New Year resolutions: One for your list…

BE MINDFULTime certainly does fly and lookie here, it’s 2013 already. Well just. Where did the last 5 months go? For those of you that know me, you will be aware that I have been “off the grid” somewhat during that period – the tumbleweed surrounding this blog and my twitter feed being solid testament to that. Part of the reason for my radio silence is professional – this year saw me settle into my (awesome) new role with the (awesome) crew at The Chemistry Group. Did I mention it was awesome?! 😉

The other significant contributor to my absence has been personal – 2012 sent challenges in this department that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy so it has been a mix of incredible highs and deep deep lows, which, at the time, I thought I was navigating alone. But in the run up to Christmas I took a peep back into my online life – I dipped tentatively back into twitter, found a purpose for facebook and even read a few (just three in all) blog posts. I had expected to see a lot of work related posts but instead I saw personal reflection, with many of those that I have come to know well sharing similar stories of how 2012 had challenged them personally too.

Of these few posts, one really hit home, a post entitled Summing Up by Neil Morrison. I won’t quote chapter and verse here, you should read it yourself. Suffice to say that much of what Neil writes in this post resonated with me. One particular observation struck a chord:

I’m indebted and apologetic to my family, the people I hold most closest and whose love I have abused. The times when I haven’t been present, the moments that I will never get to live again, the kisses that I never offered and the hugs that I didn’t feel I deserved.

When you are on the career treadmill it is so easy to fall into this trap. It’s not as though we can’t see it happening; we know we do it. But you slip into auto pilot, promising yourself that you will make it up. That next time you will do that thing, be there when you couldn’t or maybe just simply stop and take notice. But you don’t. The spirit is willing but somehow the flesh is weak. I can’t remember who said it and I dont have the energy to research it right now (forgive me, it’s late) but whoever it was said that perhaps one of the most important things you can do as an individual is to be ‘present’ in the company of family and friends – your loved ones. ‘Present’ meaning fully engaged mentally and emotionally and not distracted by work, email, smartphones, tweets or checkins.

This was my biggest challenge in 2012 and as a result it is now at the top of my New Years resolutions list – and I would encourage you to put it at the top of yours too. No, dont just nod and say “yes” or “so true”. Do it. Affirmative action. Believe me, if you don’t, you will regret it. It may not seem that important now, but by failing to engage, by allowing this presence to elude you, you risk losing so much more than those moments alone.

So go on, be present. Don’t say “in a minute” or “I just need to finish this email” when a loved one vies for your attention. Put the laptop or blackberry to one side and take the moment. Trust me. Your work and career will not suffer as you imagine it might.

Be present. Offer that kiss…

Happy New Year folks. I’m looking forward to being present and engaged in 2013. I hope you can be too.

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7 thoughts on “New Year resolutions: One for your list…

  1. Happy New Year Gareth (and all…) & although 2013 doesn’t quite have the same glamorous ring to it as 2012 did – what with jubilees and Olympics n’all, perhaps it will be notable for us all being closer to family and friends. Last night we had a lovely evening ‘chez Ratcliffe’ with two families we’ve known since school days and now our own children are mates too. We should do it more often, but thankfully it’s easy to pick up where we left off with old friends.

    I look forward to keeping the friendship fires burning with many people this year, and appreciating my loved ones more than ever. Thanks for your blog post…

    Yours (with ever so slight NY day hangover) Johanna

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    • Yes definitely interesting times and also 2013 does have a hard act to follow compared to 2012 in many ways! Glad you had such a nice break, busy lives demand downtime with those closest to us! Happy New Year ;).

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  2. I checked my email today and, what a delight to find your post in there. Being present is such a simple thing, and doesn’t cost anything, but means the world to people. I’ve worked on being better at truly listening. I’ve worked on it for years, and my husband will still say I’m crap at it. But I know that what it does do is show the other person how much you value them.

    I really hope that your 2013 is properly awesome in every way, and full of highs. Happy New Year.

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    • Hi Flora – Thank you! And a pleasure to see you here too! Isn’t it amazing how sometimes we really have to try hard to do something that we assume should come so naturally. Life is full of distractions – they come from everywhere – and we seem to have accepted their presence, which ultimately just distracts us from what is important. We appear as parts of ourselves to others instead of a whole being. Still, here’s to pulling ourselves together in 2013! Look forward to catching up in Feb! 🙂

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  3. Ah yes. How fitting to stop and think about living in the moment. Hard as hell and wonderful when you manage it. At the risk of looking like a poetry ponce, I have to quote William Blake who is hard to beat on this subject…

    He who binds to himself a joy
    Does the wingèd life destroy;
    But he who kisses the joy as it flies
    Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

    Here’s to a year of kissing joys as they flit past. Happy 2013 all.

    x

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    • Hi Jamie! I can always rely on you for refreshing and informative perspective! What a great and apt quote – hits the nail on the head! My lips are pursed… 😉 See you for a catch up soon i hope!

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  4. mwah, mwah – haven’t seen you for a while and it was great to see your message on Linkedin! It is the single hardest thing to do in an age where we are all about ‘instant’ and ‘connections’, but I know you will succeed in carving out the time – those you love will always be there for you, as long as you are there for them – they realise when there is pressure but the whole dynamic is based on give and take – we all need to ‘give the present’! Look forward to seeing you soon. Sx

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