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I have always lived by the Third Rule of Life: When in a ditch, stop digging. 

After 2016, that saying no longer seems enough to deal with the endless onslaught of woes and doom, so I've started to wonder whether the time has come to change it around a little. 

My biggest problem last year was that I dug myself a ditch (or a rut I suppose) and while I was doing some stuff to keep me happy and healthy, the majority of my brain was taken up on the hamster wheel of work stress, child stress, and WTF WORLD?!?! stress. 

For me, the back end of last year was a really introverted space. I watched YouTube videos every evening to catch up with world events in the same way that I might pick at a scab, I scrabbled around trying to be the parent the children needed without direction, and I ran round at work putting out fires in an enthusiastic but ineffective way.

So my revised Third Rule of Life: When in a ditch, dig sideways. That way, you turn a ditch into an interesting undulation in the ground you can call a "feature". 

I’m still working on the wording. 

My plan for 2017 is to get all up in some different stuff, focus on what I can influence, and do lots of things that  I enjoy. Or that I might enjoy, if I stop worrying so much. Especially about shit I can't change. 2017 is my year of getting some perspective y'all. 

My list of not-resolutions for this year so far involves:

1. Learn the Ukulele 

I really wasn't thinking that I needed to add another layer of crazy to my life, then our amazing friends bought us a ukulele for Christmas. I've lamented for many years that I'm not cool enough to play the guitar. I gave it a try at school, hoping that it would turn me into the sort of salt haired, effortlessly waify surfer chick I always wanted to be. Disappointingly, guitars aren't possessed of magic powers, so instead of improving my appeal, it just made me look like Duane Dibbley about to break into an enthusiastic chorus of Kumbaya. I've accepted that, but I'm giving our new ukulele the side-eye and wondering if I might just be weird enough to give it a crack. 

Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but I've downloaded an app so I figure it's worth a try.

2. Read some parenting books 

I'll be honest, this parenting thing is really fucking haaaaard and I'm not sure I'm doing it right at the moment. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm NOT doing it right at the moment. I know with every fibre of my being that I am an attachment parent, but that's a bit like declaring yourself to be Japanese, jumping on a plane and wondering why the hell you can't understand a word of the language or the first thing about the culture. Gesturing and blind luck will get you so far, but for the most part, there'll be a lot of floundering around. Well, I'm over floundering around, so I'm going to read a few books written by people who are better at adulting than I am.

The first one is called Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph which I need to read because I need to find a way to deal with the utter boy-ness of Alfie's behaviour. I need some context for the rough housing and I need some tools to handle the testosterone fuelled brain farts. Judging by the reviews I'm either going to love it or have to explain to the library why I burned one of their books.

Second up is The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron which I think is going to give me a whole new insight into both Esme's personality, and my own. I also think this is going to be a deeply personal book to read and I fully expect to need a lot of hugs and tissues.

The last one is Childhood and Society by Erik Erikson which has been staring out of my bookshelf for the longest time. I feel embarrassed by the length of time it has sat, forlornly, as other books have come and gone. The time has come, my friend, I need some 1950s societal context in my life.  

3. Ride my bike more … with Keith 

Towards the end of last year, I started riding with a group of women called The Litas. Look at them, aren’t they badass? I have no idea why they let me ride with them, but they do, and thanks to them I have already pushed my riding way past my comfort zone and rediscovered my passion for being on two wheels.

One thing I didn’t do enough of in 2016 was to ride with Keith. We never made it to the track day we’d promised ourselves. In fact, the last time we rode together was out trip out to Castlepoint for Keith’s birthday last February. 

Which sucks. 

It especially sucks for me because nothing gets my vixen on faster than seeing Keith on his bike and I’ve been denied that pleasure for nearly a whole year. A year dammit! Where’re m’damn perving opportunities, husband? How am I supposed to check out your cute, leather clad butt if you’re never out riding with me? 

Only joking kids, your father and I sleep in separate rooms and we found you under rocks. 

4. Swim in the sea

I'm almost ashamed to admit that in the 18 months that we have lived in our house, I have yet to take a swim in our sea. Yes, when the sea is literally your front garden you get to call it your sea.

In my defence, that shit looks cold! Like all year round hypothermia levels of cold. And I don’t care how many people tell me that it’s good for my health, if I wanted to be miserably cold, I would have stayed in the UK.

Anyway, this year I’m going to swim in my sea, because over our Christmas tiki tour, I invested in a surf suit and if I don’t make good on my pathetic justification for spending that amount of money on fancy swimming togs, I suspect Keith will throw me into the sea without it.

Plus I need to get in some practice because in a few months the dolphins will be back in our bay and when they arrive, I’m planning on grabbing our body board, the Go Pro, and communing the hell out of that nature.

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