Oh, Dear. A New Year.

Well, here we are in a new year. Hello, new year. What do you have in store? This is a question I now ask with more trepidation than in former times. 2020, pandemic. 2021, Paul had cancer. 2022, well, it's not my story but someone I love dearly has been unwell for several years, and this last year finally got a partial diagnosis and many trial medications, most of which have had dire side effects. It has been brutal for them, and by extension, me because of my involvement in their life. I went to therapy for the first time ever. I never ask for help! That is one of the reasons I had to go to therapy, to realise it is okay to ask for help. The reason it took so long for me to go to therapy is that I didn't think I deserved to go to therapy, because there are so many other people out there who need help more than me. Hahahahaha... ugh. 

Honestly, I do not have high hopes for 2023. Health problems of my beloved family member are ongoing. There are numbers of scary problems on the horizon, all of which require me to interact with government departments and deal with bureaucracy and call people on the actual telephone. I might die. 

Okay, I probably won't die.

I decided to come up with a plan for some happiness for 2023. I am going to go out into the garden every day and make it beautiful. Every day I will go to work, I will take care of my beloved family member and do all the scary bureaucratic chores that come with the caretaking, and then I will disappear into the garden and into my world of flowers and bees, and everything else in life will be absolutely optional. I have decided I am too old and tired to care about doing the right thing, being sociable, keeping up with any Joneses that might be lurking about or feeling that I have to look nice or be nice, or eat properly or be productive in any traditional sense, or do any of the 'shoulds' that get shouted at us via the media. I am done.

There is a lot of freedom in announcing this. And glee.

One of the first things I decided was optional was Christmas. I have cancelled Christmas before, and this year I did it again, because sometimes you have to try a thing a few times to see whether you really like it. This year was hard core. Zero Christmas decorations. No Christmas carols. No Christmas baking, or even cooking. There were some presents, in a very low-key way. And there was food! But I didn't make it, which is the best kind of food, in my opinion. On Christmas Eve Rosy dropped by with a lot of leftovers from the cafe she works at, then she came back on Christmas Day and we ate cafe leftovers when we felt hungry, and Red played with the cat while Rosy and I took turns lying in the hammock reading library books. I maxed out my library card the week before, because I Am Prepared. Well, mostly only prepared in situations that require quality reading matter, but at least I'm prepared for something. So Red and Rosy and I had a very calm Christmas Day and on Boxing Day we got together with my parents and we ate sandwiches and cake. So that was nice. On New Year's Eve Rosy and I climbed onto the roof to watch the early fireworks at half past nine. That was also fun. Then I was woken from a deep sleep by the midnight fireworks, Rosy having been long gone into town. I am the person who sleeps through New Year's Eve celebrations now. 

So, a report on today's gardening. I planted three beautiful native grasses in the front garden earlier this year. It is going to be the dry garden that doesn't need watering, and poa grasses are super tough. But I didn't factor in their final size, which is a mistake I make all the time. They are so beautiful, like a small prairie, and I love them with their silvery feather heads, but it is difficult to walk down the front stairs, and down the path to the front door, so today I pruned them. They look sad and diminished, but I now have a front path. Shall I take them out altogether? I may have to, because it's going to keep on happening, year by year. Sad face. However, this does mean that I will get to plant new things, so not a complete loss. I also did a lot of weeding in the garden, and pruning the bushes I like to keep round. Except I am not great at doing round. They often come out wonky, or square. However, I have fun trying. 


I am loving the kangaroo paws that I planted recently, against this native pelargonium. Very festive, the only Christmas decorations here at Chez Blueday.

There we are: Gardening, Day 1 for 2023. This does not mean, of course, that I am going to post every day about the garden. Hahaha. No. No promises. I won't garden every day either, if I don't feel like it. This is not the New Year's resolution. The New Year's resolution is doing the things I need to do, and then doing the things that make my heart happy, and ignoring everything else. Because in the end, nothing else really matters.

Tell me about your plans for this year. What will make your heart sing in 2023?


