Used to compose my weekend thoughts and new year‘s messages while out walking our dog, a Dalmatian rescue who was a good listener. Now writing does not come quite as easily, which is why it is one of the things I’ll be working on this year. Last year’s New Year’s Resolutions really seemed to resonate with many of you and I am happy to report that I conquered all of them in 2019, especially reading more and getting better sleep. This, to me, feels like the perfect year to move forward, and for reinvention. It is the perfect year to have an unreasonable passion for things, to take time for the things that matter: a bouquet of pale pink roses, freshly cut and haphazardly arranged in an antique glass vase; the wistful feeling of listening to a sad song; sleeping to the sound of rain; or watching the snow falling silently by the light of a solitary street lamp; being kissed by someone you really love or throwing open the curtains first thing in the morning to let the new day in―these and more are the things I have time to notice and appreciate when I’m not staring at my phone. These moments are nothing and they are everything. These small moments are what make up life. The sun will rise and set regardless, and what we choose to do with the light is up to us.
May you dream deeply & love fully this year. And may whatever you’re looking for find you. Happy 2020.
Here they are, my new year‘s resolutions for 2020, slightly later than intended, but it takes time to share something thoughtful. Of course, as today is the official back to work day in the UK, perhaps they are just on time. Hopefully some or all of these thoughts will help to make this new year your best ever.
Invest more time and energy in myself
It took me a very long time to notice that P is very careful with his time and energy because he has always been so generous to me with both. He often says that “everything is energy” and it made realise one day that he guards his very carefully, giving both time and energy to those things and people who he truly wants to share them with. It was a novel discovery for me, a people pleaser who spent quite a lot of time and energy making sure that others were okay. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can deplete you and run you down.
Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho de Souza says, “Ally yourself with those that wish you the best and don’t give strength to those that want to see you down. Don’t even grant them the right to be called your ‘enemies’”. Just like a few years ago, when everyone was clearing out their Instagram follows of people who had a negative impact on them, it’s just as important to surround yourself with people in real life who have a passion for others and for life, who lift up those around them, and most of all, who wish you well. Likewise, the internet can offer you the very best in the things you want to learn and discover in this world, or you can waste it away one tweet, meme, or inane video at a time. This year, choose to spend your time and energy on the things you truly want—books, art, films, music, your favourite blogs—whatever they may be, for you are exchanging moments of your life for these things.
The series was based on the thoughts of philosopher David Hume, who said “We are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement.” What Hume was referring to was that our concept of self is really nothing more than an illusion of perceptions and memories in a seemingly continuous narrative. From this philosophical perspective, what we choose to consume from television, music, art and film—in many ways—influences our notions of who we are, the ideas we have, and our levels of creativity. Many successful, creative people are avid readers, voracious consumers of music, film buffs and art collectors.
With this thought in mind, my new year’s resolution for 2020 is to be extremely careful of what I consume, replacing 140-characters and mindless Instagram scrolls to books and art galleries and deep conversations with like-minded people. Less of the exhaustion that is the daily news cycle and more art and film and music. And I will continue to always question everything.
Complain less (or not at all)
I read an article recently that said that complaining was the freeze part of flight or fight. It’s also an unproductive coping mechanism that’s all too easy to fall back on. This year going forward, I will be more aware of my thoughts, whether expressed or not, that are of a complaining nature and work on changing this way of thinking. There is a quote by Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius that says, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” This year, every time I find myself about to complain about something, I will change my frame of mind and think in a more positive and productive way. Come to think of it, it relates back to last year’s resolution to begin (again) with thankfulness.
Learn to let go
A few weeks ago I lost all my Whatsapp chats. Photos, conversations, quips and memories all gone. After many futile attempts to retrieve the data, was surprised by how easily I came to terms with the fact that it was gone forever and moved on from that moment. Then, on the weekend, accidentally broke the lid to a favourite (and expensive) antique cut crystal trinket holder. I was immediately filled with regret at my own carelessness, but only for a brief moment before I was able to let that go as well.
The truth is, have never been one to so easily let things go before, holding on to things to the point of having had three storage units filled with things in three different countries and for far longer than was reasonable or practical. The psychology of why we hold on to things states that, “We can have sentimental attachments to things, or we may believe our things have hidden monetary value, but the main reason we hang on to things is fear. However misguided, we can fear the loss of security, status, comfort, and love when we throw things out. Additionally, our possessions embody our memories, our hopes and our dreams, representing who we believe we are now, and who we believe the better version of ourselves will be in the future. So it comes as no surprise that it can be difficult to let go.” (Anne-Marie Gambelin)
Whether people from the past whose presence is no longer constructive, or physical objects that carry unwanted emotional weight, this year, I am working on learning to let go…
Last year’s resolution to begin every morning with a book was a resounding success and resulted in many books read this year. It was so easy to get back into reading again, that in 2020, I am resolving to get back into writing as well, starting today.
(I also plan to double the amount of books read last year.)