Its been a year full of ups and downs, two surgeries, three hospital admissions and a whole lot of personal growth. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve made it my own. The year ahead is full of uncertainty, as I’m sure it is for many of us. I’ve found writing this year to be incredibly cathartic, and amazingly I’ve found that putting my feelings down on paper has often allowed others to find a kind of solace in it too. So here is my finally little ramble of the year.
The festive period can often seem like its more draining than its actually worth for many of us. This is often through family issues, money worries, loss of friends and family and of course illness. As the new year approaches we often set ourselves goals and resolutions to make this new year better than our last, but I think its important to remember that progress isn’t always positive and exponential. Instead its arduous, fluctuating, distressing and yet despite this, it can still be incredibly rewarding.
I often think we put incredible pressure on ourselves to achieve this almost romanticised idea of the ‘grind’- but why do we put sleepless nights, stress and strain on such a pedestal? Whether its the fifth attempt at the gym-honed body, or the sleek suited commute in order to finally ‘make it big’. Many of us find ourselves under incredible pressure and become so blindsided by the goal ahead that we can’t see that the kilo gained or lost, the somber days spent in bed, the job we didn’t get, is a just as important part of the journey as achieving the actual goal.
In recent months I’ve found myself having my plans and goals pulled from under my feet. Some changes in my personal life meant that my plans to move to Ireland fell apart, and within a week of this I was laboured with the news that my illness is far more extensive than the doctors had originally envisioned, leading to the discovery that I will be needing multiple surgeries alongside my imminent Colostomy if there is going to be any attempt to stabilise my condition.
Naturally, a combination of both of those things have left me feeling rather lost. Therefore the idea of the traditional new years resolution has appeared incredibly daunting . Of course I’d love to get fit, conquer my illness and travel the world, but sometimes its necessary to take a step back. Just because your life is on hold for a little while doesn’t mean you have failed to achieve your goals and it doesn’t mean you’re back to square one.
This year ahead of me is undoubtably going to be the toughest year of my life. I will face multiple surgeries in the next month or two, and have to spend a lot of time adjusting to these changes. There will be a very different body looking back at me in the mirror, new routines and new challenges. I know, that of course I will adjust. I always do. Although this doesn’t take away the fear of the unknown.
I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling, there is nothing peculiar, individual or idiosyncratic about it. Some of us have skeletons in our closet, some of us are harbouring entire graveyards. We all have things we are running from, mountains we are trying to climb and dreams that seem so far from the grasp of our outstretched hand that sometimes it feels easier just to give up. But I think what I’m trying to say, is that there is nothing wrong in pressing pause when you need to.
I think we, as a society need to move away from this idea of a new year needing to mean a fresh start. The fresh start we should be giving ourselves is an understanding that we, as people, are fluid, changing, and often facing inconceivably intricate challenges both internally and externally.
Thankfully we are slowly embracing a greater awareness for self care, the importance of reflection and the realisation that sometimes its important to live slow.
You do not need to catapult yourself into a new year. The clock striking midnight won’t make your plight any easier, and it won’t change the obstacles in your way. This isn’t meant to sound pessimistic, in fact I think that it is this realisation that allows us to embrace the challenges ahead and prevent ourselves from allowing these very obstacles to knock us off our course.
Don’t be afraid to stop and take your time. Cancel that meeting. Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do. Read that book, pick up that cast aside hobby, throw out those old clothes. But most importantly – breathe.
You might not be there yet, but thats okay, its all just part of the journey.