New year, same me.

So it’s getting to that time again. We’re quickly heading towards December 31st. The end of the year. And no doubt a multitude of posts and photos on social media celebrating/commiserating/documenting the last 12 months. So why not join in? πŸ˜‰

I actually wrote a post recently that summed up a lot about this year so I’m not going to make this too big or drawn out. 2017 has been a mixed one for me, as I’m sure it has for many. It’s had mountain top highs, basement level lows, and a lot of in-between too.

βœ… Holiday to Vienna with Matt and Parents

βœ… Submitting Maxi Project (dissertation)

βœ… Buying our first house

βœ… Graduating with a 2:1 honours Psychology degree

βœ… Getting married to my best friend

βœ… Beautiful honeymoon to Toronto & Barbados

βœ… Starting Counselling Skills course

βœ… Trip to Orlando & New York with Matt and Parents

βœ… Successful first Christmas dinner in our house, with both families

❌ Leaving my wee flat (not a low – but sad in ways!)

❌ Gran passing away

❌ Car accident + car getting written off

These are some of the absolute extreme highs and lows. There have been so many more positive (and some less positive) events and memories throughout the year too. Countless youth band events, my hen do, lots of lovely days out or walks or time spent with people who are important with me. Some special and intimate memories with family and friends. Some moments of pure stress and terror (often uni related!). Some mental challenge. I’m grateful though that numerically, the highs far outnumber the lows. I’ve never been happier than I was on my wedding day. I’ve never smiled so much on one day before. I’ve never been prouder of myself than the day I graduated from uni. Or as relieved as when I finally submitted my maxi project. But though the lows are numerically less, they were still big blows, the effects of which can definitely still be felt.

Whilst considering the past year, I came across this on a post on Facebook:

And It gave me rage, to be honest. Because it’s just not that simple, and nor should it be. Simply deciding to ‘be more positive’ won’t make everything better. It won’t mean everything is suddenly fantastic, or fix whatever crap you’re muddling through. I don’t believe you can instantly ‘put all of your pain behind you’ – it just doesn’t work like that. Yes there are lessons to be learned and found in both the good and bad, but they won’t always be obvious, and sometimes the pain is too intense for it to be disregarded that easily. It takes time, and work, to process things – especially negative things, but everything really. And in regards to ‘being ready to grow and be happy again’ – sometimes it’s just not natural or appropriate to be bouncing off the walls happy. And sometimes it is. And that’s ok. And I believe you grow, or have the opportunity to grow, whether you’re happy, sad, or anywhere in between.

There is SO much pressure to look and feel ‘happy’ all of the time. We can’t ‘feel’ our feelings because we’re so busy trying to fix them or turn them into something positive. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for permanent negativity here. But it’s ok to feel sad, or angry, or upset, or guilty, or anything else. Feelings are just feelings. They’re not positive or negative, good or bad. It’s us that assign these connotations to them. They’re literally just ‘feelings’. And they’re all ok to have. Don’t wallow or get stuck down there, but don’t beat yourself up for not being the social king or queen of the party if in reality, you’re exhausted or sad or feeling like crap and wanting to be anywhere else. Because that is ok.

I have some issues when it comes to New Years resolutions, and the whole ‘new year, new me’ thing too. I appreciate and agree that the start of a new year can be a great time and a great reminder to take stock, and see where you are. Looking at the last year, seeing what did and didn’t work for you. Seeing what went well, and what you struggled with, and taking the lessons from all of this. I also think it can be good to look forward, and thinking of ways you’d like to grow, or improve. New things you’d like to try, or things you’d like to put more effort into. But none of that should involve a ‘new you’. What’s wrong with the current you? Why do we think we need to change ourselves every year? It seems a bit sad to me. Growth and development and education and pushing ourselves are important and good practices, but they don’t mean creating a new you. The current ‘you’ is more than enough.

So after those lovely rants, what am I hoping for in 2018? What are my New Year’s goals, or challenges, or dreams?

  • I want to cook more – I managed to cook a turkey for 9 people on Christmas Day with no ill effects, so I think I’m capable of cooking properly more often. Not just taking things out of packets in the freezer and shoving them in the oven, but properly cooking. I just need to be a little less lazy and a little more adventurous. I think that’s achievable.
  • I would like to visit some more new places. Self-explanatory really, but I like exploring other cultures, and of course cuisines!! And I love taking photos, which ties in well with travel.
  • I want to challenge myself to read more. I read loads as a kid, but these days I spend more time scrolling aimlessly through social media at night than reading a book, and I want to change this.
  • I want to do more frequent exercise. I reckon this is stereotypically on many a ‘new years’ list, but I want to make it stick. Matt and I have started playing badminton and I love it, but I want to do more than that too. Partly so I don’t put on a load of weight, but mainly so that I can be and feel a bit healthier and fitter. A sprit triathlon is still a potential idea…
  • I want to get a job!! If I don’t, I could end up spending all the money we do have by going home furnishing shopping, and that’s not a good plan. Seriously though, I want to work again. Whether that’s something psych/counselling related or something totally different, I don’t really mind at this stage.
  • I want to write more frequently. Whether that’s blog posts, or in a journal or something else, I don’t mind. But I enjoy it and find it relaxing (mostly), and want to do more of it.
  • I’d like to keep trying to build my confidence. It goes up and down like a yo-yo at the minute, but I’d like it to keep going up, if possible. I know some things that help it, and others that hinder it, so doing more of the first and less of the latter will hopefully happen.
  • I want to do things that make me happy. Photography, writing, reading. Learning. Exploring. But other things, like the bullet journal I did for part of last year. It really helped me, especially mentally, to write and to keep track of lots of different things that impact my well-being. I’d totally recommend.

There are a few other bits and pieces, some more private or personal than I’m brave enough to share on here, but you get the gist. I want to make the most of opportunities and I want to be optimistic. I hope it will be a good year, with lots of positives to stick on my list this time next year. More than anything though, I just want to spend as much time as possible with my husband, my parents, and the friends and family who are truly important to me. That’s what it’s really all about, to me at least.

So, Happy New Year to all of my friends and family, and to anyone who reads this! Best wishes for 2018 – I hope it brings you all plenty of good things ☺️