New Years and Expectations
I thought it would be easier to write this first post of 2024, but I’ve started and deleted it so many times I’ve lost count. I wanted to catch up a little with my word for the year, which this year is ‘strengthening’, but instead my mind is pulled in a million different directions with all that I could say, all that I want to somehow give voice to but find hard to even translate into anything solid, let alone in a form to write about. Half-thoughts, gut feelings, little wisps of fleeting, intense images, experience in a millisecond, swirling around my brain. So, I thought I’d try and get down some of the things I’m thinking of for the coming year, and hope that it makes some kind of sense!
Happy New Phhhhh
I always feel a little bit of a fraud around New Year. I generally like to settle into the ebb and flow of seasons, feeling the year eke out sometime around the end of October, then thinking ahead and planting some little idea seeds to nurture and wait in the dark months. But of course, it’s hard to avoid the whole New Year thing in January. I try to keep my little seeds in mind, but inevitably get swept up in the whole rush of energy around this time of year. People being new and shiny and sharing their big ideas and all they achieved the past year. I compare myself, and always feel lacking.
New Years eve leaves me feeling deflated – it always has, even when I was young. Everyone else seemed to be doing so much better, have achieved so much more. It was always a time where I looked back and was saddened by how I felt myself in comparison to everyone else. Even though I quite like my little life, and have a lot of things I want to explore in the coming months, that one evening still gets me! So this year, I gave up, went to bed, and humph-ed myself into a disjointed sleep.
A week into 2024
Now, a week into the new year, things seem to be settling again. Those little seeds I planted in my mind back in October are beginning to raise their heads, along with the daffodil bulbs emerging from the ground outside. This is where I feel comfortable, not pulled this way and that by the excess of energy and expectation January inevitably brings.
Back then, as I chose my word for this year, strengthening, I wasn’t too sure what that would look like over the coming months. But leaving my brain to work on it over these darker days is starting to bring some clarity. Trust in the process – it always works out, and it all falls into place, year after year. Now, I’m starting to notice the areas where I’d like to work as the months lighten. As the bulbs stir and the branches begin to bud, a bit of clarity starts to shine from those dark days. So this is what I’m sort-of-planning, for the coming months!
What I’m doing this year: Strengthening
I spent the last year in a sort of stasis. A processing year, from the tumult that was 2022. The last months have been spent trying to make sense, letting things settle, working through bereavement, discovery, and a high university workload. My word last year was regeneration, and although it wrung me out, I definitely feel new, somehow. I learned a lot. Now is the time to explore what I learned and build on that, to make some sort of base for the years ahead.
In 2022, I found out I have ADHD. My whole life suddenly fell into place, but it was a huge thing to process. Too huge. Although a lot made sense, I didn’t have the capacity to start to make the changes my brain needed to begin to thrive. That grief for all the years thinking I was useless, the sadness for a younger me who didn’t understand why she never really fit in, the frustration of ‘what if’. This year, I’m excited to strengthen my sense of self, whatever that is. I don’t really know, I’ve spent so many years being someone else! I’m excited to see who emerges over the coming months. It sounds like fun!
Chronic illness, mental health and general intense life happenings have meant I’ve lost a lot of fitness over the last few years. It’s not been the right time to work on that, but I feel that now is becoming the right time. I won’t talk about this much, I don’t think – there’s a lot for me to process and a lot of comparison to my previous self, but safe to say, a bit of wandering, a bit of outdoors-ing, one foot in front of the other – that all sounds like good stuff to look forward to in the coming months.
I want to make sure I have enough energy to look after my mental and physical health, work on that process of self-discovery, and begin to give my body a bit of respite and healing, as much as I can do. I’d like to do a big walk (big for me, anyway) and get back into wild camping, so increasing my ability to be able to achieve this is something that will take a while to work from, as I’m coming from literally a standing (or lying!) start. We begin, again and again and again.
Last year, I spent way too much time on my phone, something I’ll talk about in coming weeks. Instead of that, this year I want to reframe how I spend my time and energy – and using those lost hours spent scrolling for something productive sounds brilliant. I put way too much energy into my university work last year, to the point that I had nothing left to give. I said yes to too many projects and ended up resenting the whole thing.
Strengthening means building a solid base from which to give my best, and to make sure I have enough energy to direct into all aspects of my work, and to look into the future. So I’m dialling down the university projects to an important few, giving myself time to actually do some work, and also dialling up the importance of this blog. I’ve sadly neglected it since its inception, too confused by big ideas and no idea how to prioritise anything to take it forwards. So, I’ll be spending a lot more time here in 2024!
I’m so excited to spend more time on the blog. I’m also really looking forward to the coming months of discovery and finding my own little path through this life – I feel like I’ve been walking just a little way off it for the last 40 years!
I hope you’ve had a good start to the new year, whenever it feels right to celebrate it (or not). Do you make resolutions or have a word of the year? If, like me, you’ve had some life events to process, what helps you with that?
I’m looking forward to this process of beginning, again. At age 40, it seems it’s been a long time coming. But hopefully, now is the time for exploration, experience, and yes, some gentle, tentative strengthening. We’ve got this!