‘There are far, far better things ahead than anything we left behind’ – C.S.Lewis
It’s been two months since I became unwell with severe tonsillitis and the strange thing is, we are now already into a new year, and despite being bed bound and pretty inactive during that time, I feel like very little time has actually passed.
That’s a very strange feeling indeed but despite the inactivity and my miserable symptoms, I actually was blessed with the rare luxury of having time to think and really explore where I am in my life. I had time to read the many books which have been accumulating on my bedside table, to ponder, and to enjoy the thoughtful messages of concern and encouragement sent from friends, clients and colleagues (thank you all).
So yes, I’m indulging in gratitude and ‘counting my blessings’ rather than immersing myself in the disappointment of missed parties and celebrations with friends over the festive season.
One event I was particularly sad to miss was the Mums at Work Christmas Dinner and Annual Awards as I was thrilled to find out I had been nominated in both the ‘most inspirational’ and ‘most glamorous’ categories. Ultimately I didn’t win either but I was voted into the top five in the inspirational section. After a tardy, hesitant start and having only truly committed to ‘The Swan Doctor’ last Summer I was genuinely delighted to have received this acknowledgement. Thank you to those who took the time to vote and comment on your reasons for doing so. That really cheered me up so much when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. Many congratulations to the other nominees, finalists and winners who are just a wonderful group of uplifting and supportive women whom I’m very much looking forward to spending more time with in 2019.
One thing I did not want to miss was my daughter’s first Christmas carol service at her new school, the same school I attended more than 25 years ago! For the first time they had moved the performance from the old assembly hall to their new state-of-the art sports facility. I was initially disappointed to learn of this as I wanted to soak up the atmosphere in the old historic building as I reminisced, but it quickly became apparent that the original format had been retained over the years, and the memories were happily triggered.
Mixed with feeling incredibly proud of my daughter, I also became really emotional as I thought back to my teenage years full of hope, potential and excitement at what life had to offer. Tears were welling as I realised that some of that joy and expectation had possibly left me as an adult. I choked the feelings back and in those moments resolved to reignite that passion for life and opportunity, and to keep chasing my dreams.
Watching these young and talented people display their enthusiasm for singing, presenting, reading and playing instruments made me actually think of one of my favourite artists, Mackenzie Thorpe. Mackenzie is particularly renowned for his pastels which may include a faceless child in a black duffel coat, square sheep (!), people with very large feet or children with enormous round heads and broad smiles. I’m privileged to own some pieces by him which always make me smile but also make me want to fully understand their hidden meanings. First impressions of these artworks is that they are naive in their execution but their symbolism is very powerful.
For example, in Mackenzie’s own words regarding the large headed children:
“For me, the big heads symbolise children: new, uncorrupted, their heads full of endless possibility, open to whatever comes their way. It is only as we grow older that we become narrow and closed. Let’s keep our heads as big as possible. Continue to marvel at the beauty of nature, revel in the smell of the flowers and thank God you’re alive.”
Whilst I am not an advocate of New Year’s resolutions which we often quickly self-sabotage, I am a fan of continual goal setting and review. I have therefore set some big goals for myself this year and am determined to achieve them as I have set them at a high, but achievable level. Forgive me for saying this but in the spirit and ethos of Mackenzie Thorpe’s art, I’m going to ‘keep my head as big as possible’ and approach every opportunity this year with a degree of naivety and wide-eyed anticipation. Of course I may still experience some of life’s disappointment and curveballs, but adopting the enthusiasm of youth may enable me to approach this year with more anticipation than I ever have before.
May I wish you a very Happy New Year and invite you to also ‘keep your head big’ and marvel at the world and all it has to offer.
The Swan Doctor.