17 years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I turned to my husband and told him my resolutions. I can’t remember them precisely now – I think I wanted to learn Italian, teach myself to cook, and break my newly formed post-work shopping habit. We were living in an apartment in Dublin 2, working in an office in Dublin 2, and had to walk across Grafton Street to get from one to the other. The commute was killing my credit card. I asked my husband then what his resolutions were, and he said he didn’t have any – he wasn’t really a resolution person. And so it went on, year after year, I made mine and he made none, and that was fine.
My resolutions changed over the year but not much. They were always few in number, and always achievable – to avoid disappointment. They should probably be classed as goals rather than resolutions; a small list of aims for the year. Do up the kitchen, take up running, do more day-trips, eat more fish. Occasionally there were some that were truly impossible and have as yet never been achieved (like “put all photos in photo albums”) but mostly they were doable. A nice list for someone who likes making lists.
Until this year. This year, my husband surprised me on New Year’s Eve by telling me he’d made some resolutions. He waited then for me to tell him mine. Only I had none. For the first time ever, I had no list. I know why – it’s because I can’t see past book 2. edits Nothing else matters. I need to finish edits and get it back to my editor. I don’t have it in me to worry about how many kilometres I run or how often I cook fish or how many books I read or whether I’ve had eight glasses of water. I just need to get the book done and then I’ll have the head space to think about everything else.
I felt a bit bad though, not having a list of goals. Then I remembered one I’d been thinking about in the run up to Christmas. So I decided to go with that one goal, along with the book. It’s tiny and simple and quite possibly life-changing – I’m going to choose my clothes the night before. It’s something I used to do when I worked in an office, but of course working from home means it doesn’t matter what I wear.
And that’s precisely the problem – now that it doesn’t matter what I wear, it’s even harder to choose. I stand looking bleary-eyed at my wardrobe every morning, then give up and wander off to call the kids again. I go back to the wardrobe and stare at rows and rows of similar tops and jumpers and sweatshirts and then I go off and look out the window or check my weather app. Then a child comes in and needs me, then another child needs me and before I know it, my husband is leaving for work, everyone wants breakfast, and I’m still in pyjamas.
Imagine if I could skip all of that half-asleep faffing and staring? I’d surely reach superwoman levels of productivity. I’d have time to tidy the kitchen before the school run. I’d never shout at the kids again. We’d never be late. I’d be back home more quickly. I’d get straight down to work because the table is already clear. Superwoman. So that’s my one goal. (And book 2 edits. Which is not so much a resolution as an imperative, but all the more achievable with my superwoman powers.)