Jodi Picoult, in Vanishing Acts, said, “You can fool yourself, you know. You’d think it’s impossible, but it turns out it’s the easiest thing of all.” This is my New Year’s Resolution for 2020, because “there’s that horrible-beautiful moment, that bitter-sweet impasse where you know that somebody is bullshitting you but they’re doing it with such panache and conviction…no, it’s because they say exactly what you want to hear, at that point in time,” as Irvine Welch insists. So I am going to keep on telling myself exactly what I want to hear:
My house does not need cleaning more than once a week, either in summer or in winter.
To be exceptionally lucky, I need at least four black cats. Sophie, Lillie, Ebonie and Lucie are doing the best they can but will be able to cope much better if I also had a Suzie, a Rosie and a Gracie.
I will never buy another horse again. Not even a Friesian stallion. Bass, Belle, Tess and Aurore are all I need to run my mindfulness and meditation retreats with horses.
Fudge does not make you fat as long as you do not eat the whole packet in one go. Also, I never eat more than two (no, make that four) pieces a day. Same goes for chocolate, I’m sure.
I don’t have a problem with clutter. I regularly throw out everything that I haven’t worn in the last three years. Although I am convinced that one can never have too many pairs of jeans. Or riding breeches. Or saddles. Or saddle pads. Or books.
I don’t go shopping that often, rarely more than once a month. When I do, I don’t spend that much, rarely more than 20 euro.
I enjoy running so much that I can’t survive without running at least three times per week.
It hurt too much when I lost my dog Melchi’ore, so I am not going to get another. Ever.
Each of my horses needs at least three rugs to get through winter here in the south of France. When I am cold, they are cold.
I don’t have time to cook complicated meals, pasta supplies all the nutrients I need.
Coffee is essential to my physical, mental and spiritual well-being, although I won’t drink more than 3 cups a day and always decaf after 5 o’clock.
I am perfectly fine after two glasses of wine; I do not fall asleep after before I am halfway through my second glass.
We can make do with less wood this year, it is not that cold here during the winter. Anyway, central heating lowers my resistance to coughs and colds. I’m fine as long as I wear ten layers of thermal underwear when I go out to feed the horses.
I am not addicted to Facebook. I only use it to stay in contact with family and friends on other continents. Oh yes, and to market my mindfulness and meditation retreats.
I am not scared of eye operations. I have had many and they have all been successful.
I can cope just fine with having twenty people for dinner. I don’t worry myself witless about this sort of thing, I usually have everything ready days beforehand.
I don’t get (too) stressed. When I get stressed, I meditate, and within minutes, I am completely chilled. So I don’t have a problem with stress undermining my health at all.
Four to five hours sleep a night is enough. It’s an old wives’ tale that you start to hallucinate if you get less sleep a night than that.
I keep my credit card for emergencies only and should I need it, I pay it off fully at the end of the month.
The only reason I have a mobile phone is because I prefer to text rather than to ring people, that is why I never go online using my phone.
This is the very last time I am selling a house to buy another.
PS. I am not the sort of person who overindulges during the Christmas holidays.
PPS. I’ll clean the house next week.
Dr Margaretha Montagu is a recycled medical doctor, a rogue writer of self-help books and passable presenter of mindfulness and meditation retreats. She lives on a small farm in the not-always sun-blessed south of France with four opinionated horses and two battle-scarred dragons. All her books are horse-inspired, subtly French- flavoured and hopefully life-enriching. To connect with Margaretha, her horses and her dragons, subscribe to her blog. New subscribers receive a copy of the 10 Steps to Instant Self-Confidence guide -straight from the horse’s mouth! as well as the Coping with Change Cheatsheet and Checklist.