Journal#10: How I feel about 2020

I’m loving reading people’s decade in review blogs. It’s lovely to see how people have changed and grown, but of course they’re not all happy stories.

Over the last few weeks I was debating doing one myself, but decided against it. Too much has changed, and it’s better to focus on today than yesterday or tomorrow. But then I thought – well, maybe do 2019 in review. But that felt the same. I’ve done lots – writer in residence for the Newcastle Puppetry Festival, finished my first novel, finished my second poetry collection, got an agent, worked as a librettist… But the truth is, lots of good has happened but some bad too. More good than bad. These things don’t need to be listed, catalogued, left behind. Because they’re with me all the time, they make me who I am.

We’re shaped by everything that happens to us, for better or for worse. And these changes don’t have to be permanent, because as we go into a New Year there are even more changes ahead of us that’ll change us again and again. I really believe that we’re constantly changing, every second. We leave nothing behind but we’re morphing to adapt to every new thought. Every day can be a new slate. Every day can be a ‘New Year’.

So instead of cataloguing what’s been over the last 10 years, I’m going to focus on today. What I can do today to make my life better, whether it’s to write, plot, eat well, meditate, do tai chi, or eat a 12 inch pizza. Listen to myself and look after my body.

caroline hardaker author

And I’m going to be grateful, as you never know when the things you love the most will change or disappear forever.

I’m grateful for the people I know who are good, and kind, and inspire me to be a better person. I’m grateful that I have lots of irons in the fire right now, and to be in this state of flux where the irons could… Well… forge something. Is that the right metaphor? I’m grateful, that as I speak, I have an agent who is doing everything he can to turn those fiction publishing cogs, I have a poetry publisher who is doing everything it can to produce world class poetry accessible to everyone, and that there is a composer transforming my poems into a mini opera to be performed at big operatic festivals in 2020.

I’m also starting on a no buy month – so for January I’m going to appreciate what I already have and make things that I need. I’ve known for a while that I needed some sort of box or case for all my pens and pencils (I use a lot of colours for mapping out themes and things while outlining), and instead of buying one I made one from some felt I had and some sari ribbon. It’s not particularly pretty, but it DID only take me 15 minutes or so…

caroline hardaker writes and makes

After January’s up, I might continue to the no buy thing or switch to low buy. I’m not particularly saving for anything special (I try to save money anyway), but I’m trying to break the habit of collecting, and buying things to make me feel better. And who knows, if I see my savings rise and rise maybe I will do something adventurous with them…

And this week, we’re decorating and cleansing my old study, making it light and bright for me to bury myself in next week when I start the second draft of my next novel. I’ve been doing the BIG 2nd outline this week, and now I’m ready to go. I just admit, I had to brush up on how to write and edit the second draft of my novela bit before I began, but I feel so much clearer about it all now. I’m so looking forward to later in the year when people outside my head get to read it. 😊

I hope you’re all taking it easy and being kind to yourselves. For the last 8 years I’ve set pretty rigid New Year’s resolutions for myself, but this year I’m taking a much more holistic view of kindness, consciousness, and balance. I figure that this year, if I do that, then other things in all areas of life might fall into place too. Maybe you can do the same!

In the meantime, want to read some new poems? I’ve had a few published lately – and whether you’re interested in dark fairy stories, mythology, or genetically-modified embryos, you should find something that tickles your fancy.

Happy New Year, everyone. 😊

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