2015 surprised me. It gave me one huge trauma, a heart-full of grief and a deluge of disappointment. But then good things started sprouting up everywhere.
I will be honest and reveal that at the beginning of the year I was struggling. I won’t go into any of the painful details but painful it was, and as my husband was away much of the time, creativity became my strength and my comfort.
As I write this, in the tired mind-meanderings between Christmas and New Year I realise that 2015 has in fact been ridiculously full of achievements – probably more than any other year of my life. I designed myself a website, recorded a CD with Saffron, played harp in some wonderful venues (this is us in the Great Hall at Barrington Court a few weeks ago), sang solos, wrote stories, wrote a novel, won prizes (plural!) for the stories and won prizes (plural!) for the novel. I just need to plant a forest and that’s nearly everything ticked on my bucket list.
2016 is bound to see the addition of a few more items to the list, and with any luck I’ll be able to tick some of those too. I think I’ve learned an important lesson about achievement. Like all good lessons, it’s something I already knew deep down but it had to be spelled out and reiterated many times before it became functional.
Almost every time I perform with the harp in public, people (women, yes, but often men too) come up to me and say “I’ve always wanted to play the harp!” Depending on my mood I might say “Yes, I’m lucky aren’t I!” or “Yes, it’s lovely, isn’t it!”, or I might say “Well, why don’t you, then?” If it’s the latter, they’ll answer with a “How long does it take?” question. To which the answer is, of course, “Well, that depends how much you practise!”
Every year since I started the harp one of my New Year's resolutions has been to practise every day. But it's only over the last couple of years that I've kicked myself into action and actually done it. And - WOOMF! Results!
There you have it. With harp-playing and with writing it is exactly the same. You can dream all you like but the important thing is to just do it, and to do lots and lots of it. Some call it hard work but I prefer to look at it like this. It may feel like hard work at the outset. But the harder you work, the better you get, the better you get the more you enjoy it and the more you enjoy it the less it seems like work.
You know that expression: if life throws lemons at you, make lemonade. I’d like to stretch the metaphor and add my own tip: get fascinated and engrossed in the lemonade-making process, be passionate about lemonade and make more lemonade than you would ever have believed possible! You’ll be surprised at how much you achieve. And at how happy you can be.