope you manage a new year walk, let me know if it works. Before the last set of festivities begin, I’m going to dedicate the daytime of 31st to replying to your comments so I start the new year with a clear conscience! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long, I do appreciate each and every one. Back soon.
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Disclosure: * = previously gifted items