Having survived The Season To Be Jolly, we now find ourselves bang, slap in the middle of the season to re-evaluate our lives and ourselves, of RESOLUTIONS. It is human nature to want to move forward, to be the best we can be; to remain the same is not to live but just to exist. Right? So January is the time when Westerners traditionally decide that they’ve not been good enough, or nice enough, or charitable enough, pro-active enough, smart enough, fashionable enough, pretty enough, thin enough. Or that maybe we’ve been the opposite: maybe we have drunk too much, eaten too much, spent too much, ignored too much, avoided too much, argued too much, simply been too much. Most of us look back at the previous year and ruminate on our failings, with a plan to do better in the future.
I found myself wondering what my New Year’s resolutions would be. Lose the weight I’ve been carrying around for far too long? Again? Create the home I’ve been attempting to create since we moved 10 years ago? Again? Be a better person? Keep educating myself? These are all things I have been working on for years and they are too easily abandoned or failed, to easily forgotten or ignored in the curmudgeon of day to day life. Which is a niggle, an irritation to me, because I often believe that if I could just achieve these goals then I will become the me that I could be. The me that I should be. So I had set my mind to the same list of resolutions as last year. Again. Same as countless years before, and prepared to fail them. Again. It doesn’t help that January’s weather is naturally so reminiscent of my internal moods. It’s hard to be positive when your feelings are out on display in the brooding clouds, cold rain and chilling winds that whip around the lanes and cottages where I live. And while I don’t have SAD, I am nonetheless affected by gloomy weather.
But then one of my friends posted a gif on her facebook timeline, which I’ve screenshotted here:
What a slap in the face! What a wake-up to my own negative thinking. Why should I have to be a new me? What is ‘wrong’ with the current me? What was wrong with what I did in 2016? So I sat down and thought about what I had actually done last year.
- I spent most of my time last year looking after my little girl, who turned 3 in September. As a mother (wink, wink, Andrea Leadsom) this was obviously my main focus. She’s happy, healthy, well behaved and already ahead of her peers in mathematics and literacy, according to the pre-school she started in October. I don’t think I am doing anything wrong here!
- I continued with my mini craft-endeavour. I enjoy it and I’ve learned a lot this year about what I can and can’t do with it. I have a plan for its future in 2017 and it’s pretty similar to what I did in 2016.
- I started this blog! It’s a good way for me to process, use my mind and avoid mental stagnation, and if it helps others along the way and promotes further understanding of mental illnesses along the way, then all the better. I am continuing with it.
- We (my husband and I) finished the year with no outstanding debt save a mortgage, in a year where the economy has been skittish. A grand achievement in itself. We have a roof over our heads and no problems in fulfilling our survival needs.
- I have more friends now than I started the year with and I have lost none – so I can’t be that bad a person.
Having made this list, I came to the conclusion that maybe I don’t need to change that much at all. Or, in fact, anything! I am pretty healthy over all, not counting that pesky depression that comes and goes on a whim. I certainly could do more exercise, but in the grand scheme of things, as long as not doing more isn’t making me unhappy, then it’s not *that* important to me right now. I certainly have enough possessions right now. More than enough; if anything I could declutter. So I shall do that – at my own speed, when I can. I do enough already – I ought not to take on anything more out of a sense of duty to anyone other than myself. By understanding this, I can avoid so much unnecessary stress and anxiety.
I also understand that the world can be a cruel and incomprehensible, but that there is love and kindness too. You can always find some comfort close to you when you need it. I understand that one person alone can’t change the world and neither should they try, but that many small changes will make a difference to a big problem. I’ve also learnt that acceptance of the things we can’t change (to paraphrase the 12 Steps thing) is a big reliever of stress, but that also means that we don’t have to like it!
Therefore, all in all, 2017 will not be a ‘New Year, New Me’. Because I don’t feel I need to change. Maybe if I continue being me, just as I am, then I’ll achieve what I want, how I want it, when and if the time is right for me. If I am true to myself, I don’t need to change anything. I am enough.