Happy New Year… to me! And, of course, to you.

While I wish you all a wonderful and happy 2012, I hold a lot of hope for my own endeavours in the coming year. Yes, I care about myself and my own achievements. Sounds selfish? Then read on. Looking back at 2011 I can see that I wasn’t as productive as I could have been, in the directions I wanted to be. Part of the problem was that I got sucked into other people’s ‘problems’ and spent time thinking about solutions when I could have been progressing my own aspirations.

Still sounds selfish? That’s exactly what those who drain our time want us to think. For one reason or another they bombard us with often exaggerated conundrums and pessimistic outlooks, in order to gain our attention. Once our gaze has turned from our own projects and on to theirs, they suddenly appear to be vulnerable and need our help. Before we know it, we are doing the work for them and neglecting our own. Stretching ourselves so thinly that we become invisible. We are being what we are told is ‘good’ and ‘wholesome’; being selfless. Thinking about ourselves and not attending to their needs is, therefore, from this perspective, selfish and ‘bad’.

If the above sounds harsh, it isn’t supposed to. The problem is, we are programmed to resist being selfish, that is, thinking about ourselves. In reality, it’s a balancing act between making sure our own work is done first then helping others. I understand this as equanimity, the calmness of understanding that allows the maturity to accept the transience of reality in the moment, and see that our place in the world is as valid as any other person’s regardless of their social status and belief system. Many people expend all their energy ‘helping’ others then complain that they are not succeeding in their own lives; however, the simple life equation to remember here is that we can’t effectively help others if we don’t care for our selves first.

So, in 2012, I’ll be doing my own thing. I’ll be looking after my own physical, mental and spiritual well being before I even attempt to assist others. Anything else would be hypocracy. I’ll be swimming and walking. I’ll be writing two novels, lots of short stories and finishing my self-help book. I’ll be resisting the drama and manipulation of other people’s lives, avoiding bigoted and judgmental, closed-minded people and keeping my own counsel, believing that I know what is best for my own life course. Much of my own unhappiness in 2011 was caused by others telling me what I ‘should’ be doing/saying/feeling, and my old programmed responses jumping to my demise as I make too many allowances for other people who don’t grant me the same. I’m old enough now to have developed my own moral code and to evaluate my own situation, and that of my offspring, and it’s pretty good. Therefore, I don’t need to fix what isn’t broken, and I can concentrate on myself.

Selfish? Yes. This will be a year where I take care of myself. This will be a year where I really say what I think, do what I want to do and stand up for my own beliefs. Some would call that freedom.