An Cailín Rua
THE turn of the year is the cue for most of us to embark on that age-old tradition of self-scrutiny, self-improvement and probably a bit of self-flagellation too. There’s nothing like the start of a fresh year to remind yourself of all your good intentions from a year ago and realise again just how much you’ve failed to make yourself a better person. But although the road to hell is paved with good intentions, there’s no harm in reviewing and recalibrating and starting out again.
As is now customary for the first column of the year I’ll share with you my intentions for the year ahead in the hope that doing so publicly will shame me into achieving great things over the next 12 months, though if previous attempts are anything to go by, it’s highly unlikely.
Anyway without further ado. For 2016 I resolved (as I do every year) to spend less time online and it makes the list again. Difficult when your job revolves around the online and in 2016 success was moderate … okay, poor. I did however spend fewer hours arguing about politics with strangers on the internet which can only be a good thing. This year I’m simply planning to leave the smartphone out of reach at night and read at least one book a month before the ever-growing, unread pile of tomes beside my bed collapses and kills me in my sleep.
Last year I resolved to keep running. I was a rubbish runner then and I’m still a rubbish runner. I did however manage to keep running – until July, when I just stopped for absolutely no reason. Now I’m back at that torturous stage where even a 5km run makes me feel like I’m about to have a coronary and makes everything hurt for two days. To kick-start resolution two I’ve signed up to do 5km a day for the month of January though so by February I’m sure I’ll be marathon ready. Right? If this column fails to appear in two weeks it’ll be because I’ll be lying in a heap somewhere in the middle of Belleek Woods. Send help.
Football and family
Resolution three is to support local. We all know what a challenge it is to earn a living in rural Ireland; but if we don’t support our own, it’s even harder. I’ll be making a bigger effort this year to support local businesses that give so much back to our communities, and also trying to give more time to community events and initiatives. If we want to survive and flourish, it’s up to us to stand up and make it happen and that starts here at home, from the bottom up.
Resolution four is simply to make more time for loved ones. Family and friends are the greatest treasure we possess and those relationships deserve time and investment. More visits, chats, and letters in the post, fewer what-ifs.
Resolution five: take more chances. Life is short – too short – and be it in work, sport, love, jenga, the only things you can truly regret are the things you haven’t tried. Midlife crisis? I don’t know what you’re talking about …
Resolution six: care less about Mayo football. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything ... The faithful are coming around after 2016’s gutting loss and are, incredibly, mad for road again. It all starts again this weekend, so the real resolution then is just to enjoy the journey, cherish the friendships formed on the road, spend less time caring about what’s said about us outside the county and remember we are, in the immortal words of Andy Moran, in this together.
Resolution seven is to write more. I have a long-held fantasy of attempting to write a book of my own so maybe this will be the year to take the plunge. I’m sure you can guess the theme – and if you’re a Mayo GAA supporter, you may even end up with a starring role. Of course, it being Mayo football, there’s bound to be a happy ending. Oh.
It’s sure to be another eventful one, so here’s wishing you and your loved ones a healthy and happy new year. Here’s to 2017!