The New Year onslaught is upon us.
New Year. New Start. New You.
Fitter. Happier. More Productive – as Radiohead said.
There’s suddenly flyers for anti-aging tea pasted up on the pillars where gig posters usually hang.
Marie Kondo is showing us how to make our t-shirt drawers look like bento boxes.
I’m flagging multiple adverts a day on my IG feed for diet supplements, egg freezing, and brain training. I block them, only for them to be replaced with a Weight Watchers advert.
It’s like that myth about plucking grey hairs – remove one and three return.
It’s a stress. And sometimes we just wanna be left the hell alone. We’re happy with our lot and this is all ridiculous noise. And that’s great. So great. That takes hard work and commitment and strength.
But what if you do want to make a conscious change?
Cos if you do…you can’t win.
Stay the same and no matter how hard you try, feel unfulfilled.
Try to change and risk failure, or what can feel worse – judgement from our peers.
Everyone on my Twitter feed is arguing about Kondo. Ditch the books! Keep the books! Leave us messy buggers be! Purge your life! It’s exhausting. People are actually fighting about it.
We speak of body acceptance, health, self-care and preach wellness. But what if you don’t want to accept your body? We can’t talk about proactive weight loss, for ANY reason, be it vanity, health, or just cos it what might make us feel a bit better. Do so and risk being label a phoney in your social circles. You can’t preach acceptance and yet want to change. But then isn’t the ability to choose what we do with out bodies, be it to do with sex, reproduction, fashion or our weight all the same thing?
Hypocrite. Fake. Traitor.
Sure I’m very good at juggling work, two blogs, positions on Boards, a social life and fashion based IG account, amongst other things…but my car is well overdue a service, I don’t put my bins out as often as I should, and my garage is still full of boxes from when I moved in six years ago.
I know that this article will eventually make it to Facebook in approx 4-6 weeks prompting our parents and older relatives to label us lazy, greedy, whinging procrastinators. Why don’t we just have a kid, get a mortgage and shut the hell up. And maybe they’re right. There’s not a memoir of a famous writer or artist I’ve read where they don’t toil every hour given to them, fighting to produce and share their art. This struggle of the juggle has been going long before 1981. So why are we so special? And yet I still feel like that article speaks to me in a very uncomfortably real way. Or is that just another example of our generations vanity?
It’s all a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? It used to be that any New Year resolution (or goals, targets, lifestyle changes, whatever you wanna call them) were the daunting part of the process. But now the daunting part is who or what that decision ‘makes’ you. What response will you get? Who are you now? How do you tell your peers without fear of being labelled? Or… do you keep the whole thing totally quiet only to have them whisper about you behind your back about your ‘concerning’ weight loss, or lifestyle changes that you seem to be keeping a secret (‘We’re not judging you, we’re just worried, darling, are you okay? Like, ACTUALLY, okay?).
Which brings me to my own 2019 goals.
This year I want to find a way to get a weekday balance between work, wellness, creativity and mindfulness. It’s not easy. But I’m up for the challenge in the quest to be my WHOLE SELF.
I have decided that in order to feel COMPLETE to GROW to ACHIEVE in 2019 (I know, eye-rolls ahoy), there’s a specific set of things I want to tick off in a typical weekday: exercise, balanced meals, morning pages, meditation, creativity – primarily via writing, a full nights sleep, oh and that little thing of my demanding full-time day job. I don’t wanna feel like I live to work. That all I do with my Monday to Thursday is eat, sleep and work (Friday’s don’t count, Friday is for galavanting). And I don’t wanna squander all of my downtime endlessly scrolling newsfeeds and reading amusing articles about subway rats (again, SOME of that is fine, but not all…I’m not a complete monster).
I wanna be disciplined and form habits that will result in me getting closer to my fanciful ambitions of creativity. And for that I need purpose. Sadly, to proceed with purpose isn’t actually that fun or easy. And so I decided over the Christmas break that need to write myself a schedule, allocating every hour of my day between Monday and Thursday. Basically treating myself like a child who is crap at doing their homework.
Because self care isn’t all unicorn bath bombs and Uber Eats. Creative output and skill doesn’t just appear without conscious effort, when you also need to pay the bills. As un-romantic as it sounds, as anti-everything we’ve been told about artists and creativity, you gotta work to make that shit happen. And so, personally for me, that means planning my day down to the hour.
I immediately recognise how privileged I am to be able to do this. I have no children to care for. No responsibilities beyond myself, my employment, and a rather chilled out dog.
But an effort still has to happen.
And so I wrote my schedule and I posted it to my Instagram story.
And the reaction has been…interesting. More people commented into my DM’s than I was expecting. Half have responded ‘cool!’ Or lil thumbs up of recognition.
Then the other half…questioning. Concerned. Am I getting enough sleep? Is this realistic? Ambitious much? When do you relax?
I don’t know if this schedule will stick. I’m on day one and I admit it’s felt like pressure. But so does anything new, and it’s only day one. It takes 30 days or something to form a habit. I’ve allowed room for flexibility and spontaneity. But then also, it’s called a schedule for a reason. Which is why at 7pm, after my allocated dinner / social media break, when my schedule said I need to write for two hours, i had to put away my phone, open my laptop and make words.
I might fail. But I figure that even if only 50% of this sticks, then I’ve achieved.
And here I am now – my words from day one of this schedule. My first win.
Is this the right way to go about it? I don’t know. Am I another cliche millennial burn out? Probably. Might I fail? Odds are likely. Do we have to aim for our goals, chasing after what we want, no matter what others might think of us?
Cos whatever you do, you’ll never please everyone.
But you should at least try to please yourself.
Try. It’s all we can do. Just try.