New Years Resolutions 2014- Strive for Perfection!
‘I pledge to take my fitness, gardening, writing, teaching, cooking, singing, volunteer work and photography to a whole new level.’
#1 Strive for Perfection
What is perfection other than an unobtainable idea, yet we all strive for it. The idea if we work hard enough at something we will eventually be the best at it. My goal for this next year is to reach my person best with the things I already love to do.
Currently, I am a jack-of-all-trades, a master of none. I watch my kids pick up an instrument and over the course of a day figure out how to play a few tunes and then think, oh that was easy and put it down. When things come this easy, they don’t have to struggle or strive to learn a new skill. They have an element of natural enthusiasm and figure how to accomplish their goal the easiest, fastest way possible.
In many ways having a childlike enthusiasm and the ability to focus on something so intensely becomes an issue after the intensity simmers. Like my kids, I become bored. The problem with determination and finding satisfaction with just being ok; is I never reach a level of excellence. Up until now, I was happy with mediocrity. My motto was that life is short and I want to sample everything life has to offer. Who has time for excellence? Personally, I wanted to try all the flavours at the ice-cream parlor. Stimulation junkies perhaps addicted to change? Is there hope to become a master of anything after forty? I have sampled enough of life to focus on picking one thing… but what?
# 2 Slow It Down and Make the Most of it
Instead of rushing through my days trying to get it all done, I want to slow it right down and focus on improving each moment of my interests. For instance, I love to cook, and if I took more time to prepare throughout the year, than everything including our spices could be homemade. The herbs from my garden can be dried to go into our food -year round. We can make homemade seasoning salts with no MSG or fillers instead of buying premade loaded with GMO crap. It goes for jams and compote as well, buying fruit in bulk from local farmers and canning for the year.
Alfonz and I already love homemade remedies instead of medicine. Teas to sooth a fever or elevate a mood, and remedies like lemon ginger honey for a sore throat. When you make everything from scratch and keep a close eye on what goes in to your body, your family’s immunity is higher and has a better chance of fighting when we do come down with something.
#3 Publish My Book
With this train of thought to reach perfection and not just averageness, I can improve my writing. Often my hobbies fight for time with daily household chores. I feel rushed when posting with the million household tasks pressing. They say writers have the cleanest house, as we always manage to find a distraction. I find wine helps with this.
I started the blog to record our family’s progress while starting our new life in France. I wanted to be held accountable for our decisions along the way and to remember all the amazing things we discovered in the countries we visited before resting in France, as well as the self-discoveries we realized about ourselves. Being a methodical person, I work through goal lists until I reach the desired outcome. Sometimes it takes me longer than I anticipate but through willpower I make my way to my goal.
I second-guess the shape of my book. Initially, I wanted a first person account of how and why we made the decision to move away from Canada and to share the process of preparing my children for an international move to Europe. While exploring Europe we learned so much about ourselves, and I shared through journal entries, our experience; from home schooling, time change, and time currency. Once we reached France, the story became about how our family assimilates including our struggles to find lucrative income.
It is hard to decide where the book ends. Is the story how to change your life and move to France? Then the book ends when we bought our house here in Capestang. Is the story how to find a life based on old fashion family values and time together? If that were the case, we found that after living in Capestang for about a year and making deep connections to our community. Or is the story how to start viable income in France? Then my ending is in progress as we still search for our happy income earner.
After I finished my 40 before 40 posts about the last year of my thirties, I realized that there was a trigger for Alfonz and I to move towards a more fulfilling life before reaching 40. Although I vowed that midlife crisis was not the reason we changed our life, all the symptoms were visible and perhaps I couldn’t see the obvious being right in the middle of the whirlwind chaos we created. We had all the standard symptoms in Canada to make drastic moves and in reality, as typical as it may be; the truth is that midlife crisis explains it.
Maybe it was reaching middle age and realizing it is now or never to go after our dreams, possibly the family members that died in a row before retirement played a part, or the idea of working another 35+ years at the jobs we had already had for the last 20.
Then it hit me in no uncertain terms what my book was actually bout. The message I waited so patiently for while I edited page after page of blog entries. It finally came together…
‘Midlife crisis, move to France’ The catchy title that says it all. The words I was afraid to write. I wanted to preach something new, to share something meaningful not the self-indulgent midlife crisis. We are not the first to head to France. We are not the only ones looking to give our children a better life. What we want is a life based on the currency of ‘Time’, something we will run out of. To make the second half of our life more meaningful, we sold it all. Was it solely to do with midlife? No
Was it mainly about giving the kids a better life? No.
