I can’t believe it is the end of 2013 already. This year has whizzed past and I remember this time last year like it was yesterday. I set resolutions and I generally stick to them (can you believe it!) so these are my three goals for 2014:
1. Back away from my addiction to worry
My primary resolution is to tame myself to stop fearing the future. I would like to resign as general manager of my universe and trust God more, particularly with the things over which I have little control.
For the first time in my life, I feel as if I am pouring my time and energy into a chalice rather than down a drain. I am the most calm, fulfilled and content I have ever been which is ironic because, since having a baby, I have never worried more about the things I cannot control. There is a scene in the movie Erin Brokovich where Erin’s biker boyfriend congratulates her on her great kids. She replies, ‘Thanks but I am sure I will fuck them up eventually.’
The glass-half-empty side of me can’t help stressing that this peace is too good to be true and something will come along to ‘fuck it up eventually.’
I fear anything that could pop my little Swiss bubble. Corrie Ten Boom said that worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a centre of fear. I fear cancer or any type of serious illness. I fear accidents or freak tragedies.
The problem with me is that my head is a lot like a CS Lewis wardrobe – it looks relatively simple and unexciting from the outside, but inside it there’s Narnia. This means that when I read about Michael Schumacher’s ski fall or Burry Stander’s cycling accident or someone suffering from some kind of illness, I empathize and internalize their pain in an unhealthy and unhelpful way. I have such an overactive imagination that I begin to imagine the same thing happening to someone I love and this makes me feel unhinged and light-headed, as you do when you look down from an extremely tall building.
I know I can’t ban Alastair from skiing and cycling and, while I can do my best to encourage my family to live and eat healthily, I have no power to 100% prevent illness from touching someone I care about. I need to just chillax max. I can attest to the fact that worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.
When you become a parent, your emotional life is full of all sorts of bizarre paradoxes, like you can be contented and fulfilled but also feel so anxious and fearful too. It is just that when you have a child, your heart seems to live outside your body and you experience a feeling that is not love. It is beyond love. It is something that suffuses my entire being and this adoration can suffocate, blind and control me. I know I must lay down my personal Isaac – my future and that of my family – on the altar. I need to act as if God is God and I am not. I know I must accept God’s love for me, believe in the truth of God’s promises and commit my life to Him.
Rick Warren said, ‘Worry is worthless. It is stewing without doing. It changes neither your past, nor your future. It just wastes today.’ Yes, I totally agree. Carpe diem, dammit.
2. Make more effort to eat a plant-based, whole food diet
Ever since Megan started eating at 6 months old, I’ve become interested in food. I have read all sorts of books and articles on nutrition and I find it endlessly fascinating. I have loved reading about the industrialization of the food chain and I am making a concerted effort to buy local and eliminate all processed foods from our diet. I only cook with coconut oil and I try to buy organic when it is not too expensive.
I am absolutely convinced that what we eat matters because Megan’s poos tell me so. When I feed her fresh home-made meals, her poos are chunky, loose and fluffy, as if they have been whipped. They don’t smell too bad either. When she eats dairy or any kind of processed baby food, her poos are stiff and smooth and have a plasticine texture that makes a cast of her bottom.
I’ve learned that dairy is overrated. The West obsesses about getting enough calcium and eating enough dairy yet the West also has the highest instance of osteoporosis. Our bodies are too acidic. We eat far too much animal protein and we bombard our bodies with sugar.
My aim for 2014 is to cut down on dairy and sugar and replace white rice and other refined foods with grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice. I want to eat more nuts. I also want to eat at least two vegetarian dinners a week.
Alastair won’t be charmed because eating is his hobby. In fact, eating is a borderline sexual experience for him and, when I cook well, he says things along the lines of ‘this meal is orgasmic’ and ‘this dish is making love to my taste buds’.
I can see that if I reduce meat, sugar, dairy and other refined foods, Alastair will object vehemently. So, in 2014, I will get creative and aim to find at least one plant-based, whole foods meal that makes love to his taste buds.
3. Read the Bible in a year
Every year my old church in London runs a campaign where everyone reads a portion of the Bible each day so that, by the end of a year, you have read the whole thing. I want to do it this year.
It is not so much that I want to read the Bible, but it is more that I want to spend less time pawing at my keyboard and trawling the internet. I want to discipline myself to do some activities each day that are more grounding and sustaining. When you have an energetic baby, life is a blur and I want to do something, even just for 5 minutes, each day that is soul-related. I think this resolution ties in to resolution number one and may give me some freedom and perspective.
So those are my resolutions. Hold me to account, please.