Today is my birthday.
Well thank you. That's very kind.
I will tell you my age as it's important to the blog. Today I am the big 4-9.
I think with all birthdays we tend to reflect and set goals, and why not? We most likely have not carried on any New Year's resolutions we promised, so birthdays can be sort of a Plan B. Although, I don't set resolutions, nor normally wait for significant dates to make any changes. But, as this is the year coming up to 50, I'm thinking it's time to have a good hard look at what's going on in the House of Niki.
I'm also recovering from Covid, which surprisingly completely took me off my feet and left me with a chest infection and a husky cough that makes everyone who is around more than slightly uncomfortable. It's not the general feeling of malaise or even the exceptional tiredness that took me by surprise but, for me, it was not being able to breathe. That was not on at all, and really took me to those dark places that really, we choose to avoid.
I often have a recurring dream that I'm under water or the air has been snuffed out and I can't breathe. I wake up finding that I am holding my breath and it's terrifying. It's usually around times when I feel overwhelmed or not in control of things, despites all my efforts (Ha! There it is again!)
These past couple of weeks have put things into perspective and as Neil was away while I sat 7 hours in the A&E for a chest x-ray, I was alone with my thoughts.
Do I have a plan for the next 50 years, knock on wood.
Working for myself, as the saying goes, I'll be working until lunchtime on the day of my funeral. But the past few weeks and especially the last couple of days, I've had to check to see if I've been the best type of mom, wife, friend I could be. As I've said in earlier musings, I've never been a girlie girl and shudder at the notion of being thought of as a 'Pick Me' girl as my daughters have educated me on the latest social term - someone who downplays themselves to gain favour or access to an otherwise inaccessible group by way of a sympathy vote. So I tend not to sit around hoping to be invited to this, that or the other. I rather feel that people will contact me when they need me or want me to be at their social event, therefore I won't necessarily contact them, without good reason. I truly believe a true friendship is where, even though you haven't spoken for a long time, you just pick up from where you left off. But isn't just calling to connect a good reason, I have to ask myself?
And that is how I have come to this next year's mantra....not goal....as that's work and I don't want it to be work. This part of my life shouldn't be work, it should flow within mindful parameters, guided by my interests and by those who are interested in me.
I have boiled it down to one word: effort
People who know me, know me to be a pretty full on busy bee with a lot of irons in the fire at any given time and might have a difficult time wondering why I've chosen effort, as it might look like I am always putting as much energy into life that I can.
This is different.
I'm thinking that another way of putting it is 'prioritised conscious application of will'.
(I just made that up, but I think it sounds pretty swish)
I will make the effort to to do things in the present that benefits me that could be put off for another day.
I will make the effort to keep in contact with people unless it becomes one-sided, in which I will no longer.
I will make the effort to walk everyday or do a physical activity that is for my pure personal pleasure and not for work.
I will make the effort in my appearance each and every day - a ritual that somehow gets left behind once you have kids. And it's true that people treat you differently if it is perceived that you have made an effort, as cynical as that might be, it seems, to me, to be the unspoken law of the jungle.
The proof of this working well for me was when I did my first yoga class yesterday, with a friend who has been asking me on and off for a few weeks, and today I made the effort.
Could I have laid in bed a little longer? Sure.
Could I have given the excuse of too much work? Absolutely.
And the result was wonderful.
In this class I had one thing to do and only one thing and that was to listen to my body, listen to it's story as it went through basic poses and opened up.
I haven't focused on myself like that since...well forever.
So finally, I have decided that this year will be about effort that fulfills me, makes me better to be around, makes people want to connect on a vibration that is positive and possibly effortless as the effort has already been done.
So no memories to write about today. More about looking forward, however, I did learn something recently that resonates deeply with me and I guess is along the lines of effort:
the difference between being Effective and Efficient that will weave it's way through my efforts this year and hopefully beyond:
To be efficient is to get prescribed things done in a prescribed time, faster and with less input.
To be effective is to take things forward and progress making it better and learning the whole way.
Effort: It doesn't take much, only the courage to say Let's Do This.