Happy New Year! Mine started 11 hours earlier than it usually does, watching the fireworks display at Nelson Bay from across the water at Hawks Nest, New South Wales, although I admit I made the most of the time difference to get ahead on my New Year planning.
I always find the New Year very cathartic; a reminder to reset my objectives for the year, more so than, say, my birthday. A new year is almost a licence to forget the old one and get on with what lies in front instead of dwelling on the past.
Certainly 2013 was tricky. A year in which I had changes at work, and at home too as Cost Centre #2 left school, leaving CC#3 the only one still in the nest full time. The year had some happy memories: the publication of my careers book in paperback, returning to Edinburgh with my show, the colleagues who supported me through the structural changes that we undertook in the business. But I look back on the year with more than a degree of mental and physical exhaustion. So I am happy to have left it behind and got going on 2014.
One thing I have thought of starting this year was tweeting. I do have a Twitter handle – @mrsmoneypennyft – but have never tweeted. People can be vicious enough about me on Twitter as it is without me giving them any ammunition. But maybe I am being too thin-skinned? Perhaps I should tweet anyway? This could be the year in which I embrace social media.
Yet I don’t think I am ready to start a Facebook page, and I am continuing my campaign to remove all traces of myself from LinkedIn, because I have enough trouble communicating with people I already know, let alone ones I have never heard of who want to know me. If I am to start tweeting, then I will do so this weekend.
Each year I like to set myself challenges and push boundaries, and this weekend I will have embarked on the first stage of a tour of Australia in a single-engine Cessna – Mr M and his golf clubs in tow. Well, the golf clubs will be with me – Mr M may well have to join me in Alice Springs and miss the first three days because they clash with the Sydney Test Match.
Once upon a time I might have been offended and offloaded his golf clubs out of the plane over the Simpson Desert but, after 25 years of marriage, I am resigned to cricket coming higher up his list of priorities than pretty well anything else. The golf clubs weigh 11.5kg. (There, that is definitely a sign of marital closeness – how many wives know how much their husband’s golf clubs weigh?)
This year will be a big one for all of the Cost Centres. CC#1 will graduate, and with what class of degree? I believe in incentive pay, and have said I will repay the fee part of his student loan if he gets the same class of degree, or better, as I did. So far he is on track, so that may prove expensive.
CC#2 will start at Imperial College in September, and who knows what he will make of attending university in London. Still, at least he will be a 20-minute walk from my office, with its fridge full of food. And CC#3 will turn 16 towards the end of the year. Perhaps this will finally be the birthday when he stops setting up rifle ranges along our first-floor corridor with targets printed out from the internet and Sellotaped to shoeboxes for him to use his latest BB gun on. That might be a vain hope – I only persuaded him to move his soft toys to the attic last month.
And for Mr M? I predict even greater success than before with the Oxfordshire cricket U14s who are lucky enough to have him as their coach. He and I are both waiting with bated breath to see how the change of tenancy goes in the pub that we live next door to, hoping that we will coexist with the new tenants as well as we have done with the current ones for the past five years. This is not least because we hope to see in 2015 on UK time, in the bar of that pub. Eleven hours after Australia.