The New Year...
People absolutely LOVE to tell you how to start the New Year, and even more than that, people LOVE to tell you how not to listen to those people, and that time is a social construct. And both things are true... at least to me. In fashion with the whole world I'm a bit hesitant to plan for the year ahead but as I've spent the last few days away from social media and with limited (might I add controlled) interaction, I've got some things to say.
They may not be worth much to anyone... but they are words - and quite often I find that words either make or break me. I do not believe or support the old adage 'Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me'. I think we need to be very intentional with what we say. I'm not as guided in how I say things, recent events have taught me that I have an off tone/attitude in my delivery (I thought it was just my mum tbh), but I know for a fact that my words are NEVER intended to be hurtful as they are deliberately chosen - unless that's the purpose which isn't ever the case.
So I feel it's only fair I leave you with a deliberate set of words for you to take into 2021. I hope with these words sit with you, keep you warm and encourage you. It's somewhere between a poem, an article, a letter and a memoir. I will read it to myself, to my children, to my friends and everyone I can... and I hope that you can too.
2020 will go down historically as the most difficult year. Medically, Economically, Socially, Emotionally, and by many other types of 'ally's' the year will be defined as the toughest. 'Unprecedented times' filled with humour, chaos, panic, fear, death, anxiety, love and more - the paradoxical cocktail will in future be referenced to be a juxtaposition of life and death. 2020 vision will be hindsight of the best of the worst and the worst of the best for some and no longer represent clear view - because if we're being factual, this year was the most unclear any other year has been.
This year, your mental health suffered. You were aware of it sometimes, and other times you weren't. At times you were determined and motivated to fight the battle, other times you felt defeated. Do you know that all that you felt was valid. There is a tendency to feel like a warrior when fighting, and a failure when not. What if I told you that in all states - you were human? The fight and the fail are both parts of life - but to live, is to acknowledge and go on. Don't ever get stuck up in you either. For if you are to consume yourself with your fight, you will miss the world around you - and possible hurt some people in it to... likewise if you dwell on the failure. Be sure to recognise the you that exists in each moment. No what you can deliver and what is expected and do not struggle with the dissonance - let life take that decision for you.
Take the data. An article with taught me something very key to life. Learn from the data. It's actual point said 'Use your data' but I see them as one and the same. The key thing here is data. Sometimes we take in data without acknowledgement - we see it in ignored red flags for potential partners for instance. Be sure to go on acknowledging the data, the information life gives you and using that to make informed decisions. The data for me is the truth and it will lead in the best outcome. It's very easy to act on how we feel, but above that, the data guides us. What is the data? That's up to you. Decide what is harmful, what is hurtful, what is testing, what is helpful, what is wholesome - and use that to curate a life where you are less driven by your emotions.
Speaking of curating life. Can I ask that you 'plan gently'? By all means, have your vision board, have your lists, your daily planner, content calendar, timelines, saving goals etc... but afford yourself flexibility outside of self-discipline. I'm not here to encourage laissez-faire living (which has it's own arguments for), but rather to draw notice to the fact that there are things that are beyond our control. Acknowledging these things isn't giving them power, but it's identifying how much power they have and how it can disrupt you. You can only go around your opponent when you KNOW what direction they're going. Otherwise they become a disruption - I mean think of the dance you do with strangers when neither of you know who's making way for who. There will be things that may throw you off course - permit them to pass by or find your way around them - do not collide into them - that just might be more damaging overall.
In the event that these things don't work, note that you have not failed at life... you have merely lived life and need to re-strategise and that's okay. Give yourself time, and space to do so. Take a break from people, work, social media, whatever - healing only begins when we acknowledge the hurt and sometimes we need to fall to know we can no longer walk alone - if we're surrounded by support we might not know when it's their power or ours moving us and well let's not get into the drug that is power. Checking out is actually checking in with you. Don't feel guilty for doing that.
Truthfully, you will feel many things, as we strive to return to the questionable normalcy of life. I ask that you record your feelings. These will guide you as you deal with the data you collect. My bias lies with writing, but you could video journal too. You could paint, sing, rap, draw, create something - but let that creation live on so it serves as a testament to your emotions. Create for yourself, or for others who can relate.. either way, create and document these feelings. It leads to a better understanding of you which ultimately creates the best version of you - in my opinion.
Speaking of documenting, make memories - go out of your way to create new memories with your loved ones and document them too. Be sure to have fun, laugh, love and do all things out loud. Yes sometimes that means have a party for no damn reason - and if the Tiers and lockdowns won't permit, eat cake and drink wine.
I'd be untrue to myself if I didn't give you the most personal secret of mine. God. That's it... trust God, lean on God, believe in God... it works. TRUST ME! It may not be the way YOU want it, but it's the best way when it works out.
In summary my words for 2021 are Live, learn, plan gently, take breaks, create, document, laugh and love.
I wish you the best.
Words from ToniVerse