Living Large

Seven years ago, on New Years Eve, I was sitting in a much coveted restaurant in New York. G and I were quite possibly the luckiest people on the planet. We had a babysitter for our then 1, 4, 5 and 7 year old at home. We were with friends from Australia, both old and new. We both had jobs that we were really enjoying, jobs we’d been able to escape over the holiday period. House prices in our area had skyrocketed meaning our home was now worth much more than we’d paid for it. Life was good.

It was my birthday. We were staying rent free in a friend’s apartment. I know! New York, child free, rent free, with friends. Ridiculously lucky. I think possibly the biggest hardship in my life at the time was I’d invested in a pair of incredibly fashionable but seriously uncomfortable boots that were too tight – they were killing me as I roamed the lightly snow dusted streets of New York.

Cue your violins now.

Somewhere between mains and dessert a conversation began about resolutions and New Years wishes. People talked about hopes and goals while others dismissed resolutions as ridiculous. It was my turn to speak, what did I want.

“I’d like to lose some weight, I’d like to be looking fabulous by the time I’m forty.”

Without skipping a beat, almost before I’d finished my sentence a girlfriend rolled her eyes, threw her head back in disgust and said “Blah blah blah, BORING!!! God I hate it when women say shit like that, that’s bullshit! BULLSHIT! ”

At the time I defended myself. She didn’t understand, I’d put on weight that year returning to work, full time hours had meant zero time at the gym. I needed to get healthy, half my wardrobe didn’t fit…

She wasn’t buying it. “It’s just bloody boring. Why can’t you just be happy with how you are? Is that your year’s goal? Really? Your weight?”

I was more than a little crushed. Her words stung. I felt vacuous, pathetic. She was right – was that it? Of everything I’d been given, with all the possibilities that lay ahead. That was it?

Seven years on and I’ve progressively gained a few kilos each year, and she’s right, it is boring. My weight is about as interesting as my shoe size, my grocery list and what I had for breakfast.

This year my resolutions are these, I have a list:

To make more videos. This year as well as the “Here and There” series I plan to make a series on what it’s like giving birth away from home.

To make more friends from foreign lands as well as making more Qatari friends.

To spend less time scrolling through my phone and more time speaking on my phone. Less texts, more chats.

To attend three blogging conferences and to speak at one.

To pick up two extra subjects towards my degree, and to NEVER agree to do summer school again!

To teach more people what I’ve learnt about blogging and to network with more bloggers. They’ll be 20 new bloggers in Doha by the end of January.

To write what I’d like to read. Real content, real stories, straight to and from the heart.

To swim faster, longer and more often. To walk when I can. To stretch on a daily basis.

To listen. To let the awkward pause pass without feeling the need to fill it.

To make the most of my children. A kiss each day, a hug each night, an activity shared each week. It’s flying by and I need to find ways to slow it down.

I began this post at about 11.45 in the evening and as I’ve typed the clock has ticked its way past midday. I’m sitting here in a perfectly still house, children sleeping upstairs, G in bed, and me a year older and without doubt a good 20 kilos heavier than I was all those years ago in New York. It turns out I was actually in pretty good shape back then.

I’ve held on to the fashionable but uncomfortable boots, the little travellers often throw them on during dress ups. I’ve also held on to the weight; a reminder of full plates of good food, creamy lattes, cheeky desserts, and bottles of wine shared with friends. I spend a lot of time on my laptop writing when I could be exercising but it’s a choice I make. Study, work, blogging – it’s what I drives me right now. Those extra kilos annoy me occasionally when I’m shopping for clothes – but it’s really not worth my time to think about too much. If it were all to end tomorrow and someone was to ask my children what I was like, what type of person was I? Would I want the answer to be “She was always talking about needing to lose weight”. Or “She was busy starting a  business, she wrote every day, she was studying digital media, she read us stories, hugged us every night, she was busy, she had a lot going on.”

She had a list.

How about you? Any resolutions?

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