Before the new year is upon us, I hope to summarise a few thoughts I am ending 2022 with. I understand this time of year can be daunting and so I hope they might bring some comfort to anyone out there who needs it. Change can be an emotional minefield to navigate. This year more than ever, I have noticed the conversations I have changing. Who’d have thought five years ago the discussion of the best supermarket could be so lengthy, or that we’d be excited over such a menial purchase as a hoover? At one gathering I attended in November I managed to hold a whole conversation about the cheese I buy. I don’t mind the frivolous conversations I’ve mentioned at all. In a way, being an adult comes with the benefit of finding happiness in the smallest of things. At the worst they are something to laugh about.
Then there are the more serious conversations. I now have engaged friends, home-owning friends, career climbing friends. Some of our conversations are now about savings accounts, mortgages, settling down, even having children (which I was shocked by the most, realising this is no longer teenage daydreams but five year life plans). And the comment I keep hearing, more sincerely than ever, is that we’re getting old.
A few weeks ago I turned 26 and I do not have a five year life plan and I am not feeling old in the slightest. I know that when my friends say we are old, they do not necessarily mean we are at an old age, only that they are noticing (as I have) that we are getting older. But if that is the case, I love getting older. When I look back on my life it is not with a pining for the past but with excitement for the future. When I look back and see how much I’ve learned and experienced I am excited for there to be more. I love collecting stories and keeping them for memories. Remember when… Once, we… When we were…
There was one New Year’s Eve, a few years ago, when I first understood how people who ‘couldn’t wait for the year to end’ felt. I’d never shared the same desperation for a year to be over (before the change never felt very symbolic of anything to me). Then midnight came, starting the first minutes of the new year, and I could physically feel the relief. My body loosened and breathing was easier. It was the first time I really embraced change. I stopped scheduling my life and started living for the moment. In an embrace, my friend’s mum told me ‘don’t let the bastards get you down’ and it’s still one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
It was easy that day; it wasn’t so easy other days. On occasion over the past couple of years it’s been particularly difficult to allow a moment to end. I wouldn’t want anyone to finish reading this post with the impression it should be easier than they might find. For me, the best help is to be as present in each moment as possible and allow it to end gracefully. Take what you can while it’s there and then let it go. To know I’ve done all I can is a comfort.
To be clear, I don’t mean every moment has to be productive. I will continue my guilt-free Netflix binges because they make me happy. Alongside my engaged, home-owning, career climbing friends, I also have still-figuring-it-out friends, changing my job friends, leaving my relationship friends. I’m yet to see two peoples lives who look exactly the same. Perhaps all you need to hear right now is that it’s OK not to have things figured out. Taking one day at a time is enough. Trust that everything is coming in its own time.
This year, I am resolving to stand by myself wholeheartedly; to trust in my decisions and prioritise my happiness.
With that, I’m signing off for the short remainder of this year. I will be spending the last couple of days with friends and family. I wish you all a Happy New Year however you are spending it. As ever, thank you so much for reading, and if you are making any resolutions for 2023, I would love to hear them!