Happy Holidays! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. I’m enjoying the change of routine and chance to recharge this week.

Why the long absence?

It’s been six months since my last post. During that time I’ve invested a lot of energy in volunteer work. My youngest son’s preschool has undergone dramatic changes, including several teachers coming and going, as well as the formation of a new committee of parents to oversee the management of the school. Out of necessity I became a director, which is a massive responsibility. It’s been extremely stressful and intense.

My entire family has questioned my commitment, asking why I bother to devote so much energy when it’s come at a personal cost. My peace of mind has been affected by parental politics, the pressure of trying to hire a suitable teacher during a national staffing shortage in early years, changing Covid regulations, and the threat of permanent closure. Friends of mine founded the Waldorf inspired school over 20 years ago. It provided magical experiences for four of our older children. I do not want to see it fail, as it’s a truly special place, and has the potential to enrich many more children’s lives in years to come.

That said, I’ve finally reached a point where I have to agree with my family and closest friends. It’s no longer worth it for me to put so much time and energy into this particular community project. I’ve done enough work, and someone else should have a turn. I’m almost at a point where I can step back and move on. The most difficult period is over. I’m confident that the new people have the skills to see the school through to its next stage. The biggest crises have been overcome and brighter days are ahead.

What’s next?

I’m looking forward to refocusing my energy in 2022. In the coming year, I want to reclaim space for my creativity, for the projects that bring me joy. I would like to dance, write, knit, embroider, tend my garden, cook, photograph places we visit, and read. I’m also planning to alter my blog a bit. At the beginning of 2021, I said I was going to post more frequently, but the opposite occurred. I’m determined to follow through in the next 12 months.

My year in books

I managed to reach the goal of my GoodReads challenge and completed 20 books this year. Apparently that consisted of 7,159 pages. I love fiction and enjoyed most of the novels. My favorite was Girl, Women, Other, although I also loved Hamnet. The Other Black Girl was bottom of the heap for me. I found the messaging deeply disappointing and problematic.

Stephen Fry’s storytelling in Mythos was very entertaining and made me laugh out loud at times. Although I was familiar with most of the myths, I enjoyed learning about how many of the words we use today originated in Greek mythology. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

I read Longbourn and The Passion simultaneously. There were parallels as they both took place during the Neapolitan Wars. I enjoyed the overlap; in one novel a soldier fought for the English, and in the other for the French, which presented different perspectives. Any fans of Pride and Prejudice might enjoy Longbourn, told from the servants’ point of view. (I’m such a big Jane Austen fan I also reread Mansfield Park and Persuasion this year). What was your favorite book read in 2021?

Other News
  • Last August our sweet kitten joined the angels in pet heaven. I miss him so much! I can’t bear to get another cat because no pet could replace Romeo. He was a one of a kind with so much personality!
  • My mom canceled her trip to visit us from Ohio in August because of her fears about the Delta variant. It’s been 3 and a half years since we’ve seen her. My four year old can’t remember traveling to the states since he was only a baby at the time. I’m hoping Grandma will visit us this spring.
  • After an 18 month hiatus, I returned to part-time work! Recently I completed 12 weeks of live classes. Before the pandemic I was teaching 6 dance-fitness classes a week. At the moment I’m only teaching one, but it’s a start. It’s unclear if we’ll be shut down again, so I’m waiting to see how the situation develops before I add more classes to my timetable. January is usually the peak month in fitness, but nothing is typical these days. Ireland introduced restrictions recently so everything closes at 8 pm which has impacted gyms, cinemas, pubs and restaurants across the country.
  • Although I have not shifted the “Covid Stone,” my weight is still within a healthy range. I’m just not getting as much aerobic exercise as before the pandemic. At least I have started moving again. I’ve been committed to yoga and hope to start a daily practice soon. I’ve been going to weekly classes since last June and it’s helping me to cope with stress.
  • My daughter is midway through her last year of secondary school. It won’t be long until I have 3 adult “children”! As Gretchen Rubin said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” This rings so true the older I become.
  • We traveled to the south of France in late October! It was incredible. I’ve missed traveling so much. We visited extended family and made some unforgettable memories. Mostly we ate, drank and enjoyed the sunshine. Waking to blue skies each day was energizing. While there we also visited a natural hot spring, went for walks, and picnicked beside a river.

I’m hoping we will have more adventures in the coming year and that traveling will become easier in 2022. What intentions are you setting for the year ahead?

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