I don’t think we have ever faced a new year with so much uncertainty. Every new year carries with it the promise of new hopes and plans but usually they are all within a well worn framework of life that has been established over the years. Usually plans have already been made, diary events are already pencilled in. But not this new year. This new year, more than ever, feels like stepping into the unknown.
This time last year I had no idea of the level of change that was about to come into our lives. It took me by surprise and even now five months later I am still reeling from it. The change itself was not bad, on the contrary it was needed and necessary, but even so it was bewildering and has left me feeling both freedom and yet at times despondency. I find myself with so many questions in my head.
Was it worth it?
What was it all for?
Did any of it matter?
Was the sacrifice worth it?
Is there a bigger purpose?
Did I get it wrong?
Could I have done better?
How do we move forward?
These questions all spin off down their own rabbit holes of further questions that I do not have the energy to follow. But the question that plays on my mind most is simply: what’s next?
What’s next? We have been on a certain journey for nearly twenty years and it seems that that journey is ended. What’s next? Since our big transition over the summer we have been in a self imposed lockdown as a family as we adjust to the changes in our daily lives. This has been a pleasant and much needed experience, but as we are about to step into a new year it seems like a good time to start and probe outside of ourselves again.
Over the last few years one of Mrs Six’s mantras has been “simplify”. This seems more appropriate than ever. As a family of six our house has reached what I call peak “tut capacity”. Our house feels constantly full and messy, partly because we are natural hoarders, partly because we home educate our four girls and partly because we have just accumulated a lot of stuff. One of our big challenges in 2018 is going to be to get rid of “stuff”. This feels so daft to write less than a week after we brought a load of new “stuff” into our house for Christmas. We were both challenged by “The minimalists” documentary on Netflix, and while we may not be able to go as far as others have done, we both feel it is the sort of change we need. Alongside this is the strange conversations we have found ourselves having regarding moving house. I say strange because we have been so happy here and are so ingrained into this house and yet we both have moments when we wonder if it is time to change. It is just the beginning of a conversation but it is one that may become significant over the coming months.
Another desire that we have found growing inside us over the last few years and especially over the last year has been to travel. In eighteen years of marriage Mrs Six and I have never been abroad together. There are lots of reasons for this: finance, work, opportunity, family, choice. And while I have never minded before, I now find myself wanting to see and experience more of this world. I never thought that as I approached forty years of age I would be so ignorant of the world beyond my tiny corner. This also feels like something I want our family to adventure in. I want my children to see and experience more than they have done so far. How we do this, I do not know. We currently have less income than we have had for ten years and I am the only one with a passport. Our budget is tight and does not include a staycation let alone a vacation. But it’s on our hearts and so we shall see what we can do.
Both Mrs Six and I would be quick to say that we are not creative. But this comes from a far too narrow view of creativity. Mrs Six has been faithfully blogging away in our little corner of the internet, drawing you all into the ins and outs of our family life. Most of my creativity has been in the crafting and delivery of sermons over the last few years, but that has now come to an end and I find myself wondering what next. I have often wondered if I could write a book but feel less certain now than ever before. For now I will attempt to add my thoughts to this blog a bit more regularly.
Finally it feels like this next year is a time to tie up loose ends. I have been undertaking a part time degree in Theology over the past six years and while I have been at the point of dropping out at least twice a year, finally the end is almost in sight. Where that will lead, if anywhere, I do not know but it will be good to finish.
I do not know. I have some thoughts, ideas and dreams but how they become real I do not know. I do know that I am ready for some change. I am ready for something new and I do not want to be in the same place this time next year.
Here goes everyone,
Happy new year.