Friday, 8 January 2016

My New Year Anti-Resolutions

The back end of 2015 proved to be far more eventful that I might have imagined at the beginning of the year. As we approached the New Year it was all change, some for the better, some for the worse and some for the 'let's just wait and see shall we'. I would love to go into more detail but for various boring personal reasons and much against the spirit of blogging, I don't like to share too much practical detail about what I am up to. Suffice to say that things are in no way the same as they once were.

Anyways, enough of being cryptic. I am beginning to remind myself of those needy souls on Facebook who post mysterious status updates about how dreadful things are, without having the decency to clarify what exactly has gone wrong in their lives to satisfy my nosiness.

The real point of this post is that, what with all this upheaval, this new year, more than ever, I have been thinking about change, which led inevitably to New Year's Resolutions and what a bloody terrible idea they are.

The wonderful Marianne Power from the Help Me Blog also inspired me with a fabulous post about this earlier in the week so this is my homage to her and all the other sensible souls who say Bah Humbug to NYRs.


I WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO LOSE WEIGHT. If it should leave my body of its own accord, I will not complain, but I am not going to pretend I like salad, do more exercise that I consider strictly necessary or fret over all the size 10 clothes that lie mouldering in my loft while I hold onto a tiny shred of hope that one day my body might once again miraculously fit into them. I shall eat puddings, chocolate and chip and I will rely on the healing power of Lycra and banish my scales to the dusty hell they deserve.

I WILL NOT GIVE UP BOOZE. Dry January has to be the worst invention since....., um, nope can't think of anything bad enough to compare it to. Of all the months in the year to deny yourself the solace of fuzzy drunkeness this has to be the absolute worst. Personally I think the only medicine to cure the January blues is a socking great G&T.

I WILL STOP FEELING ASHAMED OF BEING OLDER. This one is the biggie for me. Once upon a time people who I worked with considered me formidable, scary was how more than one minion described me. Trouble is that the years have taken their toll on that tough cookie, leaving in her wake a rather more soggy biscuit of a middle-aged woman.

This is not helped by the fact that I work with terrifying young people with beards, more confidence than should be legal and an unnerving tendency to bandy around names like Mashable, Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat and VICE in a distressingly successful attempt to bamboozle us oldies into thinking they know far more than I suspect they actually do.

If I were to confess that I actually quite like to sit down with a real newspaper on a Sunday and get my fingers all mucky with ink, pages rustling comfortingly as I turned them, they would look at me as if I had admitted that I loved to crank up my Gramophone and dance around the parlour in a crinoline. Turn, pages? What you can't just swipe your way through a colour supplement and why can't I just skip to the next section by jabbing my finger at the text?

The thing is, while there is plenty I don't know, there is also a lot that I do. After living for over four decades, half spent working in the media, I have learned that when it comes to what I would call words and images and they would call content, what counts is delivering something real.

To create something that touches people and makes them feel as if they are not alone in this world, that there is someone out there who 'gets' them, who can articulate their fears or share their passions, is just as weird and dysfunctional as they are.

To craft words on a page or footage into a film that will move someone to tears by transporting them into a moment of sadness or pure joy.

It is our job to wield the power of content to inspire, to educate, to amuse, to console, to comfort, to teach and to create something precious that will stay with whoever consumes it, however they consume it. You never know it might even change their lives in some tiny or huge way.

I am proud to say that I know some of the things I have written have done just that.

Whether you do it in 140 characters (how behind the times am I? #Twitter10k) or with quill on parchment, it's not where you say something, but what you say it that counts.

So rather than quailing in the face of the novelties that amuse my younger colleagues, I shall adopt a serene air of superiority, that might even, with a following wind, be mistaken for scariness once again. I shall not go quietly into the dying of the light, or the perimenopause which is much the same thing. Maybe I will even insist on using a quill pen and parchment to make my pronouncements. The bearded men might even copy me and I could start my very own hipster craze. Quill bars could pop up amongst the cereal cafes, sarsaparilla bars and chimney sweep-inspired boutiques of Hoxton.

So forget Dryathlons, diets and denial, make some anti-resolutions of your own that might really make you happier this year. Cheers and here's to a 2016 where I am no better than I was in 2015, but hey, I am fine with that.

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