The spate of birthdays that began early on in July of close family and friends continues well into August. Facebook messages, hugs, long chats, smiley faces, kisses and other colourful emoticons have wound their way to many an inbox and phone. All most sincerely meant, I hasten to add. The fact that mine features in there somewhere is possibly why I have chosen to write about it this week.
The two most ominous words in the English language must surely be “taking stock” – and after the new year, the birthday is the other time that it feels obligatory to subject oneself to this exercise. And by some twist of fate, as it falls midway through the calendar, the process becomes almost compulsory.
Human nature (or female nature) is such that it’s all too ready to dismiss achievements, deflect praise and in the interests of modesty, remain self-effacing. So, to be brave about it – I can say that this year’s biggest achievement has been one relating to improved health. This includes weight-loss (with the simple and amazing 5:2 plan of eating less for two days in the week), an improved diet that now includes oats, spelt and brown rice and the best of them all – removing sugar entirely. No more ice-cream, chocolate, cakes or pastries. Halo being shined some more as I write!! I’m still coming to terms with what this means in terms of renewed energy and improved mental health. A launch pad, I have to assume for better things in the coming years.
Of course, the other thing to do is to have a wish-list. Mine has some very obvious ones – a publishing deal at the top and a long trip to the many places in the world I’m yet to see. But first as a present to myself, a de-cluttered study would be a good place to start in order to bring these plans to fruition.