Gee I look back at the start of last year and I was motivated - motivated to explore my love of cooking and baking - motivated to try out for MasterChef Canada and then what happened?
It is hard - I hate new year resolutions and I hate the phrase "it's a new year, be the new you" or the sentiments along those lines. I don't want to me a 'new' me I want to just be me. However, the new year is a good time to slow down, relax, look at life and contemplate where you were, where you are and where you want to be.
For me the last year has brought about one seemingly minor but significant change that has affected my whole life. I started a new job in roughly 9 months ago. The job is on paper a better job overall than my last. It is less money right now than what I was originally making (not by much and not that I'm complaining), but with the type of job it is - I get a pension, benefits, sick days, vacation days, paid overtime and a lot more job security.
Honestly, I was a bit shocked at fist with the job and the hours it demanded - but frankly the work was worth it. I was willing to put in major overtime to achieve a number of goals that I had when I took over the department. Unfortunately, I knew that meant some sacrifices around home, like time with my daughter, less time for cooking, less time for the husband...I was willing to work with the team I had and the hours for a period of time and we had a goal but then things got flipped on their head and ... well the overtime got to stop for a few months (seems like a good thing right? well no) because it has lead to the craziest few months of my life.
In the last two months I have had to make up for that pause. I have picked my daughter up from school twice or maybe three times. I hardly take her to her activities (thankfully I have supportive parents who pick her up and help with weekday activities). I hardly have time to spend with my husband. I don't have the time or frankly the energy to cook. Normally, I look forward to Christmas as a time to plan a 10 course meal for the family, but this year I was thankful to sleep in, watch TV and cook a turkey from a box :). I think I spend more time in my office than I do at home (basically in 6 months I have worked 200+ hours of overtime that has been recorded - this does not include time I put in away from the office).
I think for a period of almost 8-weeks I didn't cook more than a handful of times and those times that I did cook it was not my "normal" cooking - it was boxed - or prepackaged food which is very sad for me.
When I look at this I find it very hard because four years ago I was in a similar situation but I hated my life, I hated everything in it, I wasn't in a happy marriage, I was in a career that was sucking the life out of me, there was nothing that made my happy (other than the gym and my daughter). The difference now - I'm in a fairly happy marriage (man of my dreams - love him to pieces - but we don't get enough us time together. We need more of that!), I love my job (don't love the hours), I love my daughter, I am happy with my house, I need to get back to the gym. So I guess it's not that similar - the only thing that is similar is the lack of balance (I've never been great at balancing aspects of life at the same time). So looking forward to the new year what does it hold for me and the family?
Well another two months of craziness - I can't avoid that at work unfortunately but I'm trying to find ways to manage and work with that and set some more boundaries. In the next coming months I need to continue cooking - I'm keeping with my goal of 365 new recipes and 52 new techniques (but I'm not limiting myself on the time in which I have to achieve that). I am also going to lay off the pressure and recognize that if I want to make spaghetti and meatballs that maybe it can come pre-made in most of it's form I don't need to do everything from scratch - this way I keep cooking and trying new things but without the hours and pressure after long days at work. More time focusing on my daughter and spending time with her - god is she ever amazing. More time with the husband - he is a great guy, truly supportive of me and my goals and I miss him lots. Finally, the gym - i need it. cooking makes me happy and feel warm but it doesn't relieve stress like the gym did.
So happy new year and happy reflecting.