A magical mist coming through shadowed pine trees and my slow New Year intentions for 2019.

And just like that we’re back and into a new year – Happy 2019 to you, lovely reader. How was your Christmas break – are you feeling rested and ready to crack on? Perhaps you’re feeling apprehensive about what the coming year holds? I totally hear you.

I deliberately took a longer break this time and I well and truly shut down. It seems I really needed it. The fact that I did not think about or lifted a finger to work is a testament to just how needed it was. I felt truly present with my family without keeping half an eye on my inbox. I used the camera not attached to my phone for a change when we went out for walks in the low winter sun.

But. In the days following New Year’s Eve, a creeping feeling of anxiety started to take over. I hadn’t put 2018 to bed and set new goals for the year ahead. I ended up a crumpled mess, sat on the sofa in the dark, trying to pick apart the last ten years. Where was I going? What was the point? I’ve never been one for resolutions and I find the bombardment of ‘New Year, New You’ memes totally unrealistic and unattainable. So why was I worried that by not making plans I was setting myself up to fail? We’re all just figuring it out as we go along, aren’t we? The answer is that I didn’t want to stand still, get left behind, to feel regret at not having tried that little bit harder.

Here’s the thing though. And I’m telling myself as much as I’m telling you. Success is relative. What’s top of someone else’s list might not even feature on yours. And I could go into the depths of how time is a man-made construct which only serves to create more pressure and anxiety…So let’s look at it this way instead. Take a slower approach and give yourself permission to ditch the pressure. I’m a great believer in putting your intentions out there and being consistent – when the time is right things find a way to align. Whether you’re into Oprah style visualisation boards or prefer to write down all those plans you have in mind, bring them into being. I’ll share a few of mine:

• To continue travelling. Scandinavia especially. It’s likely I’m the only Nordic design writer who has never been to Scandinavia.

• Crack on with #TheChathamHouse renovations. Hallway next – be gone pink walls!

• Continue to develop my photography skills and get to grips with realistic rendering for interiors. That’s a bit niche!

• Take at least two family holidays this year. No point writing about slow living if I don’t live it.

• To take on new clients for home and property staging.

• Continue running on my decrepit knees however short the distances!

Keep on keeping on. Nothing will get you closer to where you want to be than just showing up every day and doing the work. It’s as simple and frustratingly difficult as that. Good, old-fashioned graft. And sure, much of the year will be shrouded in mystery but being open to those unpredictable, left-field experiences are what makes being along for the ride exciting.

And the photo above? It was a magical, misty moment I captured in the right place at the right time on a family walk at Bedgebury Pinetum. Had I not turned my head to look down this path, I’d have missed it.

Happy New Year.

Tiff x

Photography © Tiffany Grant-Riley

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