There were many egotistic elements to our move that didn’t float to the surface until long after finding our home in France. And as unsettling as our new life was, I didn’t blog for the sole purpose of sharing, but to keep busy while the fear of what we got ourselves into took shape. We definitely were outside our comfort zone, and talking through it kept me sane. I kept busy while insane thoughts ran through my mind. Even now after two years, I cannot say we made the right decision. Even after two years I cannot reveal the path to happiness. I can tell you that no one could have stopped us from trying. The best part, the clarity is no regrets. That’s the message. Not find your happiness, but strive for it, with all your might, as long as you can… that is living.
Lastly is my singing. A life long passion put on the back burner for far too long. When I joined the choir I remembered how singing made me feel when I was a child singing in church and later in elementary choir. I felt I belonged to something bigger than myself. Pure happiness. Of course when I sang as a child, it felt pure and beautiful as if god himself sang through me. Later, through high school, it gave me joy but also acted as an escape through my hardest teen years. Singing and music transcends.
Practice however is more a lovely thought than an actuality. Good thing I can fudge my way though most songs, can read music as I sing and have a great memory for melody. This year I want to allot a time each day (the shower not included) to practice. We bought a Karaoke machine and added an app on the kid’s iPad to have fun and sing as a whole family. Both kids are musically inclined and whenever possible we try to combine spending time together and sharing hobbies.
#5 Pick Mastery
What do I do best and which hobby shall I try to improve on? I could go back to school and get a teaching or creative writing degree. Both open doors for future endeavors and is something I have thought about over the years.
Technology is a growing part of our lives, and having kids we use our computers, devices and iPhones more than ever before. I am not even sure how to drive without GPS, park without parking sensors or the thousand other things we use our computers for.
Everyone seems Internet and technology savvy. Just look at elementary aged children that can hook up our computers to the flat screen faster than you can bat of an eyelash and figure out most programs in a matter of minutes. Not sure learning the back end of things will help me in the future. Learning how to find the shortcuts to learning new technology may help us older folks out. The Internet is still the best way to find the answers to computer questions.
I also love photography but the same problem arises. With the right tools, and a good camera anyone can make business quality shots.
Building a basic website using a template completely eliminates the job of the web designer so going back to school to know why it works seems silly. I don’t need to know how a watch works to set it.
If I could focus my energy on something that will sustain my interest, that would become my goal. To figure out what I really want to do, who I want to be known as and aim for a degree or a higher education. Of course one year is obviously not enough time to master anything, but if I can use this year to search than perhaps by 2015 I will be closer to becoming… Eva the singer, Eva the politician, Eva the writer, Eva the teacher, Eva the gardener, Eva the website designer, Eva the photographer, Eva the secret agent, Eva the astrologist … or whatever it is that defines me.
#6 Why DO People pick France?
Everyone ends up in southern France eventually…
I want to write stories on my blog about the people that cross our path.
They intrigue me. We left Canada thinking we were so different and brave to change our life so dramatically, and then when we arrive we discover the Languedoc is chock-full of people like us! I want to share the interesting stories of how people end up here My idea came to fruition after recording all the different nationalities we have met and had the privilege to meet.
#7 Start A Fitness Lifestyle
I want to see what a forty-year-old body can do! Like an athlete, I plan to take my beautiful god given body passed the norm, push it to the extreme and see if forty has to be down hill from here or can it get better than ever??
#8 To Learn my Camera like a Professional
Last year we met Canadian Kristen, a lovely lady vacationing with her boyfriend Joel at Le Petit Platane. She took photography in school and kindly showed me the basic settings of my camera. From here I have a growing desire to learn all the settings and take my already beautiful photos to a professional level.
#9 Volunteer Work- Help my friend run for mayor
Opportunities are a funny thing. When you are open to anything, anything does in fact show up. My friend Pierre decided to run for Mayor of Capestang in the March 2014 municipal elections and asked for my help. I jumped on the chance to build up tourism, help create a balanced school system with the introduction of new school rhythms and lastly bring in some much needed government services to Capestang so our community doesn’t have to drive back and forth to Beziers whenever they need to access CPAM or Pole Emploi.
I am no stranger to volunteering, and back home in Canada I did many years on the PAC and the Montessori Society to help build our school community and give the children the best education. I am a big believer in giving back.
