I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of posting on 1 January 2018. Life and a bout of flu intervened – hence the ‘except I’m not!’ tagged on this morning.
So here we are in 2018. Another year seems to have flashed past (a symptom of aging perhaps? or of busyness? or maybe just of life). Another moment to think about what to keep, what to change, how to be.
I don’t usually do much in the way of New Year resolutions, but I do like that sense of a ‘new’ start, and reflecting on how things have been and how they could be (whether different or the same).
I’ve decided to adopt a guiding principle for 2018. This isn’t something I’ve ever explicitly done before, though there are many guiding principles I try to follow. But this one feels particularly apt to and for me, at this point in my life and at this point in our (communal) lives.
Do what you can with what you have.
I’ve come across it often this year on a blog whose author I can’t recall at the moment – I will credit here as soon as I can. It carries within it so much, don’t you think?
In essence I think it’s about making the best, the most, of what actually is. Of what I (we) actually already have. Of avoiding consuming more whenever possible. But it’s also about recognising where we are and seeing what we can make of it, where it can take us, not just in terms of material goods, but also making the most and best of our intangible wealth – our health, our ideas, our love, our knowledge, our relationships.
And I fully acknowledge that I’m in the privileged position that I have all I could possibly want and more. The point being what then can I do with that to help others with less, and to make the most and best of what I have rather than acquiring more.
For me, that resonates both when I’m thinking about material possessions but also about personal relationships and the wider world we inhabit together. It means as well making the most of the things I’ve learnt and thought about through my reading, my studying, my conversations, and considering how I can apply them in my community (in every sense of that world).
If this sounds rather woolly*, it’s probably because it is. I’m thinking this one through as I write it, as I often do. I find that ideas evolve and grow as I write, as I speak. Then it’s up to me to figure out where and how to use them.
And for us, this (new) year, there will be one big (tiny) and very welcome change. In May we will become grandparents. We were right to think of our ‘gap year’ as a gap between caring responsibilities. We will embrace our relationship with this tiny new life, and make of it whatever good things we can, with what we have.
*woolly – kind of punny I know, but I love that the thing I use to make something useful and (I hope, beautiful) fits well here. The idea comes, and then we figure out how best to use it to create something useful and/or good (and hopefully beautiful).