I’ve been absent, I’m sorry.  It’s been very hectic (no sympathy expected) and I’ve had that virus, now in its 12th day, with little sign of it wanting to move on.  I might even get to see in the new year with it.  Lovely.  New Year brings rituals, of reviewing the ‘old’, casting aside some shackles and welcoming the new.  I happen to be one of those people who love dusting off the passage of the year, looking back, reflecting, celebrating and sometimes cringing!  These days I don’t handwrite the date out so much as most things are electronic, so there’s a part of me that misses the fact that I’ve again written 2012 instead of 2013 (let’s face it, it was probably 1991 and 1992 when I was writing things by hand, and as an auditor, you got to write the date out many a time)!  I think we get to reset ourselves come the new year and this year I shall be going through the same process.  I also get a bit fed up when I see headlines such as “a new year, a new you”, as if the ‘old’ you wasn’t up to much, so you can go through the pressure of setting some abject resolutions to reinvent ourselves – note that I said ‘reset’ and not ‘reinvent’ above – and be ‘new’.  Actually, inspired by a couple of things that have caught my eye over the last few days, I’m not going to look for a new me.  I’m going to work on accepting the old me, and appreciate myself more instead of wishing that I was more of what I’m not.

I don’t know any female, friends and family alike, who don’t think about what they weigh, what they look like and what they should be eating more of or less of.  We women, myself included, must spend an awful lot of wasted energy on the pursuit of our own holy grails. Why do we do it to ourselves?  A whole load of collective consciousness about cutting down on carbs, or the painful negotiations to call in to the gym on the way home in penance for the muffin, the chocolate bar, the gingerbread latte…..  Would that all of this could be applied to something that really matters, and I think women could solve world peace, or an end to child poverty at least.

Sarah Vine (Times columnist) has reviewed a book, which I’m going to search out.  At the end of her review, she says “If you have ever burst into tears in a changing room or fantasised about how much better life would be if you could only slice three inches off your tummy, don’t go on some miserable diet this January; read this instead.” Navel Gazing, by Anne H Putnam, might just sit nicely along my attempts to get to like the old me a little bit more.