I did what I always reluctantly do on New Year’s Day. I opened my emails.
Of course I knew what to expect. It’s the same old tiresome calendar day where the world enjoys selling you the idea that you can massively improve yourself as you head into the Impending New Year.
Open this email! Did you know that you can be A Shiny New Improved Version Of Yourself In These 5 Easy Steps?
It’s the gold rush moment in which brands are clambering over themselves to desperately taut their discounted wares because you’re probably feeling vulnerable and hungover: the first one I read was “New Year, New Sunglasses!” (because when you are feeling very vulnerable, lying under a blanket and have The Fear of what you did the night before, you could genuinely think those sunglasses could CHANGE your life for the better). The next one had the subject line: “Time for a new healthy you?” which listed a new kale menu at a restaurant nearby. The other was “New Exercise Class, New Body, New You!” for a local gym down my road.
I get it. We are feeling vulnerable. TK Maxx have put their sports equipment right at the front so you can’t help but walk INTO the rail and have an exercise bra in your face and you think Oh Fuck. Then you realise the sports socks are heavily discounted so go on then I’ll take two.
As a teen, I used to wish time away and think:
“when [enter specific occasion happens here] then everything thing will be perfect.”
“Next year things will be great!”
“When I’m 30 I’ll probably be married!”
“If I lose a bit of weight then I’ll have the life I want!”
“If I get a book deal ALL MY PROBLEMS will vanish!”
However: PLOT TWIST! It rarely works out like you thought it would. It’s rare that something will work out exactly the way you romanticised it. Nothing is ever in your control. And nothing is ever perfect all the time, and that’s okay. It’s OKAY that you haven’t ticked off that dreaded bucket list. That’s what makes life one big adventure. As the Congolese singer Mohombi once sang: it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Life may never be a Disney film – but it can still be SO GOOD without the over-the-top sparkles.
Here’s what I know: there is no New Me.
I don’t like to pretend that life will just magically take off and turn into endless rainbows and marshmallows just because I decide to drink more smoothies and post more inspiration quotes on Instagram or promise to myself to “dance in the rain!!!!” It’s nice to make resolutions, I get it; it certainly does make me feel more in control as I fill my diary with lists and daydreams of What I Hope To Achieve One Day.
But I don’t know what I will achieve. Does anyone?
Here’s a list of stuff I know I will carry on doing no matter how many times I make it a ~New Year’s Resolution~:
- Spending too much money on ordering things like a bunch of hardback books and then struggling to transport them with me to actually read.
- Working 24/7. I don’t really class blogging and writing and doing what I do as “work” sometimes. I’m not going to make myself feel bad about it – I don’t have any kids, I’m in my twenties, so if I want to be a workaholic for the time being then so be it. I feel very lucky to love what I do and find it oddly therapeutic at times.
- Forgetting to reply to messages straight away which would clearly take two seconds to answer.
- Going to bed late. I curse myself by uttering the words “early night” and then find myself working away with my bedside lamp on something until my eyeballs ache
- Double-screening in front of the TV. I love a live-tweeting sesh I do.
- Cooking. This year I’m going to experiment privately at home instead of making a big song and dance about “going on a cookery course!!!” Small steps.
- Going to the cinema too much. Maybe it is over-indulgent but getting lost in other people’s lives is one of the only times I’m actually switched off.
- Eating unhealthily. I don’t want my body to creak and I want to live a long life so I DO want to be healthy. But I don’t want to eat a stale bland salad and then fall out with people for being grumpy. I will do my best to balance myself but I’m not making any diet plans. Soz bod!
- Taking things personally. When people I know well make a subtle dig/comment about my life choices I will always have a sensitive/defensive moment. I don’t think I can change that any time soon. I’ve gotten pretty good at not letting random people online annoy me though. Whatevz suckas!
- Going running very infrequently. I know how it goes each year. I buy some jazzy new sportswear and think THIS IS THE YEAR and then I go once. Or maybe twice.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s OK if there is no Overnight New You.
Every day you get up and get dressed and go into the world a little bit of you is different.
Every day we are a little bit better.
So stop emailing me all this “New Year New You” shite.