28 December, 2013
This is a New Year Post
So this is my obligatory New Year blog post. Not too original, but kind of necessary. I will get bored of reading ‘My Top 10 Resolutions’ lists and ‘Thank You 2013’ posts, but as a hypocritical blogger it is simply fact that I do a solemn nod to this momentous occasion which means absolutely nothing in reality. I do it almost apologetically – this isn’t my hands typing, it’s my muse. From blogging world to real world, art imitates life in that even though many people seem to kind of resent New Year and the many pressures and reflections it bequeaths, we have no choice but to do it anyway. Even if the way we do it involves actively and very stubbornly ignoring it.
I have always felt it kind of mean that New Year gets you at probably one of your weakest points. I am without a doubt at my fattest, most mal-nourished, poorest and downright freaked out (back to work after being pissed for 2 weeks? Oh man) come 31st Jan. So a New Year enforced review of my life just doesn’t feel fair. I don’t have to ask the question to know I am not on my own? Why do we choose this moment to realise all our failings and write a jolly good list to reassure us we won’t fail in these ways in 2014?
I don’t really like the idea of making resolutions designed to make up for where we didn’t ‘achieve’ in the previous year. There is too much focus on achievement. Even before I sat down to type this I was thinking ‘what have I done in 2013?’ and the list that sprung to mind was the one of successes and failings. It was looong. I learnt to drive, I moved in with a boy, I got a big shiny new job, I dropped out of the half-marathon, I spent 3 months unemployed, I got a car, I joined a book club, I sprained my ankle real bad and I spent the first week of the year with tonsillitis. This list, although meaningful in its on way, is actually kind of irrelevant.
Yes our 2013 list means we can cross off things for next year and start a whole new list, but actually life is an endless list. We will never reach the end. EVER. If we live by this imagined list we will never, ever feel like we are quite where we want to be. And that’s really sad. Too much focus on what we have or haven’t achieved means we will never quite feel ‘there’ and that means never quite feeling ‘happy.’
So the most relevant thing I did work towards this year was take steps to learn to be happy in the present. I started doing Headspace which has really helped me put a distance between my emotions and what is happening in my life. I focused much more on really small things and less on the bigger picture. Although I have always been easily pleased and get excited about the most mundane events, I haven’t always been so good at being totally content unless I am also achieving something big. What I learnt this year is that small things are certain and big things are not. It’s easier to be happy if you can rely on what is making you happy at the time. So, if you can be totally content because you are sitting on a really comfy sofa or watching an awesome film, you can be really bloody content because not much can take that away from you.
It’s really hard to do, and it was all the more difficult in the summer when I wasn’t working. It isn’t easy to wake up every day and think ‘I am going to drink this cup of tea and be really happy about it and not think about what is next’ or go for a run and actually take in the scenery and not be thinking ‘oh my days what if no-one ever employs me again.’ But I tried anyway and after a while the trying turned into me actually feeling okay. It got easier to be happy every day once I felt like my life was ‘back on track’, but I want to get to a point where if things go tits up again (and I am only 27, they are going to at some point) I kind of don’t care. At the moment I am flying higher than I ever have in my heart, and while I am obviously happy, deep down it’s scaring the shit out of me. I am so aware of what I stand to lose, and so more than ever I want to get to a point where these ‘big things’ are not what make or break me. I am almost there, but not quite.
Next year for me is not all about the ‘I want to do this and get that’; it’s about the how I want to be.
How do you want to be in 2014?