Hilary Fannin: I’m unsure what to say to the universe this year

Any pearl of wisdom compact enough to fit on a fridge magnet or the side of a coffee mug should be utterly rejected on the grounds that life ain’t ever that simple

Illustration: Thinkstock

Illustration: Thinkstock

 

It’s January again. Around my neck of the woods everyone is running up and down the seafront in their wearable technology and brand-new micromesh shoes. They’re juggling shiny new pedometers and swearing that they’re going to lose 5lb before the end of the month.

Hundreds more of us, bloated by the season, chock-full of galloping devils on horseback and plum-pudding ice cream, are eschewing the Chardonnay and resolving to eat steamed fish and leafy greens and cut out carbs and bathe in miso soup.

Others, imbued with the spirit of the season and a stern determination to live a cleaner, leaner, greener life, are taking up abdomen-stretching pole-dancing, thigh- reducing kickboxing and synapse- enhancing Mandarin learning.

We’re all at it, making promises to our blurred reflections, pledging to visit cultural institutions, buy a water butt, insulate the cat.

Oh, yes, it’s new year’s resolution time again, when all our lousy old crack- open-the-Maltesers-on-a-wet-Tuesday habits are banished like oily toads and replaced with air-dried princely good intentions.

I’ve made a resolution too. This year, instead of resolving to lose 5lb (which I’ll put on again in five minutes), I have resolved not to make important decisions based on the advice given by fridge magnets.

Magnetic sentiments

Last year I saddled myself with a resolution that ran headlong against the grain of everything I’ve come to learn in my paltry, trolley-pushing, Bolognese- again life: I decided, on the advice of a lump of metal, to “Say yes to the universe”.

I generally dislike fridge magnets, especially the ones offering pithy nuggets of wisdom (also often found written in feathery calligraphy on laminated bookmarks), which cling, limpet-like, to other people’s oversized white goods.

One nausea-inducing tile, in particular, which I encountered over the course of Yuletide 2014, magnetised to the gargantuan fridge door of an acquaintance, made me want to wrap her seasonal turkey roulade around her delicate little neck.

The tile, which clearly displayed the image of a unicorn, read: “It’s not a unicorn, it’s a horse with a sword on its head to guard my hopes and dreams.”

Just excuse me for a moment, I mouthed at her arching back, while I drown in bile and syrup.

The last thing required by that particular woman, already in possession of an articulated refrigerator groaning under the weight of sparkling wine and a side of salmon hand-smoked by 12 jaunty elves dressed in high heels and lederhosen, was a lucky unicorn to watch over her. Unless, of course, it could be sprinkled with truffle oil and washed down with a risky little Riesling.

Actually, all heal-your-life mantras make me nauseous . And although I know its not a terribly mature response, phrases such as “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself” (a sentiment my unicorn hostess also saw fit to decorate her fridge with) make me want to break things.

To be precise, in that instance, it made me want to rip the organic apple and ginseng juice from the bowels of her cavernous icebox and fling it at her softly distempered walls.

Any pearl of wisdom compact enough to fit on a tile or the side of a coffee mug should be utterly rejected on the grounds that life ain’t ever that simple.

There are pluses, however: adopt a yes-to-the-universe philosophy and you too can end up making new friends and taking up yoga. Before you know where you are, you’ll be sucking on a wasabi bean, having just unfurled yourself from a downward dog.

Ignoring instincts

I don’t know what got into me last January; it’s not like I was barefoot on a Malibu beach, saluting the sun in a pair of compostable flip-flops. I didn’t have a single good reason to ignore my instincts. What I had, I suppose, was a moment of unguarded optimism. Or maybe I was just a little too full of eggnog.

I suppose I was looking for some semblance of control. If we say yes to the universe, we can also say no to the universe, right? But we all know that doesn’t wash.

In truth, I had a pretty good year. Work rolled in my direction. But I’m nervous about petitioning a beneficent universe again.

Can the universe really provide? And what if those needs boil down to a good pair of navy tights, a starter motor and the motivation to begin again on page one?

Has anyone spotted a “Maybe to the universe” fridge magnet?

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