2015: Time to Focus

Christmas Collage

Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful day, and are feeling as full as you should be of cheese, roasted parsnips, tangerines, turkey or whatever the tradition is in your house.

You can see from the photo above that our current traditions are chunky socks, handwritten letters to Santa, ugly but loved tree decorations, stockings, apples and cherries… Oh and crackers, which are sold here as ‘bon bons;’ but will always be crackers to me.

We started with Eggs Benedict, and I surprised myself with some pretty good hollandaise sauce and perfectly poached eggs. (Actually no, we started at 6am with stockings in bed, but I hadn’t had my coffee at that stage, so…) We had roast pork and potatoes, fresh peas and plenty of champagne. This year it was just the three of us, and it was the calmest Christmas Day I can ever remember. Neither DorkySon nor I got out of our pyjamas all day.

I was super touched by the reaction to my Word of the Year post last week. It was nice taking the time to reflect on 2014, and to read how you all are feeling about your year just past. I have spent every day since chewing over my year for 2015. I have to-ed and fro-ed and daydreamed and drawn mandalas and scribbled notes to myself and tried words on for size and found many them lacking. Thank you for sharing yours, you have all given me a lot to think about…

I thought about STRIVE but it was just too aggressive for me. Too rargh. I am a hard worker but I am not a striver – it conjured up images of locking myself in a room to write and write – STRIVE DAMN IT! – leaving my boys to starve from lack of love and affection. Not going to happen. No strivers here.

I tried BLOSSOM and I tried SHINE. They both came close. I imagined myself walking into a room, blossoming and shining and dazzling and doing a ton of other sparkly, beautiful things. But they didn’t feel right for me this year either. They felt too passive, and too superficial. 2015 is not a year about how other people see me, it is a year about how I see myself.

BALANCE was my number two choice, but it still felt a bit too much like I was willing to just let life happen. Balance can be such a cop out. Like the BBC still have to ask a climate change sceptic or a UKIP candidate on in the name of ‘balance’. Like it would give me a get-out clause if something got tough in one area of my life, I could just scooch myself over to another area, all in the name of balance. No. I want to make 2015 a good one, and I know I need to work at it.

So. I have chosen FOCUS. I like it for several reasons. It is a word that implies effort on my part. It implies choices – that I will have to focus on one thing and prioritise it over another. I will have to choose important things to focus on, and let unimportant things fall by the way side.

BUT – and this is a big and necessary but – it is an open word. It holds equal validity whether I am focusing on a piece of work, or a jigsaw puzzle with DorkySon, or a night out with DorkyDad, or a good book, or cooking dinner, or a song on the radio. It is a word that encourages me to let go of distractions, that encourages me to be very present in every moment. As a gigantic procarastinator, I think it will be a helpful word. I think it will make me concentrate more.

It also reminds me of the importance of a visual word. My poor, lovely camera has barely made it out of the bag in this last year – just a couple of times during holidays. One of the reasons that photography became so important to me was because it gave me an understanding of focus – of the difference between zooming in on a small, close object to the exclusion of all others and of focusing widely and trying to see everything in front of me equally clearly.

That’s a good nudge to take up photography again. To apply the lessons of photography to life. And perhaps to apply the lessons of life to photography too.

FOCUS is not a sexy word. It is not a fancy one. But I feel like it will do me well, in 2015.

Today, I focused on family. I was in a gigantic crabby Appleton of a mood this morning, but DorkyDad prodded me out of the house. I left my phone behind, slapped some suncream on, packed some snacks and drinks just in case. We took a wrong turning in Kingston, having failed to find a garden bench. We found ourselves on one of those ridiculous steep, winding Tassie roads that only goes in one direction, and will take you twenty miles wrong before you can right yourself. At least you get treated to some pretty views while you grumble about whose fault the wrong turn was.

Then we saw a side of Mount Wellington that we had never seen before. We walked through Huonville in the sun, and DorkySon had a two-buck sausage sizzle sandwich for lunch. We bumped into a colleague of DorkyDad and caught up on her Christmas news. We stumbled into an antique shop and finally found the CD shelves we’ve been hunting for the last eight months. They will be delivered on Tuesday.

We drove up the road to Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. Tasted our first Tassie cider. And a cheese board. And a slice of apple pie too because why the heck not? DorkySon’s new teacher was there – we had a chat with her – a wee walk around the museum and some photos.

We came home. There was still time for a nap, and some Lego, and a baked potato for dinner. Such simple happiness.

The thing I am learning, already, about focus is that it means doing one thing at a time, and doing it better.


I’m going to do it better. Even the wrong turns are going to lead to good adventures and apple pie.

See you there?

17 responses

  1. Good choice of word, I like it. Your Christmas Day sounds lovely, I look forward to lazy ones, we are still at the very energetic toddler still needing a nap but also needs exercise so bedtime isn’t very late, so we played on the beach, cold but sunny. I think my word will be care. It was going to be simple as I want to simplify life and home a bit. But 2015 scares me a bit as it involves Big Things like playgroup and nursery for my funny little boy, so I choose care, to care for us all in these transitions and to care more for our home and get rid of the clutter. Here’s to a wonderful 2015 and lots more serendipitous adventures for you and your family.

  2. Yes that’s me too.Although for it’s just not focus, it’s seeing things through.I’m very much an ideas person, full of enthusiasm to start things but I get distracted and don’t see them through.Another one of my faults is putting off things.The most silliest things I fear and loathe, I seem to put off and I realise how much time I wasted not doing it now.

  3. Focus is perfect. We all need it; you just zeroed in to tell us.

    Glad to hear we will see more from your camera this year!

    Also, happy to report that Christmas was a pyjama day for Mark and me, as well. Today, too.

    All happiness to you, my DorkyFriends!

  4. Fabulous, I love it and embracng it already, go Ruth. Sounds like you had a perfectly marvellous day. Mich x

  5. Love focus as, well… a focus word!
    Mine this year is Energised. That’s how I want to feel the most. Full of life, love, inspiration, energy. Not just trying to balance – something I think it the new ideal over perfection. An impossible one at that!
    Here’s to 2015 being fantastic, full of focus and energy! 🙂

  6. Great choice of word. I’m sure it will lead you well in 2015. xx PS I’m a little jealous of the chunky socks – there is something about wearing pjs and socks on a Christmas night but it’s just too hot here. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ll ever wear socks again! xx

  7. I’ve yet to start finding my word or unravelling 2015 but focus is the word that keeps popping into my head already so can totally understand its appeal – not sure if I’ll end up with it as my word but it seems a good place to start – good luck with yours and happy 2015

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  10. Focusing in on the present moment and what you are doing there and then is such a great idea – I’ll bet you’ve found greater peace of mind and calm in doing so. One thing at a time – lovely! Ps. I love eggs benedict – your Christmas sounded divine! X

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  12. Great word. I love the openness of it and I love it’s relation to photo taking too. I too have a new camera but nine times out of ten its my phone I snap with. Must learn to use the proper one properly!

  13. It’s a great word – suggestive of drive and vision, as well as just wandering around and living for the now. I’m up for a bit of focusing this year too. And not least because I’ll have a few hours to myself during the week, for the first time in years. Tiny children and focus haven’t been compatible in my world so far!

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