As a writer, I often indulge myself in nostalgic memories of the past (of growing pains, heartache, adventures and clumsy encounters), and a part of me would be lying if I did not use those as a basis for my work; a way to reconcile or rejoice in that feeling than to use my words to burn bridges. Writing is my lens to view the world, like my mother has her camera, it is my way of making peace with myself.
Perhaps it is the writer in me, or maybe it is the Bibliophile part of me, but my eyes seek out those adventures and pushes me towards the unknown, to create memories. Books have always offered me an adventure or two but have left a desire for me to build my own. While writing has been a way for me to understand it, to understand myself. A part of me has decided that after the previous confusing mixture of last year, I would set out to pastures new to create new memories, and new images to fill my writing.
I decided to fill my year with some positive goals and plans to help keep me motivated. A part of me believes that, for me at least, having a goal is in a way like a dream. There are times when dreams can be realised, but times when all they do is hang there full of promise. If I have plans, whether that’s a coffee date with a friend or a cinema trip, I hope it’ll provide balance and a much needed break at times from, what I know, will be an uphill battle with my goals.
Balance has been a word, and a way of living, that I have strived towards. I didn’t achieve this last year, and as a result, in the summer heat I struggled. My mental health took a personal hit. I had hit a wall. Work had consumed my thoughts and conversations (not to mention the odd dream), my confidence had taken a tumble and my words suddenly felt stale. I was burnt out.
By Autumn, I was slowly climbing out of my slump, rather reluctantly I might add. I dug my notebook back out of my bedside draw and I sat writing. I decided to find the words and with it some sense of self; find my lens again so I may see the path ahead. It seemed easier said than done. I spent hours lamenting over that notebook, hours hunched over books and internet searches for inspiration and research.
I had pushed aside what I could not change at work and focused on words I could change in front of me. By the end of the year, I had spent time reclaiming my space here. Nervously at first, but after listening to some wise words, I decided to write. Share what mattered to me. Try to keep this idea of writing for myself and no one else.
It helped. I know, however, that balance is needed. I need to stop focusing on what I cannot change, ask for help when it is needed and to balance my time. Stop focusing on one thing with tunnel vision and accept that, at times, I can be more than one thing at a time.
I decided at the end of the year, I would do things that were good for me and things to fill my year with memories, landscapes of which to set my lens upon. But mostly, I decided that it was time to be more accepting of myself. I realise that I have made mistakes and I am too clumsy, but I try. That’s enough. I try for those I care about, and now I want to try for myself. Apply the brakes before I hit the wall and take care of myself.
For me, I decided not to cave to my anxiety. I stopped biting my nails and asked for help with my health and well-being, and I decided to help my writing by undergoing a postgraduate course in Creative Writing so I could finally tell the story I have wanted to for a long time. I even decided to try some things which terrified me, I booked my first driving lesson and even to see a music festival and some gigs. Something which I haven’t felt like doing for a while. I have decided to fill my year with laughter amongst friends, and time with my mum and even a few dates.
I realised something then, as I wrote this all down. What I trying to achieve with the new year. I am giving myself not just the opportunity to get the most from the year, to make some wonderful memories (and to be my wonderfully clumsy and cluttered self). I am giving myself the opportunity to be happy and that’s the best goal I could hope to achieve.
I’m smiling again…