I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. The kids are off school so it feels like a holiday yet I’m acutely aware of the work pile starting to grow as emails come in and the stuff I didn’t quite finish in 2012 raises its head from behind a pile of tinsel and demands some attention.
The mornings are dark, the weather is cold and the telly includes lots of films that I really shouldn’t watch but seem to get drawn into (‘Hotel for Dogs’ – why?). Yet it still seems reasonable to start the day by eating dessert (how can eating up be wrong?).
The holiday season has worked its magic. I’m rested and revived, can feel enthusiasm, so often dulled by the mundane elements of work, start to flow through my fingers and into my keyboard as I start to plot and plan, and dream and scheme and build up my framework for the year ahead.
I love feeling excited about what I do. That sense of possibility, of what might happen next, of what’s just around the corner. I’m grateful daily that I don’t have to do a ‘job’ as such, but instead work on the most interesting selection of projects with the most fascinating range of people, day in and day out.
I tend to rise early, so anytime from six I’m tapping away, with my feet on the dog to keep warm. From late morning I start to lag and by 3pm I might as well give up and watch Tinkerbelle. Feels right though at this time of year, feels balanced to not push on regardless but to stop when other things come up. Half way through typing, I might suddenly press save and go and make soup, or clear out a cupboard, or pop outside and create giant bubbles for a while (part of another project I’m working on – doing something different everyday for 2013). I’m enjoying the variety and the freedom that this time of year brings. The freshness, the sense that anything is possible.
So what don’t I like? What’s the flip-side?
The diary seems a little empty beyond the first month or so. Or maybe not empty, just filled with pencil not pen. As a freelancer, there are lots of things in the planning and less in the delivery stage which can seem a little scary. The underlying sense of expectation is exciting, but can quickly tip into panic if extended too long – and control is usually not within my grasp, but held in the paws of others. If everything that is planned comes off it will be a busy, busy year, but at this stage who can tell. Holding that sense of not knowing is a challenge for me, but one I think I am slowly getting better at.
The solution? We work with what we have in front of us. The dreams and the plans are great to work towards but aren’t fixed enough to become attached to as yet. Deal in the real yet keep the hope simmering on the back burner too.
That’s whats so special about this week of the year – that balance between what’s on the table right at this moment and the possibilities for the year ahead. Right this minute its time to get my head out of the clouds (I’ve been working on a funding application) and my feet into the mud (its time to take the dog out).
The concrete is there. Next week, it’s back to work ‘proper’ with a nicely balanced week: the first trip away – heading down to Poole to work with the Clore Social Fellows on Equality and Diversity, some time in Leeds – doing some research and running sessions with Axisweb and a bit of time at home – reading and writing for Creative Scotland. Perfect balance – all that and something different every day too (you’ll have to check my other website or my new twitter feed to find out what!)
Happy 2013 to all, and may anyone reading this find balance between their dreams and their reality in this newly birthed year. Have fun.