I don’t let go very well, we know that by now. Probably in general, but in particular when it comes to motherhood. I am acutely aware that the days I have with my children under the same roof are numbered. Una is turning 9 this year, half way one might say. More than welcoming and celebrating the changes and milestones, I hold on to what went too fast, painfully fast, as though I can stretch the time, live it and feel it a little bit longer. And for a long time I have been subconsciously beating myself up for it, and fighting it, saying things that make it sound like I am embracing what is coming and letting go of what has been. Fake it till you make it sort of thing.
Somewhere over the holidays, while reflecting on the year that past with the full heart and full belly, it dawned on me that somewhere along the line I must have realised how ridiculous this fight against my very core has been. I do not want to let go, and how should I? They are my babies, my heart. Every moment that has passed is one moment less I have to love them. This is a simple life truth, that no self-improvement book, no New Age fad can ever change*. And somewhere along the line I seem to have let myself feel that, be at peace with that, what a relief.
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Ran a half marathon!
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t think I made any last year? For 2016, not really a resolution but I want a little more patience and a bit less internet time.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. I was talking to a friend a couple of months ago how no one around us is having babies any more.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully no one really close to me.
5. What countries did you visit?
New: Canada. It made a nice dent on my travel scratch map. Loved it, from the moment I got of the plane, joined a really loooong passport control queue, an officer came and took a family with two very small very cranky children to the front of the queue and than another officer came and took all the foreign passport holders to the front of the queue. So that is the Canadian hospitality people talk about. I was there for a conference and only visited Montreal but it had such a nice vibe, friendly locals and great autumn weather. I also got to hang out there with Maja and her family there one evening and when Milos and the kids went back home the two of us had a nice dinner together, lots of talking, laughter and tears.
Other: Italy (Laggo Maggiore), England, Germany, the Balkans (Croatia/Bosnia/Serbia), France. We spent the summer holiday Croatian island hopping, filled our vitamine D reserves, swam and dove in Vis, crashed for a few days with Jasmina, Zoki and the kids in their holiday house in Zlarin. For Christmas we went to Paris with Louise and Kevin. It was really neat sharing the best of it with the kids. We went to Euro Disney, was fun enough for the kids, but really disappointing with super.long.waiting.times.for.everything, from coffee to bathrooms and let’s not talk about the rides. But we went there in good spirits and I (or was it Louise :)) may have thrown in something in the line of “this is costing a freaking fortune, so fun will be had or else…” so it all worked out in the end. Una had a hard time seeing all the homeless people on the streets of Paris and had questions like “going to Disneyland was so expensive, why didn’t we give that money to these people who have no home?”. Indeed, why don’t we?
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Patience, more of it, please. Let’s make that the resolution for 2015?
7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Have you not seen #1? I ran a half-marathon!
I followed and completed the training for a mindfulness instructor.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Hmmmm, I can’t think of anything I would really classify as a failure… I’ve worked a lot on the whole mildness thing, perhaps it’s working?
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
New running watch?
14. Where did most of your money go?
Mostly the normal stuff, bills, mortgage, holidays.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Doing the mindfulness instructor training.
16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
“Take me to church”, Hozier. Nestor says “mama, this is OUR song”.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
b. the same?
c. the same?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Keeping in touch more often with a few dear friends.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
#1 25.12 – Louise and Kevin came over from sunny SA hoping to see some snow.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
I did. With my family and my imperfect life.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
We caved in and got the Netflix subscription. What a mistake to make.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?N
24. What was the best book you read?
I have read quite a few books on the topic of mindfulness, loved Rob Brandsma’s essays.
And have I mentioned that I read “Ontdekking van Hemel” by Harry Mulisch? In Dutch. Schouderklopje for me.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
26. What did you want and get?
Some clarity about the whole “where we are going to live next year thing”. Well, we still don’t know where we are going to live, but we made some decisions and took some actions and it feels good, whichever way things turn out.
27. What did you want and not get?
Teleportation superpowers. Flying is so expensive.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 38. Low key – cake, friends, the best kind.
29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I probably wore dresses more this year than in my whole life. And I discovered that I love stripes (to Louise’s horror :)).
30. What kept you sane?
Running, mindfulness, more sleep than in the years before.
31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Rob Brandsma – “the” mindfulness person in NL. Loved his books, his tweets and got to do the training with him.
32. What political issue stirred you the most?
The refugees issue. It made me question my conviction that I live in a country based on tolerance, equality and compassion. But I also met some incredibly caring, generous and energetic people who put so much of their time and energy in helping others. So it all balances out, thank goodness (as long as you stay away from comments in online news portals).
33. Who did you miss?
My dad. The past three years have soften the sharp edges of the pain but I miss him so very much.
34. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a really nice woman at the training, she lives in the same town and we will try to get a group together and practice what we learned. I met a couple of cool parents on the school ground (I really do not enjoy small talk while waiting for the kids and it is great having a couple of people you actually do like talking to), had a really nice group of students I gave lectures to last semester….
I discovered a couple of new blogs I love, does that count too?
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Let it be.
36. Give a quote that sums up your year.
“No matter how long your journey appears to be, there is never more than this: one step, one breath, one moment – now.” Eckhart Tolle
*Until Una gets that time machine actually going, that is.