January rolls around once again, along with the encouragement of new goals and a fresh sense of motivation. You know, those things that typically follow a period of Christmas rest, although it would be safe to say that this time, our state of relaxation may have been somewhat led astray. New plans rushed in place of those that many of us had worked on and looked forward to for most of the year. Only then to be swiftly followed by yet another lockdown. You can’t blame anyone for reaching out to 2021 as a complete restart.
Initially, as 2020 came to a close, I vowed not to fall in to that trap of the “new year, new beginnings“ trope, after all, we can’t simply go on believing that a new year will be the remedy to the one that preceded it. Yet, if that is to be true, it does of course suggest that it does not necessarily have to be worse – and so we have the matter of taking it all in our own hands and making it work. That is not say that we should just get on with life, or that we simply must put all our energy into constantly being busy. Sure, recognise goals and by all means make an effort when we see fit, but above all, be more forgiving. For some, the most relaxing thing will be to take time over a hobby, or even just have a nap. Equally it might be hunkering down with a project and occupying oneself with tasks and to-do lists. There is not one blueprint to the way a human must take it easy. There is however a very common factor to remember, and that is to breathe. Take in the moment, whatever it might be, and live it. Even if you feel like crying, let it out, no one is going to blame you and quite frankly we could all probably do with one big communal cry – socially distanced of course.
Ah, that phrase is one that sends shivers down my spine. Yet, with all the relaxation and taking it easy on ourselves, we cannot forget the safety. Not only that, but how much sooner we will be able return to embracing loved ones and enjoying social outings if we actually stick to it. A few months of lockdown is a small price to pay, it’s just a shame it didn’t come sooner. Not to mention that the first one was followed by the horrendous Eat Out To Help Out scheme. Please, never again. I refuse to say that things will “go back to normal”, because truly, I don’t think such a thing exists anymore. I also refuse to consider a “new normal”. If anything this past year has taught us that the norm is not something to be relied on – that we must show the will to adapt, and in doing so, appreciate the new things that come with it.
I never imagined I would not be spending Christmas with my family – yet I am fortunate enough to have spent it with my housemates. Frankly I quite enjoyed rushing to the shops for food – once I got over the financial side of things that is. I liked being able to leave my dinner at the table when I had eaten my fill, pausing to watch a Christmas film, while flitting back to the table for seconds, thirds and fourths throughout the day. I also weirdly enjoyed the new tradition of having a stuffed mushroom for breakfast. Oh, and then there was the robin that appeared on the slightly frosty fence in the garden while I was on the phone to family – a hallmark Christmas scene right there in front of me. It wasn’t what I had planned but it was still Christmas, and a very calm one at that.
At some point in the future I will have a belated Christmas with the family, which for once separates my birthday from the festivities, so I guess that is an added bonus. For now though, I am trying not to think about it too much – it will happen in the future, hopefully not too distant, but right now everything is about exactly that – now. As we start 2021, I start yet again the work to get back to writing – even if I am using the fact that my new laptop doesn’t arrive until the end of the month as an excuse – it is still happening. I am also taking part in Veganuary and honestly, will probably just carry on with it for the foreseeable. I had my fair share of cheese and milk chocolate over the holidays, and can certainly make do without. We will see how everything goes of course but for now I am feeling hopeful and prepared.
Wherever this year takes me, wherever I go, I am going to try my best to be more present. Work on putting the phone away more, actually watch a film without forcing it into the background while I play games on that tiny little screen – just listen and take life in. I am in a very good position, living in a house share of wonderful people and TWO PUPPIES – this should be a breeze. There will be days that are up, and days that are down, but throughout it all I will hold on to the positives, while accepting the negatives and working through them – perhaps I’ll try journaling, perhaps not. We will just have to see. All I know is, it is just another year – more time for learning and growing, and though I know it won’t all be easy, I am so grateful for what and who I have in my life. Go on 2021, bring it.