I like New Year's Resolutions. Not that I'm very good at sticking to them, mind you. Every year I set myself three resolutions, simply because I find it's a prompt to take a little look at my life and think about three changes I'd like to make that might just make me (and perhaps the world) a little bit better. So without further ado, here are my three for this year:
(If you're here just for the E&W photos, and not for my waffle, rest assured there are a few choice piccies dotted throughout this post.)
Resolution #1 - Spend more time offline
With my head hung in shame, I have to confess that there have been times when E&W have been merrily playing on the living room rug, and I've been off to one side flicking through new tweets and checking to see if anything exciting is happening in the Facebook world. And then there are the times when I could have been talking to Kate, or to friends and family, and instead I've been lost in an online world. That's just bad of me, plain and simple.
When we were down in Cornwall at Christmas I made a conscious decision not to ask for the wi-fi password. I knew that without it there'd be no way I could fire up Facebook or Twitter. It was incredibly liberating. I played with E&W; talked with Kate and Grandpa John and Granny Viv; helped out around the house a bit (cough); sat quietly with a cuppa and a biscuit and a good book; did some writing; did some thinking (not too much, it was supposed to be a holiday); just spent some time being. It was lovely.
Most of all, I surprised myself by not missing all the distractions and delights the internet brings to our fingertips one little bit.
So I've decided to limit my online time. To start with, I'm going to try and avoid accessing the internet - unless it's for something like checking the weather forecast (knowing if it's safe to put the washing out is very important to us SAHDs) - while E&W are up and about, and when in company. No email. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. And I will try to avoid it completely on Sundays, too (what's known - apparently - as 'taking a Tech Sabbath'.)
#2 - Be a better friend
I've never been a particularly sociable person. In the time before E&W (aka BEW), Kate would often go out with her friends and I'd very happily stay at home with a DVD or a book, happy in and perfectly content with my own company.
But I do have a fantastic bunch of friends, as does Kate. I've highlighted some of the lovely things they've done in recent posts, which should give you an idea of how lucky we are with our extended family - to me, they're all Honorary Uncles and Aunts for E&W.
Since becoming an SAHD, I've realised how important friends are. There have often been days when I've not had any sort of adult communication - either real-word or virtual - between Kate leaving in the morning and her coming home in the evening, nigh on ten hours. That's probably not healthy. So I've recently been making more of an effort to get in touch with friends - a text message here, an email there (I'm not really the 'phone someone out of the blue just for a chat' type.) Hardly groundbreaking, but a step towards maintaining friendships and simply letting people know you care about them. I'm going to make sure I do more of this in the coming year.
#3 - Say Hello to a stranger every day
E&W and I - and Kate when she can - go out for a walk at around the same time every day, usually early or mid-afternoon (nap dependent). We tend to run into a lot of the same people each day - other parents, dog walkers, joggers, people out in their gardens. Over the months, we've got on "Hello" terms with a lot of them. It certainly brightens up a walk, seeing a familiar, friendly face and sharing a smile.
E&W are great icebreakers. It's not unusual for strangers to smile at them, and in turn me (and Kate), and often we experience all out, unreserved billing-and-cooing. And that's not just from the nice little old ladies - from big tattooed shaven-headed builders to raucous schoolchildren to smartly dressed distinguished business types, all sorts have cracked big smiles and made a fuss of them. Barriers come down, and the next time you see that person you nod and smile and say Hello. I know that puts a bit of a spring in my step, and I hope it does for the other person too.
So, I'm going to try and expand that network of Helloers, spread the friendliness, and say Hello to at least one new person each time we go out for a walk.
There we are then, my three resolutions for 2016. What do you think? Have you set any similar ones - we could be Resolution Buddies! Any ideas on how I can better achieve them? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!