I struggle a lot with “new year”. I struggle with New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and January. Let’s be real – I struggle with the whole year after that, too.
I just can’t handle the overwhelm around this period. The pressure is so intense – the pressure to have an amazing New Year Eve’s, the pressure to start January 1st as you mean to go on, the pressure to change overnight and fulfil all those New Year’s resolutions overnight… It doesn’t happen for me, ever. And then the depression and demotivation set in. The feeling that I’m a failure because I’ve ruined 2017 already and it’s barely started.
But no. December 31st is just another day. January 1st is just another day. January is just another month. 2017 is just another year. Life doesn’t change overnight just because we start a new calendar and have a bank holiday. Life just goes on.
I’ve struggled this week with the New Year pressure. It feels magnified tenfold this year because of how challenging 2016 was in parts and how much I want this year to be different (like much of the rest of the world). The New Year blues set in pretty quickly – by the time Tuesday rolled around, I was lethargic and demotivated and frustrated and unexcited… I couldn’t help being annoyed at myself for not meeting all my goals and habit targets.
But really, it makes no difference. It doesn’t matter if we make changes on the 1st, or the 2nd, or the 20th, or in May, or July, or next year, or yesterday. I can change whenever and however I want to. One day where I don’t meet a goal doesn’t mean the rest of the year is bound to fail. The only thing that really matters is that I keep trying.
I learned last year that overnight change is impossible and realistically, it also takes away the enjoyment of achievements. So I’m trying to let go of the things I’ve not been able to accomplish regularly since January 1st. The real, long-lasting changes in habits often happen slowly. Gradually. Incrementally.
I didn’t have any resolutions for 2017. I did use the holiday period as an opportunity to reflect on the goals and habits I’d like to work towards, and I reassessed where necessary. I also downloaded the “Productive” app, to help me keep track of habit changes I’m trying to implement – it’s so easy to use (and also pretty aesthetically pleasing, which is always a plus).
Change should be continual – I always want to be striving towards a better version of myself, striving towards a new goal. But I’m also learning to enjoy the “now” more. Enjoy the process of change. Not wish my life away and forget to love my present.
So here’s a list remembering some important 2016 moments (and photos of some Christmas “now” moments I enjoyed as the year came to a close). Here’s a goodbye to the year that caused so much pain but also caused so much happiness. Thank you for everything you brought me and everything you taught me. Thank you for making me a little bit more prepared for another year of life.
I can honestly say that my breakup was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. It made me realise some important, fundamental truths about myself. It made me realise the importance of being alone and getting to know “me”. It taught me to value myself as a person and never again have a relationship with someone who made me question my self-worth. It made me strong.
I spent some amazing, valuable time with my friends in 2016. Getting to know certain people even more, drawing closer to them, doing interesting things with them, supporting each other… My friends were a constant pillar of love and support. They’re all incredible, inspiring, brave, strong, smart, kind, beautiful people, and it’s been such a privilege counting them in my life and spending another year with them.
My nonfiction books:
I read The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal in the summer and have only bought nonfiction books since. It was a beautiful, touching, wonderful, and informative read, that opened me up to a whole new world of books I’d generally avoided before. Thank you to Reading Lolita In Tehran, First Lady, On Liberty, The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F***… and so many more for enriching my year. And here are a bunch more from Christmas that I can’t wait to get my teeth into.
My new hobbies and interests:
2016 was a year of self-discovery (see breakup notes all over my blog). That included finding new hobbies that were mine and mine alone, not because anyone else was telling me to do them, but just because. Shout out to my knitting (I knit several Christmas presents!), journaling, dancing, fairy-light obsessing, Moleskine notetaking, walking, KonMari tidying, vinyl collecting, not-giving-a-fuck-ing, Soundcloud trawling… and more.
How To Be Single:
This movie, though. Just sums up my journey to self-discovery post-breakup perfectly. Corny and terrible in parts, but amazing.
Secretly Hermione. Thank you for being the perfect space, for helping me articulate the mess inside my head, for helping me learn more about myself, for connecting me with some lovely people, for being the safest little “me” corner in the blogosphere. Here’s to another year of you.
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