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Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 |

Dodo Diary December 2015: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #10

xmasdodosceneIt’s been a good Christmas – and it’s not often I say that! 

Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to Christmas being a bit of a disappointment. To be honest, I blame the Americans.

Well, OK, not all of them. Just the ones in Hollywood.

Expectations are so high.

We want it all in our traditional English Christmas – the carol-singers with lanterns and knitted scarves, the sparkling fairy lights on the tree, the glowing log fire, the gentle snowfall on Christmas Eve, the angelic rosy-cheeked children opening gifts with cries of delight.

And most of all, the big family gathering with the roast turkey dinner.

After all, we deserve it, don’t we? It’s been a long, hard year.

And for many years, once our kids grew up and left home, my partner and I haven’t had a proper Christmas dinner . Still, at least we had each other, and if we were lucky, one of our six sons would come round at some point on Christmas Day, but the others were all too far away and had their own lives and families. And they couldn’t leave the dog. And anyway we were old and gloomy and boring and they didn’t really want to spend Christmas in our chilly, cluttered house instead of their own warm, cosy homes with all their own stuff around them and Ultimate Power over the TV remote control.

Does that sound bitter? Actually, I’m not.

Most of all, I wanted our children to have happy lives. And they do.

And if their idea of a happy life doesn’t include us (even with the bribe of a big pile of presents), then perhaps we are the ones who need to change.

But this year my super sisters saved the day – we were invited to two family gatherings, one on Christmas Eve and one for the big family lunch on Christmas Day. So a good time was had by all.

And next year we’ll be spending a wonderful family Christmas Day with one of my sons and his family.

I haven’t told him yet.

Dodo to Dynamite in a Year Progress Report

  • Weight: Lose 40lbs. With a house filled with delicious treat foods and lots of excuses to scoff them, this was never going to be my best opportunity to work on this target. No weight loss and more weight gain this month, but I can’t say it was unexpected. The hardest thing is admitting it and starting dieting again. Total weight loss so far now reduced to 12lbs. Rats!
  • Smoking: Quit. Still smoking, but making more of an effort not to, by working more in my no-smoking home office instead of our smoke-any-time-you-like kitchen. Money saved so far: £731.34 – starting to look quite impressive, isn’t it?
  • Self-Control: Beat addictions to sugar and caffeine. I’m now starting the day with a glass of orange juice instead of pouring a Diet Coke immediately. And the sugar addiction? Ohhhh dear. I was given 3 large boxes of chocolates for Christmas, as well as a lot of other yummy stuff. And there’s not a lot left! My sister sent me a Facebook picture that said, “Diet, Day 1. I have removed all the bad food from the house. It was delicious.” Let’s just say it rang a bell!
  • Hoarding: Clear whole house. I took the opportunity to go through all our Christmas decorations  and managed to get rid of two of our four large Christmas trees and a lot of baubles and bits I’ve never liked much – we used all of them when we had a toy shop, but we certainly don’t need them all now. No other progress on actually clearing stuff out this month, apart from a few boxes of stuff to the charity shop, because I wanted to get the house tidy for Christmas. but  I did get our living room clear and presentable. I’ll do more work on our huge loft next month.
  • Relationships: Rebuild relationships with partner and family. Being the Christmas season, of course I’ve seen a lot of my relatives, with a big family meal at my sister’s house. In particular, I was glad to have the chance to see more of another of my sisters – but I wish she’d sometimes think to ask about ME and MY life, instead of always talking about her own family. I used to resent this. However, I’ve come to accept that this is my fault – if you lead a dreary life filled with boring ongoing problems and never do anything interesting, you can’t expect people to request the next instalment of fascinating details!
  • Success: Build Ebay business/increase income. Of course, I’ve spent most of my time working on Ebay this month. I’m looking into options for creating passive income online. Most of them seem to involve far too much effort to receive far too little money! A few pennies a month just doesn’t stack up fast enough – I need to think up a BIG idea, like the Million-Dollar Homepage.
  • Writing: Refocus blog and add a new blog post every week. And this is why I need some passive income – in order to earn enough money, I’ve had to put my creativity on hold. Again.
  • Friends: Make 3 new friends. Umm… no.

Next month will be a new year – definitely time for a fresh start.

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