It’s probably a little early to be getting this time of post in, I’ll admit. I’m always conscious of wishing time away – I know that for many people out there, time is not always something they have a luxury of. To have it in abundance, and to find yourself wishing the days would pass that little bit faster, is not the most grateful of attitudes.
When the clock chimes midnight at the beginning of every New Year, anything seems possible. I tend to wake on January 1st with the usual cliches; I will go to the gym more, maybe I’ll even do dry January, this is the year I’ll try harder to date more, this is the year I’ll do something amazing in my career etc etc. and the start of 2018 was no different; in fact looking back at my diary my list of goals for the year spans over an entire A4 page.
I love the 1st of January, I love the new-notebook-feel of it, like the first page of a book waiting to be filled with adventures and accomplishments and achievements. It’s full of so much promise, and sometimes its easy to let that run away with you.
Throughout November and December, you probably noticed I was a little quieter on here. I tend to retreat into myself when I’m a little down, and to be honest, adopting the external ‘everything fine!’ persona to show clients, friends, family, extended family, the waiter in the coffee shop etc, is enough to make you feel bloody exhausted, not to mention, like the last thing you want to do is come home and spill your heart out on your little patch of the internet.
It’s a pretty big ‘trend’ in the blogging world to write a round-up post of all your achievements, goals you’ve completed and what you intend for the next year, and I think that’s awesome. But I wanted to write a little something for those who are finishing the year feeling a little bit … flat, or a little bit unaccomplished.
2018 has been a real rollercoaster for me; there’s been career ups and downs, family ups and downs, friend ups and downs, financial ups and downs (mainly downs actually – ha!), physical and mental health ups and downs, and – actually, as it stands, I can’t think of one month this year where everything in life was consistently, boringly, but wonderfully, normal. Saddest of all was experiencing loss and grief this year. Saying goodbye to my beloved Grandad is something that makes me cry even now; it’s a funny thing grief, and it continually strikes you when you least expect it. I was stuck on the M4 the other day and burst into tears when I realised he wouldn’t wear a Christmas jumper this year. Or when I went to put some profiteroles in my shopping basket for him and I to sneakily share, and then remembered he wouldn’t be there to share them with any more. It’s been five months but it still doesn’t feel like it really happened.
So, as we passed through each month in the calendar, and something else unexpected flew my way, I soon forgot the crisp sheet of A4 that I’d written some ‘life goals’ onto on the first of January. Finally, December was here and the end of 2018 was in sight. I counted down the days to being back at home, out of London, and somewhere I could just ‘decompress’ from life as it had been over the year.
I had thought about writing the typical ‘goals’ post – more of a 12 month round-up because there have been good and happy times, and I have been very lucky to have some amazing adventures; something I know I’m in a privileged position to have. So whilst I maybe didn’t achieve my clearly defined goals, of losing x amount of weight, achieving x in my job, the situations I’ve been in the last year have taught me some hugely valuable lessons, and enabled me to understand things on an emotional level as well as simply on an intellectual level. That type of growth is something to be hugely grateful for.
- You can hold people to your expectations, but its important to accept they might not meet them. That’s fine, love them for who they are anyway.
- There may be the darkest of days, but even then, it is always, always possible to find something to be grateful for. On a particularly bleak week, my friend encouraged me to download a grateful log app, but now every day we make a point of texting each other to ask what our grateful for that day is. Some days, it takes a little longer to find something, but it always gives me a moment to think; from ‘I got to watch my niece in her nativity’, to ‘I’m grateful I live in a country where I’m given smear tests for free’. They might not be the most profound things in the world, but I have found it to be amazingly eye-opening for just how much I take for granted.
- Family is one of the most complex concepts in the entire world. This goes for family you choose, the family you’re born in to and the families that you end up part of – either through marriage or just being ‘adopted’ by people. There are times of great hardship; arguments which seem insurmountable, inevitable (and most of the time, accidental) ‘let-downs’… but time is a great healer, but
- A deep breath before speaking your mind can change an entire conversation. Reminding someone you love them despite the fact you’re in a hideous argument is a powerful thing to do.
- Grief will catch you unexpectedly and off guard long after the fact. When it does, let it.
- You can do the things that scare you – and any outcome of this is successful: did you think it through and decide you couldn’t do it? that makes you strong – to assess a situation and choose what you need is a massive asset. did you think through a situation and fail half way through? Incredible – you did something that scares you and even if you only managed it halfway, trying was half the battle and you won. Did you try it and succeed? Amazing – just as amazing as any of the other outcomes listed.
Sometimes the goals you achieve are not necessarily the ones you laid out on the pages of your notebook; maybe it’s not getting that promotion, or joining that gym. Maybe it’s learning how to readjust, or how to forgive people when sometimes you just really don’t want to, and maybe sometimes it’s being able to take a deep breath at the end of a tough day and find the motivation and courage to get up and get through the next day, or to come out the other side and realise that even if ‘real-life’ is getting in your way, that unaccomplished goals, don’t make you an unaccomplished person.
Besides, there’s always next year, right? Cheers to that.