I got a couple of glossies in my Christmas stocking one of which was Psychologies. As a freebie for the festive season, a little pink journal came with the mag. I'm supposed to use it for goal setting: writing down my weekly/monthly targets and achievements. Though I appreciate the thought, needless to say it's already gathering dust on my bedside table.
I'm not a great one for resolutions, plans or lists. My mother makes daily lists and holds regular 'planning' sessions, which usually involve me having to commit to things I don't want to do or making arrangements way before I'm ready to even think about them. Maybe as a result, I tend to rebel against this level of organisation, preferring to 'live on the fly', make impulsive decisions and strive as hard as I can, not to be too organised.
However, the mid-life meltdown two years ago did see me turning to self-coaching techniques and I went through a phase of target-setting and list writing, during which I acheived some personal results.
Going through a basket of papers the other day, I found a list I had written last January whilst in the first flush of this super-efficient pro-active me. In it I had written down all of things we hoped to achieve that year; things we needed to do to the house, decisions we needed to make as a family, places we wanted to go and actions we needed to take. One year on, I realise, we have hardly got anywhere: the radiators haven't been repainted - though the eggshell paint has been bought, we still haven't put the futon and random stuff on eBay to sell, our doorbell still doesn't work, our porch is still separated from next-door's by a horrid bit of plastic and, more importantly, our house is still bursting at the seams, crammed with stuff we had in Abu Dhabi which we keep tucked away in the belief or vain hope that one day we will finally move to a larger property - or at least make our own large enough to accommodate everything.
This last issue - whether to move or improve - has had us in an impasse for about three years now. Every January I resolve to decide one way or another whether we put all our efforts into moving or whether we pour some money into the house to make it a nicer and roomier place to live. We can never decide and another year goes by without us doing anything at all. But this year I really do want to decide.
The main problem is that my son's room is TINY - and I mean TINY. There's just room for a bed and that's it. He's 10 now and I can't imagine him even fitting in lengthways at 15. Also, we live on a main road and the traffic disturbs my husband who is used to living in the country. On the upside we have a fantastic garden. But come the winter and we're confined indoors we all begin to feel cramped and claustrophobic.
Houses round here are expensive and the choice is pathetic. We have scanned the papers and internet regularly but have never found one we like which we could afford which isn't in a flight path, by a motorway, miles away from schools and work and which has a garden bigger than a dishcloth.
At the end of last year, we had more or less decided to stay put until I finished my PhD, after which, we hope we would have more money. In the meantime we could do up the house and the kid's rooms. But the other day, I realised that by the time I finish, Chloe will be 15 and we'd only have a few more years with her at home before she leaves us. So now we're swinging the other way again. My latest scheme is to find an affordable house, similar but slightly larger than our own, with a decent garden which will not cost much more than ours.
But who knows how long that will last. I feel something major will have to happen to make us take a decision - like winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune, having the road diverted from the front, seeing the perfect house in the perfect location at the perfect price or having a decent architect just happen to drop by, appraise our house and draw up wonderful plans. Otherwise, another year is going to go by and we'll have done nothing.