Anonymous said…
How I understand you, my dear friend: From the concerns about a loved one health to the "Call people on the actual phone. I might die." Gardening was/is my therapy, my aim was/is to look at different areas of the property and smile.
My standard wish for people for 2023 is Laughter. I need it, and I assume everybody else does too. As for Christmas, I do the opposite of you. Christmas threw up inside my house. Lots of red, lights, candles. It's the one month I do not conserve energy. I turn on the lights on the Christmas tree at 4:00 am, and it's the last thing I turn off at night. It's all about the happiness it brings me.
Do what brings you happiness, it's important.
In the mean time, I send you my love, and my wish for you and yours is that you experience laughter as you navigate this new year.
Jo said…
Patricia, laughter is working for me already, as I just read your comment - 'Christmas threw up inside my house.' I love that sentiment. I am an appreciator of Christmas, just didn't want to do it this year. Maybe one day it will become a joy again. Wishing you much laughter this year as well, dear friend xx
Beznarf27 said…
I haven't commented on your blog for ages now but I read every post Jo. 2022 was hard work in so many ways. It was a chance to really learn a lot about ourselves. In the process we found out that we aren't alone and that we are all round better when we share and we are open and honest about what we need. It would have been very hard for you to have therupy. I know how the stoic British ethos is to tackle, let alone resist. Liberating yourself from that structure would have been cathartic. I am really sorry to hear that you have been having to cope with a serious health journey by someone close to you. That is never easy and the feeling of helplessness in the face of it all is frankly terrifying to someone who likes to be in control of their emotions. Another stoic British need for self preservation that comes with a high cost. I hope that you can find simple joy in the small things this year. You give us all simple joy in your posts. I am thinking about starting up my blog again. Nothing to do with new years resolutions and everything to do with finding a way to reach out without actually touching my fellow human beings. We are all tender from the last few years and finding new ways to engage might mean opening old channels of communication. Again, thank you so much for being willing to share with us all. You are a seriously lovely human being. Thank you :)
Jo said…
Fran, it is so good to see you here again! Yes please, start your blog up again. I would love to see your garden adventures and read your musings xx
Yes, the old British stiff upper lip has survived down the generations in my family under the blue skies of Australia. And here we are, in middle age, trying to sift through all that we have inherited, doing some decluttering of the emotional baggage...

Anna, it can be so hard to diverge from Life's Little Rule Book, and stop being a people pleaser.. but here we go..
sustainablemum said…
I am so glad to read that you are doing things for yourself. I think it is so hard to prioritise ourselves but so very important. We cannot be there for others if we don't look after ourselves first. I am by your side as you venture doing that as that is something that I want to do more of this year too. I know it is not going to be easy. The menopause can throw many curved balls at us, I can recommend a podcast, if you are in to such things called Soulful Menopause, I have been listening to it for a while, she doesn't release episodes that often but they are always good when she does. I can also recommend a book called Wise Power, a book that is like a warm hug for all things menopause. Take care of you x
Deborah said…
Happy New year!

I love your kangaroo paws, too. We dug ours out of the verge and planted hibertia (snake plant) which will suppress the weeds, so many weeds. Gave the kangaroo paws to the neighbour and they are blooming on her verge.

I have been reading randomly from the Christmas gift pile. We give each other books within the family and fantasize about quiet corners and uninterrupted reading. Too many people staying but the time will come.

Sorry you are facing worrying health within your family and dealing with bureaucracy, which almost brings me out in a rash. No use anyone else in the family emailing, texting or ringing, either, as we get sent down different rabbit holes!

Very best wishes for long periods of calmness and satisfaction throughout the year!

Jo said…
sustainablemum, I have invited the menopause fairy pop over, but noooo, my body prefers to try to bleed to death instead.. something else to be grumpy about. fingers crossed for soulful menopause though, so thanks for the recommendation:)

Deborah, here's many very best wishes for a quiet corner to get to your reading:) I have never grown kangaroo paws before, but paul has become enamoured of them over the last year, and they are so beautiful with their green starry flowers, so I am giving them a go.
Jo said…
Don't mind me, I'm just faffing about with my blog settings and needed to write a comment to myself:)
Mary said…
Hope this year turns out better for you than you are anticipating. I did therapy a few years ago, approaching it with anxiety and trepidation and feeling like I would just be wasting the psychologist's time. She was wonderful, the whole experience turned out to be such a relief I wish I'd done it much sooner. Hope that's the case for you.
Gardening is also an amazing therapeutic avocation, time well spent.
Christmas has emotional baggage for everyone it seems. If it came in the summer here in the Northern Hemisphere I think it would be less of an event, more like our US 4th of July: fireworks, picnics, etc. But coming in a cluster of fall and winter holidays it becomes something else. I love the proliferation of lights as the nights grow longer, music(secular, silly and sacred), cooler weather which makes it a pleasure to bake a lot again, seeing folks not seen since last winter. I don't do many gifts or shopping.
Jo said…
Mary, I am so glad you enjoy your Christmas experience. I don't hate Christmas, but like you say, there has been a lot of emotional baggage along with it, much of my own making, I might add. I am hoping to forge a more balanced and healthy approach to many things, including Christmas, as time goes on. Meanwhile, i am enjoying my garden therapy.
Hoping your winter is merry and bright xx
simplelife said…
just found these 2023 posts, yay.
sounds like your 2022 threw up some tough stuff, all I want from 2023 is not a shit year and no nasty surprises, and as I was the recipient of so much random kindness last year I'm committing to being kinder this year.
cheers Kate
Jo said…
"No nasty surprises" - count me in xxxx

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