My grandmother used to be quite passionate about New Year’s Day – it was, she told me, a crossroad. Here we could pause a little in our life and make some decisions about the year ahead.

“What you do on New Year’s Day” she said “was an indication of how you would spend the rest of the year.”

I have to confess I was not impressed, as some of the most indolent of New Year’s days (especially those after some highly debauched new year’s eves!!) heralded in some of the most hectic and stimulating years. So I am not totally convinced that she got it right this time – however I am not one to push my luck, and so I do try to spend a little time considering the year ahead – not too much, as one doesn’t want to get depressed on such a day.

Truthfully, I have usually made my plan of how I would like to see the year progress – after all, traditionally Trischel Pty Ltd holds a board meeting within the first week of January and we do have to have things like budgets, training calendars etc prepared and produced, so there is a fair amount of pre-planning undertaken well before the fireworks, sparklers and champagne cocktails get going.

But I like to spend a little time today considering my personal goals – and I like to do it in the garden. I find the garden gives me the opportunity to put things in perspective, so to speak, and get back in touch with the reality of living.

I spent the latter few years of my service life as a reserve soldier, and while I was often engaged on full time duty, I also ran (with the husband) a self-sufficient small holding. I was therefore a great admirer of John Seymour and identified with his theory that there are two types of existence, the self-reliant (where we can do things for ourselves) and the organisational (where we pay and expect others to do things for us).

Being on a small-holding meant that we came into the first category and it is quite surprising how resourceful we humans can be when we have to. And yet, as John pointed out, more and more of us within society are falling into the second. We expect others to provide us with our basic needs; we are loosing the ability to do things for ourselves because we no longer know how and probably have no idea where to start.

But sometimes all we need to do is to find something that adds a personal touch to our lives; grow some of our own vegetables perhaps. There is immense satisfaction in the process from planting seeds to the gathering of the crop. Although I have a small urban garden now, I have been determined to maintain growing some of my own food, just for the sheer delight in picking something fresh straight out of the garden.

Being well drilled by my farm-raised grandmother I am able to present the husband with the pickled beetroot that he loves so much; I have the best Chilli Chutney in Queensland; and my Lemon Curd and Cumquat Marmalade are to die for!!!!! And I use the produce that I (or friends – thanks Trish) have grown at home. Immense satisfaction and a smug air of self-reliance fills the air!!!

So perhaps what I am trying to say, is that life is more than the ‘getting’ it is also the ‘giving’ and that means giving purpose to our lives again. In the mad rat race it is all to easy to forget about us – we can spend so much time planning for the business; goal setting for achievement and reaching out to our friends and families that we overlook the most needing person of all – that’s ourselves.

Do you have a special place where you feel peaceful and relaxed? Mine is the garden; and the scent of the jasmine mingling with the perfume of the roses is a heady mix. But it gives me time to think about my personal crossroads.

What joys do I want to create in my life this year – what personal satisfactions can I work to achieve. Shall I spend a little more time making jewellery this year; or maybe I can pick up that needlepoint piece I have had on the go for five years or more – or shall I work on something completely new?

The possibilities are endless, and I shall have to take a cup of coffee to the garden to consider my options!

Because – just in case my grandmother was right – I don’t want to spend the rest of the year sitting at this computer.

And nor do you – so switch off and find something beautiful, stimulating and satisfying to do in the rest of the day – you can’t be too careful when you come to the crossroads.

Happy New Year – and may your year bring you everything that you hope and plan for.

Michele @ Trischel

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