Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fresh Starts

I don’t usually do New Year resolutions, but this year I have started three new things.  And it feels good.
Fresh starts are any changes to our life that we see as helpful for us. They might be big or they might be small, it doesn’t matter too much. The main thing is that they are new, different to what we’ve been used to doing, and that we see them as constructive and positive. Fresh starts are particularly helpful if we’ve been feeling fed up or depressed. As Tirrill Harris (who’s written a lot about this) puts is, they ‘herald new hope – an indication that there might be a way forward’.
My three fresh starts are improving my Spanish, learning the piano and – best of all – wood chopping.

Hablo poquito espa┼łol
For years I’ve been promising myself that I’ll improve my Spanish, so that I don’t feel a complete idiot next time we’re in Granada, and I can put more than three words together without having to check in my dictionary.  Well now I’ve got started, thanks to an interactive website called LoMasTV. I can watch and listen to loads of music and conversations, really get my ears tuned to the way people speak, and then check whether I’ve understood what’s going on. And I can do it anywhere there’s internet access, so it’s great when I’m travelling.

When the saints go marching in
I’ve also been telling myself for ages that, one day, I will learn to play the piano again. That day has arrived. Sue’s bought me a DVD –based piano course for Christmas, produced by a guy called Will Barrow. It starts right at the very beginning, which is where I need to be.  I last had a piano lesson when I was 11, so I’m more than a bit rusty! And it’s friendly, simple and non-threatening – also very important for me.  So far I’ve learnt three chords and the basic tune of ‘When the saints go marching in’.  Just 15 more DVDs to go, but it’s a start. 
One day I will be able to play the aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations. It’ll be a while yet before I get there, but it’s good to have an aim.

The joy of axe
We’ve recently installed a wood-burning stove in one of our living rooms.  Lots of warmth and a focal point for the room.  But most importantly for me, the perfect opportunity to show off my (previously unrecognised) lumberjack skills.  Our friends Vanessa and Ray have just bought me a magnificent axe. You can now find me at weekends swinging it merrily out in the back garden.
Believe me, there are few better things in life than splintering a log to smithereens with a couple of deft thwacks .....

Enough about me. What about you? Have you made any fresh starts recently? 
They might be small like mine, or they might be big ones – like a new relationship, a new job, or moving house.  Let us know what’s new and good for you.
Like we did with our well-being recipes a while back, maybe we can build up a store of fresh start events.