Happy New Year, Happy New Fear

May we all have a failure now and then.


Last year, I wrote a blog lining out all the things I was going to do that was going to make 2017 my year. I was going to be amazing. I was going to become see so many places and do so many things. I was going to move back to Nottingham, and have a great job, and a great social life.


Twelve months on, I’m watching a re-run of Lewis on the sofa in my parents’ house, where I now live, while I work at my old school in Admissions.


It goes without saying that I didn’t really fulfil any resolutions this year.


Instead of looking back at 2017 as twelve wasted months, I’m looking at it from another angle. It’s been twelve months of learning.


I’ve learned what I’m good at.  I’m not just good at learning a few phrases in a foreign language and spitting them back out. I’ve learned that IT and computers and coding come relatively easily to me, and that maybe it’s something that I can see myself working in some time down the road.


I’ve learned my limits. I’d heard of burnout before, and thought nothing of it. I know when I’m about to crash, and I know what I need to do so that it doesn’t happen again.


I’ve learned that I’m a lot more social than I thought I was. That although I’m happy to sit inside and bingewatch series after series on Netflix, I like spending time with likeminded people. That sitting inside with no social contact outside of work is the worst.


I’ve learned that other people, no matter how experienced they are in their fields, are just human, and humans are fallible. It’s taught me to stand on my own two feet, and to trust my gut.


I’ve learned that if someone gives you a reason to be unhappy, and goes out of their way to make your day worse, it’s not worth the effort, regardless of how difficult their lives may be.


I’ve learned that I should be at the front and centre of the story that is my life, and I know it sounds selfish, but sometimes, you have to be selfish. If you’re not making yourself happy by doing what you’re doing, then you make steps to change that. Sometimes, those steps are painful or drastic, but it has to be done.


But most of all, I’ve learned that we’re all allowed to fail, and that it’s better to be open about your failures than it is to hide them. It’s so easy to look at other people’s Instagram feeds and feel that they have perfect bodies, perfect relationships, perfect lives, and that somehow, we’re failing at life. I’m just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to making my life seem so much better than it actually is, but this attitude, I’ve learned, sometimes, does more harm than good.


I guess what I want to say is that right now, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Okay, my health is certainly not amazing right now, but it’s better than it’s been (severe allergies really aren’t fun), and I’m getting better in state of mind. I’ve got my friends and family, the best people I know, around me, and they’ve helped me through some dark days. I’ve learned who’s worth fighting for, and who isn’t. I’ve learned that making other people happy is no good if you’re not happy yourself. I’ve started to better myself, and I’m going to continue to do so.


All that’s left is for me to wish you, if you’re reading, happiness, joy, and health for 2018.


One year older…

… and not at all wiser.

The end of the year always makes me think. My birthday is in early December, so New Year marks me being a year older, and a chance to look over the previous year, and to decide to start afresh.


I’ve never really been one for resolutions. For years, it was ‘I will stop biting my nails’, which fell by the wayside when I became a bit of a hygiene freak at the age of about seventeen. After that… nothing.

Reading through the internet the other day, I read a list of reasons why people break their resolutions. One of them is that they’re never written down. So here’s my attempt at keeping them.

  • Learn a language.

Starting with the big one. Maybe this is too much to ask. I already speak three languages other than my mother tongue (more or less) fluently, but these came through years of lessons at school, and later at university. In the sales, I’ve bought myself a few language guides, and hopefully I’ll be conversational in one (or preferably more) of the following: Danish, Icelandic, Welsh, or Catalan. Even better, I’d like to be able to watch films and TV without subtitles in at least one of them; this is most likely to happen in Catalan, because I already understand a good 50% of it, I just can’t speak it. I might even give Hebrew a shot, but I’m a bit hesitant.

  • Toughen up. Learn to stand up for yourself.

I’ve been a bit of a doormat all my life; my mantra was ‘keep your head down and don’t rock the boat’. My entire school life, I never once stood up and made a noise about what I believe in – I only started to even make my views known to people I didn’t know well in my final year at university – and that’s pretty sad. This year, I’m starting as I wish to go on. If I see something I don’t think is fair or right, I’ll make that known – be that to friends, family, colleagues, or strangers.

  • Get fit, for the love of God.

In school, I was lucky enough to be one of those kids who was so skinny, extra-curricular sport wasn’t really necessary to keep in good shape, thanks to a combination of a fast metabolism and chronic anxiety. Six years after finishing compulsory sport lessons, I’ve put on about fifteen kilos. While I don’t want to be the bag of bones I was at school – looking back, I look like a skeleton – but it would be nice to drop a dress size and improve my fitness a bit. I got a Fitbit for my birthday last month, and my pulse rate is enough to make me want to hit the gym.

  • Do what makes you happy.

This is the big one. I’m not going to go big into details, but put it this way – I’ve made a few decisions in the last three months that I regret, and that are making me pretty unhappy. Only I can change this. And I will.

  • Travel.

The world is a very small place, and you only live once. It’s no good never leaving your country, or never leaving your continent. I’m earning enough money to allow me to travel, so I’m saving up my days off to take a few weekends away, to visit old friends, to visit family, and to see new places. Being a slave to the job is no fun at all.

  • Be honest.

I’m usually an honest person. If I make a mistake, I own up to it. What I mean is about being honest to myself. I’ve been keeping things quiet for a long time, and I think this year is the time I admit these things. Otherwise, I’ll only end up regretting things.

Those are mine. What are yours?