Being tagged for a New Year’s Resolution meme has prompted a little reflection. I’ve already bored you all with the long-term smallholding plans, but I’ve been struggling to think of any project I have underway that might yield results within the year.
I’m experimenting with a new chicken run, to discover whether limited access to the vegetable patch results in pest control and fertilisation or total annihilation of all plant and invertebrate life in the region. And, of course, there’s always another hoop to jump through at work, another demand for proof that I still know how to give injections, dress wounds and talk reassuringly to people in pain, in case I’ve suddenly forgotten everything I’ve been doing for the last fourteen years. I wouldn’t dispute that nurses need to keep up with developments in their field, but in all my time on A&E – sorry, Priority and Fastrack Customer Care – I’ve never seen a development that changes the essential nature of what people need and want from us, only new procedures, insurances and acronyms that get in the way of providing it. Career development means nothing more than running on the spot.
I don’t really want to list anything work-related as a personal resolution, anyhow. I’d like to say I’ll spend more time with my family, but Sue’s job is as manic as mine, and Sarah’s 17 now and has her own hectic social life when she’s not taking the car apart.
In a rare moment of all being in the house without anybody imminently needing to be elsewhere, I sounded them out about working visits to some permaculture communities over the summer, research and recreation in one. They feel the logistics are unlikely to come together, what with Sarah’s work placement, Sue’s job, my job, the chickens… Mention was made, again, of the previous life-changing plans, the self-sustaining summerhouse of recycled materials that never got planning permission, the European mini-van adventure that was whittled down to a caravan holiday in Cornwall. Well, we still have the caravan: it sits, static and accusatory, at the bottom of the garden, gathering moss on its wheels. Sarah uses it as a quiet place to do her homework, though she sometimes does her homework with very loud music and at least three friends.
I’ve come to the conclusion that significant change in my life would require wider changes in the world beyond, in the daily necessities that persistently force me to delay my plans. I’d like to resolve to rekindle the part of me that once thought I could change that world, and give a suitable legacy to my parents. The revolution they ran from in 1980 had turned on them, but their failure to change Iran for the better never dulled their determination that ordinary people can make a difference by making a noise, and they were noisy to the end – especially in crowded restaurants. I’ve been quiet since 2015, and I don’t know whether I have the time, strength or resolve to find a voice again now. The world has a tendency to get in the way of our plans to change it.
I’ll just be quietly glad that my participation in the Extreme Research conservation project in Vietnam actually happened last year, though it seems a distant oasis now. What I would like for this year is the space and time to pursue further adventures, but if that’s ever going to happen all I can really afford to do now is work, and defer my resolutions for another year.