Just call me Hildegard.
So, I survived the training and, of course, it in no way fulfilled my fears. No one cried, darkest secrets remained buried and there were some very useful pointers to take away from it and put into immediate effect. Admittedly, there was one reading from Chicken Soup for the Soul, which made me twitch, not least because I’ve heard at least one other version of the same inspiring story and now suspect it’s entirely apocryphal and was created merely as a way of getting a message across with added cheese. I chose not to mention this at the time.
We have homework before the final day of the course on Feb 10, part of which is to appreciate 50 things a day. 50! I’ve set up a spreadsheet, but it’s very slow going. Mr W suggested appreciating 50 authors and 50 cheeses, and it may well come to that. There’s a whole host of things I appreciate regularly anyway, from the cats to central heating (spend a week in February when you’ve run out of domestic oil and you quickly appreciate heating), to coming home to an empty house on a Friday night with episode 2 of Wolf Hall to watch. But still, getting to 50 is a bit of a slog.
(We are all watching Wolf Hall, right? There will be a huge, Thomas Cromwell shaped gap in my life when vol 3 is complete in all its inevitable incarnations.)
Another bit of homework was to write up our visions and share them. These were points that would identify the best six months of our lives, as a sort of positive thinking/empowerment/take responsibility for your own life activity. I don’t mind that approach, because I find people who make poor decisions and then whine about the consequences and act as if life has it in for them entirely punch worthy. Anyway, this was my vision:
1. I’ve just moved into my lovely three bedroom cottage with garden. It is off road, for cat safety, and in a village which doesn’t have street lights. The previous owners were sensible people so there are built in bookshelves on every spare wall. All my furniture fits properly, there’s an open fire in the sitting room, an Aga in the kitchen and wooden or tiled flooring throughout. The village is simultaneously in the middle of nowhere and yet close enough to a reasonable city to provide shopping and theatre. Miraculously, said cottage is in entirely livable condition.
2. Which is just as well, because I’ve been accepted on a part time PhD course. It’s being fully funded by some generous organization and the Bodleian has just renewed my card.
3. When I’m not in the library, I’m doing enough exercise to be in good shape to run a 10k. (My promise to run the Town & Gown is haunting me.)
4. And it doesn’t matter that I don’t have time to read fiction any more, because I’ve finished reading volume 3 of Proust (yes, this did feel like the most unrealistic item on the list.)
5. Also, I’ve cracked making croissants from scratch and getting the texture right.
6. Just before I go on holiday. Probably to the US.
7. Which I can do because all is going well at work, with my team shooting the lights out and me being pretty well regarded for whatever it is I do at the time.
Duly shared. But, if anyone is interested in turning this best six months thing into a meme,(cough, Emily, cough) do play along. It’s been ages since we had a good meme.