Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Merry New Year

Did you spot the use of the word "merry" instead of the word "happy" ? Don't you think it has more of a jolly, festive feel to it? More oomph?

I love new year. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new chapter. All the diaries I have going back to the dark ages, have my new year resolutions listed on January 1. The fact that I break all these resolutions by lunchtime, is neither here nor there. It's all about the intention, isn't it?

Among the usual intentions of being a perfect wife, brilliant cook, attentive daughter and a mother who doesn't embarrass her own, my list includes writing two books this year, getting a million twitter followers and 50,000 Facebook "likes"(just kidding). Oh, and I'm going to write a blog a day, comment on a gazillion blogs a day ... (also just kidding - who has the time?)

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of resolutions they make. A friend of mine bought me a copy of "The Enneagram Made Easy" by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele. I'd never even heard of an enneagram but it's been life changing for me. (Click this link to find your type).

In a nutshell, it's a guide to the basic nine different personality types and it took my family Christmas experience to a whole new level this year. For the first time, I understood my exuberant sister who is exhausting to be around because she is a type "7" The Adventurer. She has to pack everything into her day in case she misses something. Her life is FUN. I just thought she had ADD.  My daughter is a type "1" - The Perfectionist. Her home is spotless, she's never late, writes her thank you letters the same day and tends to be a tad critical.  I was worried she was obsessive compulsive or that I was just a slattern but no, not at all! My mother is a type "9" The Peacemaker and irritates all of us for disagreeing with everything anyone says all of the time because she has to present another point-of-view. Example, "I think I'll put on another jumper, I'm freezing cold," and she'll say, "Why? It's not cold." But now I know! Being contrary is part of her nature. My husband is a type "4" - The Romantic and someone who is obviously a romantic but incredibly intense and constantly questioning life and reasons Why We Are Here. Now I just leave him to figure it out all on his own. I'm a type "2" The Helper, someone who has to ... help and meddle. I also tend to exaggerate and be overdramatic (who, me?) and someone who can't say no. I knew there was a reason why I couldn't refuse that extra mince pie.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see how these different types interact in my family. (And I'm only picking the main ones). Add in gale force winds, sideways rain, flooding and power cuts and you would have the recipe for a drawing room murder. But not this time! This time we all hooted with laughter as we recognized the "type" characteristics in each other. This was particularly true during the endless board and card games we played whilst being stuck indoors.

Obviously, this new discovery plays a big part in developing my characters as I write my current book. Yes, environment and upbringing are huge factors but also, sometimes we are just who we are.

If this post seems scattered, it's because I am writing it at 5 am and about to catch another plane to Utah to spend the New Year with my in-laws.  I got home last night at 9 pm (that's 4 am UK time) from the UK and now I live in Portland, it took me literally 24 hours door-to-door. A 200 mile drive to Heathrow, a 9 hour flight from Heathrow to Chicago, a 4 hour flight from Chicago to Portland (headwinds and no, there is no direct flight to Portland from London). But I was determined to not miss the first post in January!  I can't! It's my new year resolution.

Here's wishing you all a truly merry, healthy, prosperous and spectacular 2014.

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