At the start of last year, I wrote about resolutions being a blank slate to start our year on. It is a tradition that my family and friends participate in, and yet one that has made me think where I stand with it. Is it outdated and impossible in creating change or could it be something that generates real personal growth? As a new year starts anew, I begin thinking about it once more. What does it offer me this year? If it is like the last, I hope it one filled with excitement and many more happy memories.
I always consider January as almost a trial month, it is one that we trial change and our resolutions and work out what we’d like for the new year ahead. A month, if you’d like, where we consider whether to carry on with our resolutions or whether to leave them here. Yet I find them somewhat alluring, a siren’s call, the mystery and intrigue of them fascinate me. I want to hold onto this feeling for a moment because with each goal we give ourselves, there’s so much opportunity within them; not to mention the hope for the new year too. The best way I can think of it, it’s like starting on a blank page of notebook – an invitation to create.
I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit that through all those possibilities, I was worried. What if I bit off more than I could chew? Worse still, what if I lose sight of them and grow bored? With all this in mind, I still continued to make resolutions. For the first time last year, I made three resolutions that I felt I could do. I promised myself, I would be more realistic with what I wanted to achieve; and I wouldn’t apply pressure to myself or fixate on them. I’d use them as stepping stones I could use to carry me through the weeks, months and hopefully the year. They were as follows:
- Focus on my health.
- Join the gym.
- Make more memories.
They seem simple in reflection, yet for me they were a challenge and one I felt I could reach. The simple reason being that I have a tendency to cast myself aside, keep putting off plans. I’d get around to it eventually, yet something else was more important.
By the end of the year, however, I felt that I had very little to show for it other than a large list of what I’d like to do. My life had lost balance. I thought with these resolutions I could restore that and feel more in touch with myself. The first thing I needed to do was stop putting off going to the doctor to explain what was wrong. I needed support and to find out why I felt tired and in pain, so I went and chatted to my GP. I needed to look after myself or I’d struggle to accomplish anything I’d want.
My second goal was to further that act of self-care effort by going a step further, I joined a gym. Not so I could fixate on how I looked or my size, but to inspire body confidence in myself. I wanted to look and feel stronger. A close friend of mine, Jess, had told me that the gym had made her feel more empowered so it may work for me. It could even help in my effort to take better care of myself, health wise. I took her advice and joined, even meeting her – and soon to be my – personal trainer, Kay; who is continuing to help me learn how to love exercise (albeit it a very slow process).
That left the final goal I had, to make memories. This meant I had to stop putting off plans and actually start making a dent in that list I had of things I wanted to do. Each month, I would do one thing I’ve always wanted to do and never got around to before. It would give me something to look forward to each month as well as a memory and story.
I’ll admit, as I sit writing this, I am surprised just how much I was able to manage. The year, as you’d expect, did seem to fly by. For the most part, I had a great time and achieved a lot. I laughed a lot, met wonderful people and had memories that bring a smile to my face. There were moments last year that were less kind too. I lost sight of myself, questioned myself and I lost friends, lovers and a beloved family pet.
It was a year I seized, dear reader, and I did manage to complete my resolutions as planned. My health is doing better, I am learning to be kinder to myself; and I don’t tend to shy away from my the mirror. I love heading to the gym and reaching milestones and personal bests. My diary is filled with adventures of all sorts, with phone holding the photos of those memories.
For those curious, a glimpse into last year, in short, looked like this:
January: I said goodbye to a relationship and hello to adventures with old university friends. I submitted my first assignment for my postgraduate course.
February: I went to the theatre, for some girlie time with my mum. I celebrated mine and my nephew’s joint birthday. An old friend surprised me with a visit, while another helped me let my hair down. Work even treated us to an ‘Away Day’ to celebrate our hard work. My first appointment at the hospital happened.
March: I watched a friend begin her bodybuilding journey. Cinema trips. Dancing with my nephews. Evening classes, assignments, and trips to the gym. A trip up north to visit more university friends. A trip to have a bone scan, and even two music gigs with friends. Finished with some family time!
April: Cuddles with pets and family alike. Remembering my granddad, three years gone and I still miss him; we planted a rose for him in our garden. My gym progress is still going. My eldest nephew turns five. An unexpected romance starts.
May: A birthday party for my nephew. Dates. Pub gardens, saying goodbye to bands on farewell tours. Watching my friend compete in bodybuilding. Mini golf, trampolining and floor picnics. Work pranks and visiting a friend before she moves. My consultant gives me a diagnosis. I hand in more assignments for my course.
