Happy New Year!
I’ve always found the concept of New Year’s Resolutions a little tricky. I don’t often come up with any, beyond the usual vague ‘get healthier’ nonsense that never goes anywhere because it’s not a concrete goal. I’ve either made small, inconsequential resolutions that didn’t matter when they failed three weeks in, or not made any due to my belief that they would, as previously evidenced, fail before the month was out. I think there’s too much pressure around capitalised Resolutions. You feel so much worse if you don’t achieve whatever goal you (or someone else, let’s not pretend some people don’t snidely suggest that this year ‘maybe you ought to make *insert insulting comment here* your resolution) have set. Failure in these Resolutions is often inevitable, as they are overly vague, or too ambitious, or frankly unrealistic. One year I resolved to save all of my pocket money and go on holiday all by myself. I was about nine years old. Three weeks in I bought a book that I wanted and kissed my dream of the Caribbean goodbye.
That said, I can easily see the appeal of the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ thing. Few better opportunities for a total overhaul present themselves than the blank slate that is a New Year, although this notion seems to incorrectly assume that nothing and no one that you have done or known from one year will carry over to the next. A total restart is rarely possible, but progress is.
With that in mind, I have, perhaps against my better judgement, resolved to do several things this year. I’m not calling them Resolutions, as if I might be able to trick my psyche into persevering with them a little longer if the pressure of commitment and threat of failure aren’t hanging over it all.
I went to the cinema this afternoon, to finally see the new Star Wars film (it was superb, if anyone’s wondering. My love for Oscar Isaac has cemented itself). In honour of this, my hair is in double buns as a Princess Leia tribute, and I’m wearing a t-shirt that has a little R2-D2 on it. I took about 30 selfies of this to try to document it on instagram, hated every single one of them and deleted them all. And then spent a few minutes wondering what was so wrong with my face that I couldn’t take a single decent picture, and bemoaning my utter lack of photogenic-ness (it’s a word, shh) and generally hating instagram and my face in equal measure. Then I pulled myself together and spent a self-righteous few minutes deciding that it was all instagram’s fault and the social media tyrant would not win and I would rise above it all and never take another selfie because it was so narcissistic. I got over that stage quite quickly too, and I’m currently at this – my face is my face, fundamentally it will never change, and I should probably care a little bit less about whether I have a weird angle on one cheek, or a wonky smile. After all, I was only trying to show my t-shirt!
So that’s my first decision – try to care less about what other people think of my social media platforms. Post the selfie with the weird, scrunchy face because it’s not the focal point. Put up photos of my hideously ugly creased-up, double-chinned laughing face because I’m laughing and that’s the crucial bit. Social media has its traps, but it also has many benefits – I know what my friends who live miles away from me are up to and how they’re feeling. And, on a more trivial but frankly no less important note, I would have missed the Taskmaster Champion of Champions programme had I not seen Greg Davies tweet about it. Sidenote, if you’ve not seen Taskmaster, you absolutely must. It’s an obscure show on Dave that is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
My second decision is, as ever, the vaguery that is ‘get healthier’. Lose weight, gain muscle tone, fit into my jeans better, stop hating the size labels in my clothes (although truly this is more a women’s fashion manufacturer problem than a me problem), get rid of some jiggle, eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc, etc. Any and all of the above, plus much more, all fall into the ‘get healthier’ category and it can be overwhelming to try to do it all, so I have chosen to focus on ‘get fitter’. I have paid for a gym membership, and intend to do classes three-four times per week after work. I loathe running with all my being, so I need to join some sort of Zumba or similar class where I could almost have enough fun to forget that I’m exercising. Mostly my aim is to no longer be out of breath when I reach the top of the measly two flights of stairs I have to climb at work, but being a bit stronger wouldn’t hurt.
I’m aiming to read more, and read more of a variety of things. I spent a lot of time at uni moaning about how I had so much academic reading and work to do that I had no time for recreational reading. So what do I do when I’m out of education and have whole weekends free to read? I sleep in until 11am, watch a few episodes of something on Netflix, spend hours trawling the internet for nonsense like ‘Which Star Wars Character are you?’ (Poe Dameron, thanks very much) and go to bed later than I should, struggling to fall asleep because I’ve been staring at a screen all day. I have several unread books on my overflowing shelves, and I keep not reading them, buying more because I think I’m interested and then not reading those either. So I’m going to try to read for half an hour every night just before I go to sleep, and more at the weekends, and hopefully this will have the added bonus of creating a steady sleep schedule that means I’m not ignoring my alarms at the weekend and ruining my sleeping pattern.
My final decision is this, this blog. I found that I really, really enjoyed writing about my Year Abroad and subsequent travels (that co-authored blog here, for anyone interested), but I didn’t feel it was appropriate to use that blog to blabber on about my everyday, non-travel, rural-Sussex life, so here we are. I wasn’t sure about doing this, since really I’m not sure anyone cares that much about my opinions, but prompted by my friend Ben and my Uncle Dave, I’m going to do it anyway (here’s hoping you two are reading, otherwise I’ve very possibly lost my entire readership). My writing style tends more towards unfiltered streams of thought and the occasional made-up word than carefully created, purposeful text, I tend to just jump in and start talking about things without any introduction, and I definitely over-use brackets, but I think it will be fun for me. And that’s what the resolution is all about, really, is finding something that I will enjoy without being accountable for anything, or owing anyone anything. Nothing hangs on when and if I write a post, and what I write it about. I can just write, for me.
So there we go, my goals for the coming year. I’ll let you know how they’re coming along. In the meantime, I’m struggling to decide how to sign off. Grammar tips worked quite well on the other blog, but they’re not quite the right fit here. Inspirational quotes seem a bit much, as does any sort of life advice.
Let’s just go with: until next time, K.