Lindsay Woods: I decided towards the end of last year, I really didn’t mind who I was

Mere minutes into this bright, shiny New Year; I had already been presented with, via social media, several recipes for green smoothies, 30 minute ‘at home workout’ routines and a myriad of posts on maximising my time management and life in general. And I was already bored of it, writes Lindsay Woods.

We live in an age of ‘experts’. Particularly, online ones. The irony that here I am, waxing lyrical about online experts when I have a hefty digital footprint myself is not wasted on me. However, I can safely say that I have never claimed to be in that category of pseudo advice giver. There is so much noise surrounding us in our daily lives it is now becoming increasingly challenging to discern ‘what’ and exactly ‘who’ we should listen to. That noise bumps up several notches in volume normally around January. So, what changes have I decided to implement to get 2018 off to a rollicking start? None.

In a shocking personal admission, I decided towards the end of last year, that I really didn’t mind who I was. In fact, I got on quite well with her. I went back to basics and learned to filter out the noise. If I felt sluggish, I moved. If I was hungry, I ate. If I made an error in judgement or caused offence, I said ‘sorry’. If I failed, I tried again. My rule of thumb when seeking advice is simple: ask the professionals. The ones with credentials.

I also decided to be content. This was a tricky one. I like nice things. I need all the stuff. All of it. You can tell me material things don’t matter, I know it to be true, really, I do.

But in the week last year where our boiler retired its services, along with the washing machine and a damp stain began to appear in the ceiling of our living room courtesy of the overhead ensuite I found myself coveting the ‘Just In’ section of various online retailers. Surely, that sensational piece of knitwear would ease my pain? At the very least it would offer added insulation in lieu of a functioning source of heat.

I rationalised that it was mere pennies compared to what the boiler would cost and it would be delivered to my door within days by my favourite delivery man (the title of ‘favourite’ rightly acquired due to his diligence in delivering said online purchases in a timely and secure manner). And I deserved it. I deserved all the nice things.

But then, a little voice whispered, ‘Do you really need it?’. Well, no… I did not in fact need it; I wanted it. There it sat, neatly stashed in the little basket icon at the top right of the screen (don’t pretend like you don’t know where it is… I see you with your ‘save now, buy later’ list) tantalisingly taunting, ‘Buy me, buy me, buy meeeeee….’. And then a ‘ping’ on my phone to advise me that my phone bill was due for payment soon.

“The world is against me!” I wailed, while simultaneously shaking my fist in the direction of the boiler. I closed the screen and stamped upstairs to make an attempt at tidying the overflowing cesspit which my clothes called home to. You may know it as the floor. As I rooted and pulled various garments from gymnastic like entanglements I came across a camel coloured mohair affair. Still with its tag attached. I remembered the day I had stumbled across it in-store after unsuccessfully hunting it online for weeks. And there it lay, resigned to a life of dust bunnies and neglect. I removed the tags and pulled it over my head. It was deliciously warming and instantly mood altering.

I remembered the thrill of seeing it folded neatly on the shelf and how I had grasped it before skipping to the till for fear that someone else might secure the precious bounty if I paused for a mere second. How many more hidden treasures lay in that deep and murky pit? Answer: a lot.

After tackling the pile of doom, I opened that app on my phone and deleted my entire wish list. It still stings a bit to think about it if I’m honest. I then returned a call to the man who was arriving the following day to fix the boiler,

“I’ve a bit of good news for you, I’ve been able to source a part which I feel might work…”

The key turned in the front door and my husband walked in.

“That’s a nice jumper. Is it new? I suppose John delivered that today?”

Well Woody, now that you mention it…

— Aida Austin is away


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