June: A local festival, complete with sunburns. A trip to the museum. Drinks with friends. Getting in touch with my green thumb. Gym and more personal bests. My glasses break a week before their replacements. My sister’s birthday surrounded by family. Work pranks. A trip to the vets. My boyfriend comes home to meet my family, and my mischievous cat is his biggest fan of all. Plane spotting with my nephews and a festival to boot. A last minute music gig and holding an eagle on my arm with my mum. Off to a Birmingham event with work and a relocation to a new, temporary office. Silly selfies with my nephews, and another attempt at mini golf. A road trip to London to see P!nk with my sister. Work on my dissertation begins.
July: More work pranks, work events and dates. Watching a film outside with friend. Quality time at home, including a BBQ in the rain. Spotting more planes. Dipping into savings for a hot tub, for fun and to help with my health and pain. A girlie trip to Birmingham with cocktails, food, shopping and a massage – we danced and laughed too much to celebrate my friend’s birthday! We headed to the Kitty Cafe too. Research and dissertation work continues.
August: Work, work and more work. Staying caffeinated at local coffee shops. A trip to a farm to see some owls. I unwind from my evenings spent writing my dissertation with dips in the hot tub. My little pet keeps me company. A visit to an inflatable event makes me realise that I had a long way to go with my fitness. More trips to the gym! Extended family come to visit. Another museum trip. I leave for Southampton with my boyfriend to join friends for pride; our friends return the favour too, by visiting us for our local pride. My relationship goes ‘official’.
September: I submit my dissertation. My friend and I go to a Disney themed brunch, more cocktails are consumed. A surprise gift from my sister to remember our road trip. A visit to FriendsFest with a friend. My boyfriend and I head to see an old university friend; and we go to a karaoke night, a Kitty Cafe (for another visit) and an amazing burger joint – even an old pub. Sleepovers with nephews.
October: Another music gig. Family dinners with my boyfriend’s parents. We saw a big replica of the moon. I finally got to see the Joker film. Visiting new friends and attending a one year old’s birthday party – complete with a music chairs competition. I lost a family pet, Prickle, who I miss each day. A trip to the theatre and doughnuts with work. Seeing a family friend before her little one arrives. I welcome autumn and I visit a Dachshund cafe! The Bullring Bull was dressed for Halloween. Me, my boyfriend and best friend get crepes. Another ‘Away Day’ with work. Gym. A night at a comedy show. A trip to the symphony hall to watch classic music of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.
November: Another trip to Southampton. Pool games and my first drag show. Posing for Halloween pictures, indulging in sweets I had in my childhood, even trying an escape room for the first time. My nephews dance to Queen. Another date night, this time to see another comedian. Trips to and from the doctor. My cat decides to come and sleep on my bed, for the first time ever. I receive my results for my postgraduate course and receive a present from my mum to congratulate me; and I begin writing once more for this blog. A catch-up with a friend and meeting her little one. An invitation to my graduation and preparations for this begin. A trip to London for FriendsFestive with my sister and boyfriend. Celebrating a friend’s birthday, where I realise I am not a fan of sushi! We celebrate my boyfriend’s mum’s birthday.
December: A nativity. Illness and online shopping for Christmas! Cuddling a new arrival, as our family friend introduces us to her son. A drag show with my sister after she won tickets. I join my boyfriend and his family for his mum’s choir performance, that leaves us in a fit of giggles. More work pranks and a Christmas meal. A trip to Chester Zoo to see their lantern festival. I make a Christmas Cottage, a chocolate house, from Cadbury complete with Christmas films and music. The last date night of the year to see the new Star Wars film and do some bowling; and we even had a trip on a ferris wheel to see the Christmas lights over the city. I finished work and became the ‘voice’ in our work’s voicemail. A family meal to celebrate the end of a weird year. Christmas with my family, Boxing Day with my boyfriend’s family. He surprised me with an unusual present of a romantic getaway. A girlie catch-up with a friend before we saw Cats the movie. Last gym session of the year. A period of reflection as I schedule more blog posts. Celebrating my mother’s birthday and New Years Eve.
When written down like this, it amazes me how much I accomplished after starting with three little goals. I am pleased with the progress and memories this year gave me, though not without its challenges.
I hope that what I learnt last year will carry with me this year; that I continue to improve my health, keep going with my gym progress and make many more memories. Yet, I hope I have more time to stop and enjoy them more. Perhaps even share them so I can remember them more, without the edges blurring. This year has taught me many things, some of which I am still learning now. I am glad I took the plunge with my resolutions so I look forward to where my new ones will take me in the months to come. As for my resolutions this year? Well, I want to continue making memories, go on holiday and practice more self-care.
Making more memories and keeping busy, I’ll write soon!