I’ve never given much notice to New Year’s Eve, and all the projecting that goes with it. I have enjoyed them, some more than others, but it was never quite the landmark emotional moment that others posted about on social media. Those that personify the year behind us like “2018 you have been a prick, pleased to see the back of you” or project into the new year. Those hoping for a big change through resolutions, new jobs, new places – new you!
It is all bullshit, akin to coming back from a good holiday and planning all the ways that you will be different. Get up earlier, smoke less, drink; less alcohol, more water. We tell ourselves “when X happens, I’ll start doing X more/less”. It may happen for a few weeks or a month, but then we hustle ourselves back into our old ways.
I am not pissing on the desire to be better. These changes can work, if you put the effort and mental strength in. I just feel the advancing of a new year doesn’t have to signal change, a new you, a new anything. Only you can signal that, whichever time of the year you choose.
Having said that, this year has done a number on me. Well maybe the year hasn’t, but this period of time I have lived within has had me feeling emotionally battered. It has been a battle, which at times I did not think I would win. It has been one that has left me wanting to give up, and all at a time when I *should* be feeling the joy of adventure and newness. I moved to a new country, worked somewhere great, made new friends, travelled for the last three months of the year, saved enough to fund this trip, spent more time with friends, started writing more, started Blognitive Therapy. I have so much to be grateful for. And yet, that word ‘should’ sticks in my mind. There is no ‘should’ when it comes to depression and anxiety. There are only the feelings, life, and the way you deal with it all.
So while I can say with confidence that I have a great life with good people in it, I can still feel bereft. Like I am grieving for something and I cannot even speak its name. Because I have no fucking clue what it is. I have a direction, I have a goal for my life and career, but I am still lost in the daily minutiae. Like I am lost and don’t know how to take the next step. My mum told a friend of mine she was worried I was lost, and I rejected it out of hand. I’ve spent most of my year rejecting this notion. But here it is, the end of the year, still with me. Holding my hand.
But, here is the thing. Recognizing this lost feeling made me hungry. It made me lethargic at times, sure. But now? The biggest feeling is a burning hunger for something to happen. Something that chases this lost feeling away. A new emotion slipping its’ hand into mine – Joy.
Joy arises not from being or doing anything. It is more a feeling that emanates from you no matter what you are doing, what is thrown at you. It is not always going to be bouncing off the walls, cartwheels down the street ‘Joy’, but peace and contentment can be just as nourishing. It is the feeling that, no matter what life throws, you have got this. You really have. So you look down the barrel of life and say, cool, give me what you got. Rolling with the punches is similar to cartwheels right?
That being said, I have been mulling over my new year. All these posts about the old and new year drive into your head like an earworm. I was never going to fight it, especially as I spent most of the final day of 2018 crying my eyes out. So I forced myself to believe 2019 would be better. I would turn a corner, and I would be able to get a handle on this, seek a therapist, work on my joy, work on my ability to take what life throws at me.
This will be my goal. It is a big one, a no holds barred Royal Rumble of a quest, that may well leave me at the end of the year at exactly the same place. And that is ok. It is ok to be exactly where you were at the start of the year, at the end of the year. Things take time. Your transformation(s) may not slot into 365 days. But small goals make up big goals, and that is more than ok. As long as you set your mind, push yourself when you have to, be gentle with yourself when you need to.
All is coming.