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Thoughts for the New Year

Posted on Jan 7, 2019 by

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The beginning of the year always feels promising to me. Even if I know that the day of 1 January is not any more special than any other random day of the year, I still get excited when we change the number and enter a new year: the future is here! Twelve new months of empty pages in the agenda, waiting to be filled with events. Of course, the problems of the previous year will not magically disappear, they will be carried over into the new one and we’ll still have to face them and find solutions. We will continue our struggles, our battles, we will have joys and sorrows, successes and failures and, with any luck, we’ll live to see the next year. But when the new year starts, on that first day when everything is still and everyone is finally sleeping, exhausted after the parties and the pressure of the holidays, it’s a good moment to sit down and ponder our lives.

I don’t usually make resolutions, because I know myself and I know there is no point in doing that, but I do have hopes and wishes for the new year. I like to take a few days and think about what I am doing with my life, reconsider some parts of it, choosing what to keep and what to put an end to.

Wishes for 2019

So, what are my wishes for 2019?

First of all, I wish to be healthy. This is not something I have much control over, apart from taking care of myself more, eating healthy, exercising… you know, the usual. The past year has been a difficult one for me from this point of view. For the most part of it, I was a walking zombie, trying to survive and keep my life together: I had Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, which is kind of like chronic fatigue, just that it’s not chronic… yet. I was exhausted to a point that I didn’t believe possible but somehow I still managed to work full time, feed myself and the cat, and write an article here and there. It’s still a mystery to me how I managed to do all that, when my body and mind were almost completely shut down. It started after a nasty flu at the beginning of March and was gone only in September. So, as you can imagine, not much happened during these months. But, in my rare energy moments, I started working on my beloved projects, like the interviews I published here. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and had great conversations and many photo sessions. But it was all clouded by my exhaustion moments and now, when I feel normal again, all I can wish is to never go back to feeling like that.

My focus this year will be on slowing down and being more present in the moment. I want to stop trying to do everything, and make priorities. Everything else can wait; and if it never gets its turn, oh well, maybe it wasn’t my thing after all. I have to analyse what I am doing, to see if it’s really what I want, if the reasons for doing one thing or another are still resonating with me. I want to discover what I really want to do and what was imposed upon me by others, without me even realising it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the flow and go in directions you never wanted, and which are not actually suited for you. It’s hard to let go of unfinished things, but I want to make peace with that: time is limited and there is no point in wasting it on what does not bring value to our life (even if it’s about little things, such as finishing a book that you don’t like).

I wish to do more of what makes me happy without any concern about excelling at it or getting something out of it, something other than joy. I want to see more dance shows, more theatre; to write more on my stories and poems — but without beating myself up over not being disciplined or not writing “enough”. To spend more time by the sea and in nature. Actually, I might even make a resolution out of this šŸ™‚

Then, I want to live a simpler, more considered life. This is something I have been trying to do already for some years, but I would like to make it a priority. Maybe reflecting more of it on this blog as well. Things like sustainability, less waste, well thought-out purchases, re-purposing should be interesting for more people and perhaps we can exchange ideas here. We’ll see about that.

A few travels are in my plan and maybe another staycation too. Spending more time with the loved ones is more important, as well as simply enjoying the little things in life. As you can see, I have no challenges that I am setting for myself, no big achievements to be expected, no “hit the gym” programmes, no piles of books to read or to write. Is this going to be an amazingly banal year? I certainly hope so!

What are your plans for the new year?

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  1. I reckoned with a lot of what you’ve written, especially the “stop trying to do everything” and stop beating yourself up for not doing enough. Yesterday I saw a YouTube video from a girl I like following. She was talking about how she has finally reached her dream of being able to do full-time YouTube… and how that came with a cost to her mental health. She’s now dealing with depression and anxiety. It’s so paradoxical that the things you want and work for the most will, most likely, bring you a lot of suffering as well. This is the reason why I cannot blog / vlog on a super high level – because I know by experience that, in the first years, the only way of doing that is to burn yourself out. I tried to do that. And, like the girl on the video, I did end up with an anxiety disorder. So, just like you, I chose to go slow. My focus this year will be on doing my thing and working on consistency while also taking care of my physical and mental health, the most precious thing that I have. Have an awesome year! šŸ™‚

    • Indeed, Ana, our health is the most precious possession! And it’s so easy to take it for granted and lose it!
      As for getting the things we want most, if we have to get through a burnout to get them, then I think it’s best to reconsider. But the thing is, you don’t know upfront where a certain path will take you, you have to stumble a bit on your way before you get a bit wiser šŸ™‚ Let’s do our best and enjoy doing it, and we’ll see where that goes.
      An awesome year to you too!

  2. Hey there! I am a regular follower of yours. I just want to say you literally covered every single point that I have on my mind for 2019! I am the same, never so far resolutions (maybe that’s the problem?!?), just hopes and wishes for the year. Not that it worked out well every time, but 2019 must be the year!! I feel sliding along the dangerous slope of viral fatigue you talk about, so there is no time to waste. As for this year’s wishes, I am also taking time with them, little by little, I can only hope and do my best to keep this going and fulfill at least some, not necessarily all. Best of luck, I am with you on this! Greetings šŸ™‚

    • I’m glad my words resonated with you, Pavlina! And so nice to hear from you šŸ™‚
      I think hopes and wishes are enough, we don’t need the extra pressure the word “resolution” brings (at least I don’t, some people might function differently). We can work to fulfil them as well – as long as we remember them throughout the year. That’s one of the reasons I wrote this article: it’s a reminder for myself, because I am sure that life will happen and I won’t have the same mindset at all times. It’s also OK to fulfil just some, it’s not a competition. Take care of yourself and good luck. Let’s make sure we have a relaxed year!

  3. Glad to hear you are feeling better. My wife suffered from an iron shortage for a few months (a little over a year ago). It’s not the same as post viral fatigue but I saw how bad than kind of continual and extreme exhaustion can get.

    I think slowing down and focusing on health are good goals to have. I’m trying to do the same as well. I used to beat myself up a lot if I felt like I was not doing enough or working hard enough (especially when it came to writing). It was making me unhappy for a while and I almost stopped blogging altogether. Luckily a few people made me realize that I had to stop being so hard on myself. Writing has become fun again since I’ve started taking the approach that I should only write when I feel inspired (instead of writing out of a feeling that I have to). That’s not to say I don’t slip into the old habit again sometimes but when I do I just try to acknowledge it with out being hard on myself. That usually gets me out of it again.

    This year I’m focusing on trying to create new habits rather than setting end goal. I’m hoping there will be less pressure that way and that I’ll make more of a lasting change through building on small actions.

    • Thanks, Stuart! Iron deficiency can knock you down pretty well, I hope she’s all good now!
      I remember reading your article in which you were talking about how beating yourself up almost made you stop blogging (or was it a FB post?). I’m glad you didn’t šŸ™‚ I am kind of in the same situation right now (with the blogs and the stories I was working on), but I think having a break will help. And writing only when I have energy is maybe better than give up writing entirely. We’ll see, because, as you say, it’s easy to slip back into the old habit.

      Good luck with the new habits!

      • Thanks. She’s recovered from the iron shortage now. Although she is now recovering from a mild concussion (I’m not the only accident prone one in the family).

        I think I wrote about almost giving up blogging in my new years post last year. I hope you feel better about writing and blogging again soon. Taking a break and writing for yourself rather then others definitely helps.

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