From The Mouths of Babes…

Last year my annual resolution was to have more fun or HAVE.MORE.FUN! as was adopted by way of repeated chat following the chime of midnight that welcomed 2013 (and for a fair few hours beyond).

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

I feel satisfied that I managed to be both mindful of my resolve and active in its pursuit. Not the same can be said for many of my previous years’ resolutions so, about mid-December last, I decided t it best that 2014 should see me striving to HAVE.EVEN.MORE.FUN. Resolution sorted, and with a couple of weeks to spare.

On New Year’s Eve, I invited my four favourite people to my home for some afternoon hot chocolate & marshmallows, in the form of my nephews and nieces (all siblings – our eldest sister has done all of the work for the rest of us on the providing-of-the-next-generation front).

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

As we sat on the floor with chocolate foam moustaches and crumbed-filled laps, I asked them what their highlights of 2013 had been. With them having experienced the magic of Lapland just a couple of weeks prior, I figured it was a redundant question but wanted to hear their take on it nonetheless. And yes, meeting the main man himself, in his own snow-covered surroundings, was indeed the number one choice… for three of them. The eldest nephew however, told me that his highlight was actually scoring four goals in one match earlier in the year. ‘What about Lapland?‘ I asked incredulously. ‘But Irene‘ he appealed earnestly ‘they were REALLY great goals‘. Fair enough – having never scored anything in my life nor had a trip to Lapland, who am I to to know which might be a bigger thrill?

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

I then asked them what their aspirations were for the coming year. After some querying looks amongst the four, delivered with some high-decibel speculation, one of them figured out what I meant and then knowledgeably explained to the others. They finally shared with me the following:

Billy, age 8, wants to score more goals in football.

Kate, age 7, wants to get taller.

Lucy, age 7 (the taller twin), wants to visit Funderland.

Danny, age 5 and 3/4, wants to meet a Robot.

As I listened to their chatter and weighing up of other aspirations (a big Bualadh Bos for their pantomime performance in their neighbour’s house and an Irish dancing trophy for their one-two-threes very nearly made the cut), I considered their final choices and it struck me that really the essence of each could make for some pretty compelling guidelines to achieving success in the year ahead.

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

And so, with that in mind, I have revised my resolution (well added to it actually; I still intend on having even more fun) and will be keeping the following in mind throughout 2014:

1) There is nothing that can’t be achieved by practice

Four goals in one match sounds like a pretty big deal to me – it was his years highlight for goodness sake and a year is a long time for an 8 year old – but in order for Billy to make it to five in one match he’s going to have to spend a lot of time kicking the ball into goals in his back garden rather than scoring via his finger on FIFA 20-whatever. In much the same vein, neither am I going to live the rewarding, satisfying, tantalizing life I want to by reading about someone else’s online. By all means our observance of others social networking should garner inspiration and encourage us to achieve our own figurative goals but if it is instead leading to feelings of inadequacy, resentment or ‘oh man, that chick has EVERYTHING-ness’, it’s time to get real; like, really real. There is no substitute for living the life we want in the way we want. And there’s absolutely no reason that we can’t improve on what we have done before. Our barometer should only be ourselves. Do; do again; do better; do brilliantly. That’s the aim (no pressure then).

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

2) Mother Nature kicks ass – join her; you’ll never beat her.

Kate is a little fairy of a thing that you really wouldn’t think give a second thought to her height. Certainly no one around her does as when you observe her all you can see is a little skipping fairy that literally walks nowhere and tinkle-toe hops everywhere. I too would like to be taller but since that huge spurt of growth in the summer ’95, there hasn’t been much budging in that department so I don’t concern myself with it too much anymore. Instead I am preoccupid more with facial lines, muffin tops, jiggly arms and the like… really good stuff. Only I don’t just think about them, oh no. I discuss them, point them out and compare them with all of my female friends. You see, we’ll always want to change something that is completely out of our hands and in the meantime, whilst not coming to grips with this, it seems best practice to draw attention to it just to fully ensure that everyone around us notices it too. This year however, I shall be concerning myself with those things that I actually can change and putting my energy in to improving them so should I feel strongly enough to do so (sometimes I hate my arse, sometimes it’s cold outside and the arse doesn’t seem bad enough to want to bring it running). Besides that I will mostly be taking advantage of alternative feats of Mother Nature and using my two working legs to also skip everywhere I go: meetings, the Luas, the dentist, the motor tax office, the coffee queue… won’t be my muffin top anyone’s talking about then, eh? Result.

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

3) Negotiation is an art; practice with charm

The dream of visiting Funderland for the first time ever, comes from the same little lady that wrote to Santa asking for ‘world peace… and 2 surprises’. In that one letter, Lucy impressed me on two levels: firstly, she knew what world peace was (although she may just think this means less nagging about cleaning up after herself and more quiet time to build forts with her siblings) and secondly, she was wise enough to know that two surprises is an absolutely acceptable request after leading with such a selfless wish… no doubt they’d be good ‘uns. It is these same set of skills that will stand to her when making her case for getting her parents to spend their precious weekend and hard-earned cash on bringing four children to a migraine-inducing, vomit-smelling, pick-pocket attracting neon zoo, for kicks. The fact is though, if you don’t ask, you don’t get – and if you really do want something, negotiation is key. Nobody wants to be demanding, unreasonable or ‘me, me, me’. However, it is ok to want your own needs catered for in work, life and love. There is absolutely no point in continually saying nothing and then internally combusting as a result. All folk will remember is that girl that said very little but changed many shades of purple before storming off for no particular reason. Such a character! This year I shall be sure to speak up, be brave, acknowledge that my opinions count and make my case with clarity and eloquence (well datz da hope anyway…)

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

4) Life without imagination is the dullest life of all.

The most wonderful thing about Danny-Boy, is that his dreams have no bounds and his mind knows no limitations. If there were a situation that not one other person had an ounce of imagination, all would still have a brilliantly bonkers old time due to the way his brain works and his uber-enthusiastic desire to bring everyone along for the ride. Earlier this year, he broke his elbow… and a great job he did of it too. Smashed it right up, clever boy. When quizzed by his parents how on earth the fall down the stairs was so severe, he explained that it was because he started the journey on the space rocket which had just a few minutes before been a regular old ironing basket. I have often found my mind wandering over a cup of green tea, leading me to some ott, bizarre and barmy dreams. Along with these dreams often come feelings of contentment, happiness and excitement. Once I sup the last drop however, I come crashing to reality and scold myself for foolishly allowing indulgence of unrealistic scenarios. Very quickly the previous feelings leave the building to make room for a reality-check about getting to the pressing work in hand. But whose reality? Really the dreaming was what I was enjoying the most and taking me places to which your average day doesn’t travel. This year I shall be indulging these dreams, encouraging the flights of fancy and manifesting my imagination wherever possible.  You just know that the boy and his robot will meet; so, this year, shall I and mine.

Irene O'Brien Vintage Stylist Dublin Ireland

 Wishing you all a rockin’ year ahead filled with achievements, satisfaction, FUN and the odd word of wisdom from some little people.

Enjoy!

Irene xXx

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