I think everyone is feeling rather drained this year. TwentyTwentyOne is just a couple of days away, but will it be a completely different year? How do we feel about it? Excited? Afraid? Curious?
I, to be honest, don’t have any feelings towards the January first. I cannot wait for this year to be over, but not because this year has been rough, even though it was, but because every year during this time, I am extremely tired. Tired of working every weekday, and doing things on weekends, tired of cooking, cleaning, gardening, thinking, talking, watching, reading. I am exhausted from the stress, problems, emotions, and pretty much everything that required my brain to be awake. It’s the time of the year when I prefer to be silent and surrounded by my own thoughts. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to get out of the house. I even don’t want to eat. And it’s not because I am rude, but rather it’s the only time of the year when I allow myself to FULLY switch off. During those last few days, I do think of the past year, but I am not one of those who goes through each month cross-checking New Year’s resolutions. I think of my entire past and what I have learned from it. Do I have any regrets? Have I made mistakes that are retractable? Have I made good decisions? And most importantly, am I happy with myself how I lived so far?
But the thing is, when I switch off, I don’t want to think of things too deeply either. I want to reflect, but don’t want to spend hours on it. What’s in the past, it’s in the past, I cannot change it – I can only be a better version of myself in the future. That’s the old truth. But what I’ve learned during my thirty something years, and it doesn’t require to deep overthinking, is that in order to be happy and thrive, I must stay true to myself. And it’s funny how my way of thinking has changed. Older I get, less fucks I give. Every year I am asking myself the same questions, and every year I am getting pretty much the same answers. Yes, I do have some regrets. Yes, I have made a few mistakes. Yes, decisions I’ve made have been ok-ish. But what surprises me more and more is how the last question has changed it’s meaning over the last few years. Am I happy with how I lived in the past year? To be honest, I have always lived by the idea of ‘how I should be living’. Everyone has some sort of expectations thrown on them, and even though sometimes those expectations aren’t directed to you specifically, you can’t help but to follow them. So I was one of those people, who was often called a pushover, for trying to fit in, rather than to stand out and be myself. Do you know what I mean? Think of it as this, you are being told on how to behave and what is right/wrong by your parents. Then at school, teachers go by different rules (what they have been teach by their teachers), and so they expect you to follow those rules and to stay within set guidelines known to them. Then you meet new people, you bond and create groups, and each of you is different, but you can’t help to follow their lifestyles too. You are changing, evolving. You are becoming a new version of yourself with a new set of shiny gold expectations. This time is your clique that have set the guidelines. Not your parents or teachers. When you start a new job – again, you have to obey the new house rules. And so on.
So in this circus called world, everyone around you has expectations. Teachers, coworkers, parents, priests, friends, you name it. They don’t say: ‘hey, you have to be this or that’, but it’s a silent code of rules and standards that, like it or not, you must follow. Examples: in order to have a happy family, you have to be married. and have a baby. You have to have a job. You have to be educated, well spoken, well dressed, have a hobby, be interesting, earn good money. You have to always drink at parties, be cheerful, don’t talk about your problems and pretend your life is just simply perfect. You have to show you are worthy. You can’t be late, work flexible, be independent or have an opinion. You have to be a mother, father, lover, a cook, a leader, and a best friend. You have to jump when they say so. And so you follow those rules, because this is how the society works. If you dare to be different and live differently to what others know, you are being labelled as a weirdo, stranger or someone mentally unstable. I mean, how can you not live by how we want you to live? How dare you! The respect you had when you were part of this clique is long gone, now you are this bizarre creature who knows nothing about the ‘real world’. Now you are being talked and laughed about.
So what I have been discovering about myself, and quite frankly this year has been the most significant in my observations, is that I really stopped caring about this nonsense. All those imposed unspoken rules of living are no longer important to me. Why do you care about others opinion of how you make your living, if it’s only you who pay for the bills and food? Why do you care what others think of your sexuality, if they are not the ones who sleep in your bed? Oh, you have different political views and someone doesn’t like it? Well, you aren’t voting for them, you are voting for the political party. The list go on. But the bottom line is, I don’t care anymore. What matters is how I feel and how I make people I care about feel. I don’t want drama in my life or toxic people who are desperately trying to make me feel like a piece of shit. I don’t want gossips, laughing behind my back or people who are not genuine towards me. I don’t want jealousy, envy or fake small talks. I don’t care about any of this.
But that discovery – what I do and don’t want in my life is the priority to have a peaceful mind. It’s funny how being pretty much surrounded by four walls, a boyfriend and a dog in the past year, have made me realise that less expectations I feel above me, the happier I am. And it’s even funnier than looking ten years back, I see a very naive girl, trying to get likes on social media by posting hundreds of selfies, hoping that this will make her feel better about herself. I see her and remember thinking: I must be like other girls, and do what they are all doing. I have to listen to everyone and obey the rules. I have to be liked by all the people. I have to be what they expect me to be. And yet, at the end of the weirdest year, here I am, feeling completely free by being surrounded by my own thoughts, without any social media account and with a very limited contact phone book.
And perhaps it isn’t obvious for some, but to thrive you have to let go of a dead wood. Don’t limit yourself, just because the society want you to. I often say this, our life is like a book. We are the main character and we are the writer. It’s up to us what we write and who is on our journey. And so in order to grow and be happy, we must be ourselves. Only then we will discover our true potential.
I am not going to wish a a Happy New Year. Instead I will just say, that I am proud of you. This year hasn’t been the easiest, and perhaps you experienced more than others, and it feels like you can’t do this anymore, you are exhausted and drained, but I am proud of you of because you are here and still going. You’ve got this, and you are a remarkable human being. Just don’t give up on yourself. Be your own, true self.