Lessons and resolutions

I’ve lost the thread with the blog just a bit – it’s been four weeks since my last post, and a tough month for various reasons I won’t bore you with. I have lots of ideas for posts, but as it’s New Year’s Eve I thought I’d pick us up with some hopeful words.

There’s no denying that in many ways, this has been a crap year. Controversy and vitriol has been everywhere in the wake of Brexit and Trump, whilst thousands have been displaced and often destroyed by the chaos in Syria and the awful refugee crisis. On top of that, for some reason this year the world seems vividly conscious of the importance of celebrity figures, who it feels are dropping like flies across the globe. It’s been exhausting.

It’s been my most challenging year personally, as well. I began this blog almost twelve months ago, in a pit of despair. I was jobless, depressed and a danger to myself, as well as a drain on those closest to me. On many evenings, as I got into bed, I wanted to never wake up again. Throughout the year (as my posts just may hint!) I’ve wrestled with anxieties which, until this first real crisis of my life, have been largely background noise. Most recently, I’ve allowed myself to hurt the one I love most, and though we’re working through it with a positivity which makes me proud, I am, of course, filled with regret for an awful crowning of 2016.

And yet, despite these challenges, despite my often intense self-doubt (and self-loathing) I feel far stronger now than I did last New Year’s Eve. I have learned to be stronger, to not run away from the problems I face, to be brave and constructive even in the face of misfortunes – especially those I hold responsibility for. It’s a working progress, of course. I still have moments where I am crushed by a flash of horror at myself, at the future or the past. But I have resolutions. I have a person I can speak to without restraint, and I’m blessed in being able to say this person is my partner. I also have independent means of calming myself, whether through writing, meditating, or even simply returning to a helpful thought (which takes practice to perfect, believe me!)

I am ready for 2017.

All this isn’t to say, however, that 2016 was all bad. I had some incredible, wonderful, fantastical moments, many of which I was able to share with my partner. Indeed, he took me to Dublin back in January, a mini-adventure which helped me find my feet back in those dark times. We also went on our first trip abroad, to see the beautiful Crete – what a fantastic place! I met new people, made new friends – I even met my partner’s mother (quite a big deal normally, but massive when the future in-laws aren’t totally on-board with the whole gay thing). I got two new jobs, both of which I (apparently) excelled at, and started my MA which will leave me a qualified librarian soon enough. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by people I love, and have the opportunities to do things I enjoy, whether that’s sitting at home playing the Nintendo, going out to a romantic restaurant for a date, or scuba diving in Greece. I can’t complain. Nuh-uh.

Looking ahead, there is one key thing I want to take into 2017 to make it a perfect year (I’m gonna try it!):

I need to take control of my happiness.

This sounds very dramatic, but it can manifest itself in so many different ways to make your life better, and that’s what I’ve come to realise in 2016. It could be as simple as making sure the house is always clean and tidy, organising my files for my course and keeping to time schedules, or, most importantly, being confident and honest in all things. This year brought my first major life challenge, and it has really brought home this last lesson. Honesty, integrity and a constructive mindset can fix so many of life’s problems. I’m lucky enough to have someone near me who understands that – it’s time for me to be the person I want to be.

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Whilst planning dinner

At the ripe old age of twenty-two, I feel as if the world is becoming – constrictive; it’s trying to submerge me in complacency. Admittedly, there are praises to be sung for settling, packing up after a day’s work and deciding to smirk and sigh – rather than laugh and wail – through life.

But yesterday evening, stuffed in the vestibule of a train with barely enough room to expand my lungs, surrounded by dozens of sullen faces on their home commutes, I spied myself thinking about, planning… my dinner.

How dull, right? How desperately dull.

And in a flash, I began to worry that I’m being trapped, began to wonder how many others feel that same fear. In an increasingly frightened world where landing any job – let alone a cushy office gig where the most anybody asks of your mind is to colour-code a report – is seen as a requirement of a ‘successful’ life, how many others must feel their eyeballs oozing in their skulls with the boredom of it all?

I’ve become distracted, but only because even now, as I write, I’m sat in an office haunted by only the wisps of forgotten ambitions, where a five-minute task must be stretched on the rack for hours, lest the spectre of inactivity should slide into your head, fumble with your thoughts and leave you, brainless and dead to the world.

I’ve become verbose, strayed off the path. But isn’t that a proof of my sad position? Anyway, all I really mean to say is that perhaps the most worrying repercussion of today’s mad world is that many of us feel we must cling to whatever we can grab, and this smothers our growth. I’m not speaking about material goals; I mean the mind. We can’t allow complacency to shrink our thoughts, our drives – there’s just no excuse for it.