SO THIS IS THE NEW YEAR
For as long as I can remember I've greeted New Year's Day with the silent hum of Death Cab For Cutie's 'This Is The New Year' in my head. With the opening lyrics 'so this is the new year, and I don't feel any different' set against an uplifting melody, the song has the tendency to throw me into a negative train of thought without much notice. But this year, as my personal New Year's Day anthem began to play in my mind the lyrics no longer seemed to parallel my life.
I felt different. In fact, I was very different.
At the onset of 2016, I wrote a piece called New Year, Same Me (Just Better), in which, I looked forward to a fresh start after an extremely difficult year. And although in that moment I was just beginning to recognise myself again, I could already sense that there were great things ahead. Flash forward to January 1st, 2017, and I'm completely overwhelmed by all the ways I've personally grown over the past year, alongside everything I've been able to accomplish.
In taking the time to reflect on how I went about this year differently than years past, I've come to the conclusion that my growth and accomplishments from twenty sixteen are largely thanks to these three simple, yet imperative realizations...
1. THE ONLY REAL CHANGE COMES FROM INSIDE
There is an incredible difference between knowing change is needed and truly wanting change for yourself. For years I found myself desperate for change with no real motivation to do so. Coupled with severe anxiety and depression, I allowed myself to continue down a path of self-destruction, until one day last year I was notified of the loss of someone I truly admired and loved. The painful awareness that the world had lost someone so motivated, determined, caring and brilliant, while I 'took up space' wallowing in my own self-pity ripped me out of whatever hole I had crawled into and forced me back to life.
From that moment on I remained conscious of every decision, every action, every thought I had. If it wasn't something that was serving me, or leading me in the direction I had intended, I threw it by the waste side. I slowly began to remember who I was, what I liked, and what I wanted from life. I began to view myself just as he had; with hope. And although it certainly didn't feel like it at the time, I look back on the year and can see just how much change those simple, instantaneous decisions made.
At times, it feels selfish to say that his death is what saved me, but it truly did, and it's something I'll be forever grateful for.
2. YOU ARE IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF WHO ENTERS YOUR UNIVERSE
The ability to choose who you surround yourself with is a beautiful thing – and that's true of both friendships and relationships. In previous years, I had been paralyzed by the idea that I had to maintain friendships with people merely due to the amount of time I had invested in them. Turns out, that's not the case! After parting ways with people who cared more about the designer handbag on my wrist than the words exiting my lips I finally discovered true friendship, and I've never been happier.
Furthermore, this year I came to the realization that I don't need, or want, a man – for now anyways. The end of a five-year relationship back in 2014 lead to years of horrible Tinder dates, a string of 3-month flings, and honestly, a lot of wasted time. Instead of focusing on myself, and my career, I put all my efforts into men who couldn't return the favour. So, for 2017 I'm excited to remain single and get further reacquainted with myself.
3. OTHER PEOPLES OPINIONS AND SUCCESS' DON'T MATTER
Finally, and most importantly: FUCK 'EM ALL. I know what you're thinking, easily said but oh so difficult to do. And you're right, there are still moments when it feels impossible for me to disregard someone's opinion I truly respect, but it's one of the most important notions to follow in order to stay sane in our current society.
At the end of the day, it's simple: without knowing your full story, how in the hell can anyone impose their opinion on you or your life?
And with that, I look forward to 2017, humming the repetitive line 'there'd be no distance that could hold us back'.
What are you looking forward to this year?
Let me know in the comment section below.