Hello, my little lightbulbs!
A very belated happy new year! I hope that the dawning of this new year is treating you well and if it hasn’t, at least you’re getting the bad bits out of the way early.
I started this new year quite differently than others. I welcomed it in with loved ones, as usual, but left the pile of new years resolutions in the pen. I have yet to write my yearly goals and, honestly, I feel better for it. I decided to start this year with intention and softness for myself. I realised late last year that I really don’t give myself a minute (thank you perfectionism, people-pleasing and imposter syndrome – love you guys). With this realisation came deeper recognition that by constantly chasing my tail, I haven’t really progressed in ways that I want to and I don’t feel like I’m fully directed towards understanding, and living, my purpose.
Due to this feeling of hamster on a wheel – my first intention of the year was to get to know myself again. To slow things down and create spaces for thought. I’m not talking Polar Express Tokyo Drift style break slamming, but a gradual easing off of pressures, which has been really difficult to do. I’m sure you’ll have felt it too- the intense ‘bounce back’ pressure of January. Where a few days earlier we were being pushed and prodded to spend, smile, drink and be merry now it’s ‘back to the grind’ time: get to the gym, ignore your family members for work again and establish a healthy sleeping pattern and morning routine immediately. It can all be a bit much.
I haven’t been to the gym as often as usual for this time of the year, nor has my diet been as regimented. I found myself feeling like I haven’t done much this month and so wanted to use this post to remind myself, and you guys, that success can materialise in some very different, beautiful ways.
One way that I’m counting success is through my relationships. I’ve cultivated so many nourishing relationships with some amazing people and feel that the conversations I have with these people, help me to get closer to myself. From fuelling long-standing friendships; to having the awesome opportunity to meet long-distance friends; to introducing newer relationships into my routine – I’m very grateful for the people I have backing my corner.
A second way that I’m finding success is through adventure! While my hours at the gym may be down, my time outside is going up – which is awesome considering the natural inclination to stay inside in the chilly weather. From Gwyndir Forest in Wales, to Biddulph Grange in Stoke-on-Trent, to Pendle Hill and more – I’ve definitely been getting the steps in and simultaneously viewing some amazing scenery!
Thirdly, is a less quantifiable means of success. Intention. I’m working to be intentional in how I think and respond to the world around me. One method of this intention is to build confidence in a holistic and organic way. At 25, I’m facing a cheeky quarter-life crisis whereby I get thoughts that I’m old, ugly, unaccomplished, boring etc. Alongside these niggles is the avalanche fear of lacking purpose. I’m an unmarried woman, living at home, working two jobs that don’t pay Masters level wages. Put another way:
I’m 25 years old. I’ve no money and no prospects. I’m already a burden to my parents and I’m frightened.
– Charlotte Lucas, Pride and Prejudice
Unchecked, these negative thoughts can start to frame my beliefs. So, when the fear and insecurity come, through making more time for myself, I like to look around at other people. I look at the positive impact I can, and often do, have on the people around me. I think of the students whose anxieties I’ve reduced, the ones I’ve helped to empower and instil an excitement for learning. I look at the friends and loved ones who come to me as a safe haven to vent to, and who value my advice and guidance. I think of the strangers whose day I brighten by smiling and saying hello, something I was once too anxious to even attempt. I think of my ability to utilise my traumatic experiences as a means of helping other people feel normal and understood.
When I reflect on this, it makes me proud that I’ve come so far. And you will be doing the same. Think about it – who are the people whose lives you make brighter with your existence? There will be people, I promise you.
On top of recognising my impact, I’m putting the work into myself again. I’m starting lessons for skills I want to build, I’m listening to podcasts on topics where I need to be educated or healed and I’m verbally correcting unhelpful thoughts as often as I can. There is so much to be gained when you start to invest time and energy into your own enlightenment. How can you show up for yourself differently going forward? What would that look like if you started working towards it in the coming week?
I hope that reading this has got you thinking about your own start to the year in a more balanced way. Even if January wasn’t newsworthy, I know that there were some great behind the scene stories that warm your heart. I love the thought that you have had conversations with loved ones and strangers that have spread warmth, joy and a sense of comfort. My biggest wish for you right now is that you take some time for yourself and for that time to be loving, healing and revealing.
I’m wishing you an amazing 2023 and I cannot wait to see what is in store for you this year!
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