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big knickers, thinking small.

For the love of God, don't say it. Shush! Zip it! If anyone close to you ~ a friend, neighbour, work colleague ~ looks like they might be on the brink of saying, "2021? Totally gonna be my year!" don't hesitate. Do your duty. Plant a firm hand over their mouth and kick their legs out from under them.

Sitting on their chest, you'll have to deploy some heavy eye-acting to convey to this idiot-transgressor the imperative to not say a word ~ no matter how well-meaning, affirmative or goal-orientated it may be ~ about their aspirations for 2021.

Because to do so will be to invite disaster. If it hears us, 2021 will rush us quicker than the sound-sensitive aliens from A Quiet Place. And we will be the kid with the space shuttle.

Let's make a pact to enter into the damp new days of 2021 quietly, reverently. We'll turn down the dial on our noisy resolutions: the clarion call to fitness, the shouty vows TO NAIL the intricacies of the French subjunctive, and the clown-crash of cymbals heralding our intention to kill personal bests, kick Jane Plan's ass, and slay enlightenment.

I get it. After the f**ker of a year that was 2020, we want to reclaim our sense of self-determination that had dissolved completely by second lockdown. But let's be honest. All those things I've listed above, didn't we try those already, in first lockdown? And failed?

Is this soupy, fog-swaddled time of year really one in which you can see yourself bursting from your chrysalis two stones lighter and reading Crime and Punishment in Nepalese? Can you realistically see yourself forgoing the warm hug of a bottle of Yellow Tail Jammy Red Roo in favour of a cup of green tea? This is the time of year, remember, when we're fragile enough to eat the Strawberry Delights left orphaned at the bottom of a tin of Quality Street.

Really, our resolutions shouldn't be more ambitious than to get a bloody grip. Screw self-improvement. We've been there, done that and ended up with sourdough starter on our face.

We need to think smaller. Teeny even. And we need a wholesale shift of emphasis away from what we lack ~ hair-free legs, willpower, Chris Hemsworth ~ because that's exhausting. The time! The effort! The self-loathing!

I'm firm on this. We must stop seeing things in terms of lack. Mrs Hemsworth has Chris ~ she is not lacking in this respect ~ and because of this and in the spirit of sisterly solidarity I am raising a glass of Jammy Red Roo in her honour while cheering: "Well done, Mrs Hemsworth, for banging a super-hero. Well done and massive congrats all round!" before moving on to the Orange Cremes.

If the Department of Made-Up Health Matters commissioned a time and motion study on the issue, it would prove, conclusively, that celebrating what we actually, tangibly, already-in-the-moment have is a far healthier use of our time than sweating on a treadmill host to a greater viral load than a primary school teacher.

A case in point. The other morning I was hunting down a clean pair of knickers. For whatever reason, the gods of laundry had decreed that every last pair should either be in the wash basket or in a festive garland on the radiators. Just as I had resigned my undercarriage to a thong, circa 1998, I found a pair of big knickers at the back of the drawer. And these weren't just any big knickers. These were M & S big knickers. *sexy voice* Flexi-Fit.

Oh, yeah. My unconfined joy will resonate with any woman who's ever had their lady bits organised by underwear that has absolutely no concept of feng shui. I actually paused getting dressed to fully commit to this one, perfect moment of gratitude. And the wonderful thing was, once I'd noticed ~ really noticed ~ the pleasure found in such an undemanding thing as a roomy gusset, I couldn't stop noticing other moments of joy hiding in plain sight. Stupid things, tiny, like the cracking sound your teeth make breaking through the chocolate on a mint thin that seems to become a whole body experience.

Turns out my life ~ and yours too ~ is made up of little amazements ALL THE TIME. Big knickers, glass of wine, hearty laugh, cat paws, dog smiles, smell of frost, big skies, baby wrists, buttered toast, tight hugs, turned soil, birds in flight, warm socks, distant music, family, friends, nods from passersby ... We don't notice these micro-joys nearly enough because we're too busy pinching our fat.

After 2020, henceforth known as the Year That Never Was, why on earth would we want to impose further lack and abstention on ourselves? How much nicer to give 2021 a friendly high-five then turn our attention, fully and completely, to enjoying what is here-and-now tangible. Instead of struggling to do more for the assumed benefit of some future self we will never meet, let's pinky-swear to do less, thus creating space for everything that we already have and already are to take a bow. Let's seek to wear our skin with all the ease and comfort of a pair of big knickers.

Happy New Year!

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