Disclaimer: I wrote this post on New Years’ Eve and then, on NYD, something happened that put things like blog posts and good feelings on the back burner. I’ve decided to post this as it is, with very little proof-reading or editing done. I’ve backdated it too just so that it makes sense chronologically, but as an FYI I posted this on 7/1/21.
It will be very easy to feel a profound sense of loss as the clock strikes 12 tonight, as one deeply troubling year closes and another one potentially opens; not just the loss of people, but also the loss of time and opportunity, the loss of joy, even.
Most people look toward a new year with hope, that unwavering feeling that this year will be your year and the excitement for all the plans you’ve made; the travels, the experiences, the new job, the new home, the new life. As this new years eve comes to a close i’m apprehensive in my hope.
All year i’d mentally drawn a line in the sand under the 31st December, optimistically expecting all this to be done with by 2021 and, in retrospect, I think that thought helped me get through the year – knowing it would be over by the new year meant I could just write this year off – it’s just one year, that’s ok! It meant I could use this one year to focus on some internal improvement and make the most of lockdown from the comfort of my own home. Now that 2021 is less than a day away and, despite the vaccine, there’s no real sign of this virus slowing down any time soon, my optimism is thoroughly diminished.
Having said that, in an attempt to not enter the new year in a wholly depressed mental state (Edit: LOL, what a joke), I wanted to consider the things this year that i’ve enjoyed and learnt, there’s been a few and they shouldn’t be forgotten. If anything they should be celebrated, written down and recounted over and over, purely so 2020 doesn’t feel like such a waste. As such, I will begin with a memory;
Summer in the Garden
Living at my parents, we were lucky to enjoy the glorious summer weather in the comfort of our quiet, beautiful garden. Those days were riddled with anxiety but I distinctly remember sitting on a deckchair on a few weekend mornings, with a cup of tea next to me and a book in my hands, my dog lazing somewhere on the grass, feeling, for a short while, content and grateful. This is the memory I will choose to talk about in years to come.
An experience doesn’t have to be big to be enjoyed
I keep seeing this quote on Pinterest that tells me you have to romanticise your life; you have to believe every cup of coffee is the best you’ve ever had and that your commute to work is a bloody adventure. I have a friend who already does this ,without realising it too, I think. She is wildly animated about quite small things that I wouldn’t think to talk about and i’ve always found it rather odd, but maybe she has the right idea.
This year I’ve thoroughly enjoyed just going for a walk with a friend, or even wandering locally with my dog, i’ve made a big deal about a night in, even though every single night this year has been a night in. I remember for a week in the summer I watched a Harry Potter movie every evening at 8 o’clock and I spent all day looking forward to it, making myself a cup of tea, getting some snacks and cosying up in bed with the summer sun setting behind me. And so, the quote is true, you do need to romanticise your life, even the small moments, to truly enjoy it.
Progress of others is no reflection on my own
Something else i’ve learnt this year is to focus on my own personal progression, not just tick boxes to get the promotion. In the kind of hierarchical environment that I work in, it’s easy to get caught up in the competition, but it is no reflection of me and my abilities when other people make certain progressions and I should just get over myself. I’ve spent much of the last year, particularly during lockdown, feeling the pressure of needing to constantly be proving my worth above and beyond my peers and not only did I burn out from that, but it affected relationships with my colleagues. So i’ve stopped that now, which is good.
I bought a home
My only plan for 2020 was to buy a flat and despite the dire circumstances of this year, I was able to do just that. I feel incredibly grateful and privileged to be able to call somewhere my own and for once I actually understand what it means when someone says they feel humbled. But I also feel proud of myself and, oddly, safe. This is my little bubble, perhaps I’ll show it to you sometimes.