The best part of volunteering for the mayor campaign is learning the system and how it works. France is still a mystery to me. There is also a strong incentive to learn the language.
I know Pierre Polard and his family very well, and I believe in the fundamentals he brings to the community of Capestang. Backing someone like him is easy. And if there is anything in my power to help him succeed, I am here. Vote for Pierre Polard!
This also stays consistent with my annual ‘learn something new’ theory. It keeps you young when constantly learning.
At the beginning of each year, I take a close look at my New Years Resolutions from the year past to see how many of my goals I accomplished.
New Year’s Resolutions 2013
It is the season to vow to stop smoking, loose ten pounds and stop yelling at your kids. Do resolutions work for you? For me they most definitely do.
Here is my list from last year…
#1 Finish My Book
I finished my book and had help editing it. Now I want to self publish online after 30 rejection letters from various publishers from around the world. I did manage to find an agent, and a possible Canadian publisher if we moved back. All in all it was a great experience. Now if my work sells and makes us money, that’s just a bonus. I already did what I set out to do.
#2 Refine ESL Class
My Song & Play class is getting better the longer I do it. The kids cannot wait to come each week for their 1h15 class. I am so proud of the children. Some couldn’t say one word in English and after one year know thousands of words. I get unbelievable amount of pleasure and satisfaction playing and singing with these kids. They honestly have no idea they are learning; they are having so much fun.
#3 40 before 40 blog
I managed to compete forty goals before my fortieth birthday. Visit our post 40 before 40 for the complete list.
#4 Learn French
Alfonz and I speak a broken version of French. It is appalling. We finally enrolled in school in September in hopes to improve. The Michel Tomas recordings only take you so far. I can understand most conversations and reached a new goal this year of talking on the phone, which to me is by far the most difficult part of learning a new language.
I have grown out my natural hair colour; mousey brown, with blonde highlights. It took me the whole year and am trying to embrace my true self, the way Mom and Dad made me. On the other hand God invented Hair Colour, so we will see what the future holds. As I try hard not to reinvent myself with yet another new box dye and snip at the hair dresser, I veer away from the hair colour isle at the local Intermarche and duck out whenever I bump into my stylist. If he saw how I have been cutting my own hair he’d be mortified!
We had a bad year in the Languedoc with little bugs eating up our squash and melon crops. They laid eggs in the flowers and when the blooms started to turn to fruit and vegetables they would rot on the vine. It only makes my more determined. This year I plan to buy starter plants from the garden shop instead of ordering my organic seeds online. Yellow beans, tomatoes, herbs and peppers took to the soil and went crazy. Our olives and grapes turned out beautiful as well. Eggplants, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, a variety of squash; sadly did not make it.
I want to keep up my fitness level this year, and take advantage of the pool. My new job keeps me closer to home for the majority of the summer months. I couldn’t be happier about this. It means riding my bike to the grocery store, spending more time with the kids at the beach and keeping on my feet. After my unexpected hysterectomy this year, I have some ground to make up. Six weeks of no lifting or exercise, I feel week, even though I lost a few pounds.
After six months of trying, I can play Angel- By Sarah McLaughlin on the piano and sing at the same time. From here, I am not sure what I want to learn next. Like my singing director said to me, what a shame not to continue, it is just- I want to try so many different things, that taking the time to play the piano well at forty seems silly when obviously I could never become good enough to do anything with it. I think my time is better spent at more promising choices.
#9 Patience With Homework
As the kids improve their language skills, I am happy to report my temper has calmed to a mind roar. The kids have good grades and I hope this keeps up when they reach junior high school.
#10 Make Time To Write
This one was easy. I love to talk, and writing feels good way to talk endless if not to myself. God knows i talk to myself, so why not write it down. I spend at least a few hours each day working on my blog, travel articles and different projects. My rule is 1000 words each day without fail.
#11 Write A Cook Book
Travel, Eat, Repeat is a blog I started with all of my grandmother’s Hungarian Recipes. Once I feel it is time, I will publish it.
I know my goal list year is super short. I have taken on some extra work this year involving property management and feel that this year may not be about self-improvement so much as earning a good living. I need to take what I already love and do, and find a way for the pieces to fall into place.
This year is about believing in the seeds we planted in the last three years. Having blind faith that yes we can accomplish this dream and find our happy ending. I need to give it my all this year, or else 2015 will be about the Hamori family’s new beginning in yet another country.
I let myself go to fate, the stars, the moon and my predestined future that is already written.