A bit like Elvis, my son has now left the building. In his wake he leaves a smoking ruin of a house, a sentimental weeping wreck of a mother and an empty fridge. It's been great, but he needs to get back to Uni-land to take up where he left off. There's work to be done, people to see, Wii games to play and lager to drink, so there's a lot of catching up to do. Not to mention he has a hot date for New Year's Eve. Oh yes.
Me? Well, I'm wandering from room to room surveying the chaos. I haven't done a single bit of housework since before Christmas and, believe me, you can tell. The tree which looked so lovely only a week ago has become a target for walnut and satsuma throwing miscreants (OK, I did it too, but only when drunk and egged on by my naughty children), so most of the needles are now firmly embedded in the carpet and the fairy looks decidedly pissed. Every gold-rimmed plate, dish, crystal wine glass and trifle bowl is washed but stacked in the kitchen, waiting for someone to be arsed to put them away until next time. And right now, that isn't going to be me.
It's going to take me a bit of time to get back into harness, even if I can find one that still fits me. I've stuffed my greedy face for a week, drunk myself silly and grazed continuously 24/7 since Christmas Eve. I've so enjoyed having the family around me and have gone native to a degree which has astounded them as much as me, given that in the past I've had a bit of a reputation for my Hyacinth Bouquet tendencies. I was once called "Mrs. Clean" by an ex-friend. Note the ex. But I haven't once dusted, polished or brought out the 1001 carpet spray, which is a bit of a first for me, given that I usually like things to be just so.
So it's not impossible to change, is it? We can all get a new perspective on life, however many Christmases and New Years we've lived through. We don't have to be shackled by the past, repeat our usual mistakes, run on the same rails as we've always done. Things cannot remain the same if we are to grow and flourish.
If blogging has taught me something, then it's this. Reading about other people's lives, the good and the bad bits, the random and sad bits, has shown me that there is no such thing as "normal" or "standard". Blogs have made me laugh out loud and even cry sometimes, I've ranted and raged occasionally, but some things have been constant - my enjoyment, involvement and interest.
Next year my target is to find a magazine or newspaper editor who will let me write an occasional short column or even contribute regularly in some way. I am starting to collect material for a book, and I've submitted another short story for consideration. I've realised that I just need to write. Don't let me give up, I'm counting on you to give me a swift kick up the arse if I look as if I'm going off the boil, and any suggestions about how I go about reaching my goal would be welcome. If you think I don't have a cat in hell's chance, please be gentle with me as my self-belief is delicate, but I am open to constructive criticism and suggestions.
In the meantime, give me your own aspirations for 2008, I am sure they are going to be impressive given what I know about a lot of you already.
Happy New Year everyone.