How to make scented candles. Can giving up alcohol for the month make you tired? What are those tiny flies on my indoor pelargoniums? Buy marble coffee tables online UK. What is the best way to learn how to play chess? Buy hand-carved chess sets online. Who is Shonda Rhimes?
These are the random thoughts floating through my head these days according to my google searches. They tell the story of a distracted mind that clearly is not getting much work done. They tell the story of a year spent in lockdown.
These new year’s resolutions come to you a little late, and to be completely honest, it’s because I’ve been putting them off. You see, this new year doesn’t exactly feel like a new year, just a continuation of the last. It’s missing its new year feel and all the hope and excitement that goes along with it. We’re in our third lockdown here in England, and I now have a rotation of three sweatsuits as outfits: my morning sweatsuit, in which I lounge around, wake up a little and drink coffee in; my work sweatsuit, in which I well, work in; and my workout sweatsuit. It’s an extra special day if I take the time to wear makeup (although I never skip skincare), and my hair has become wild since June was the last time I was at the salon. I have been searching the internet for professional hair-cutting scissors and at this point, am considering asking P to cut it for me. Wish us both luck.
So far, this new year has been about taking stock and cutting back and clearing out. I’ve deleted WhatsApp (privacy concerns) and replaced it with Signal. I’ve deleted all extraneous Instagram accounts (there were about 6 or more) and seriously considered getting rid of @thisiglamorous. At home, some of the changes we’ve made include finally switching from our current internet service provider, buying a mulberry silk duvet (and a new ruffly duvet cover set) for cosy winter nights, and ordering a dehumidifier for these damp winter days.
Continuations aside, this new year doesn’t feel altogether hopeless though either, as last year felt. It just feels strange. Like there is none of the momentum that comes with a fresh start. It feels slow, as if time were standing still as we wait. Wait until we can dress up again. Go for dinner somewhere nice. See old friends and make new ones. Hug. But until then, we wait, and try to keep moving, try to wake up with the same feeling of anticipation for a new day. Take up new hobbies and learn new things. Work on improving ourselves, if we want. And so, on that note, here are my new year’s resolutions for 2021. May the year turn out as well as you hope, or better than you ever dare to dream… Happy New Year to you and those you love―may it be filled with light and more beautiful moments than your heart can hold.
I realise the vague irony of wanting to slow down after a year of being in lockdown, but it’s precisely during this time of outside inactivity that I’ve come to understand that the old adages: haste makes waste and only fools rush in were created specifically for me. Last year I had mentioned losing all data on a chat app, which ended up being nothing compared to this year, which saw the demise of my entire hard drive on my desktop. A technical issue was to blame for the hardware trouble, but the complete loss of data on both the hard drive and external drives was down to emotionally rushed decision-making and unclear thinking. And this situation made me realise that all of my worst decisions in life were always due to not slowing down just a little and taking some time to think things through. My Type A personality dictates that everything is utterly urgent and that I must decide immediately, whereas P is often saying, It doesn’t need to be decided this very moment, does it? and Why don’t you sleep on it? Which has always filled me with stress and panic before, leading to poor decision-making. This year, things are going to be different.
Learn new things
I keep coming across articles lately that discuss a growth mindset and learning new things as a way to keep the mind healthy, especially when you learn as a child does, with multiple new things at once, and no regard to performance, just the joy in learning. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and new technical skills aside, I don’t think I’ve purposely set out to learn anything new in a long time, aside from a short brush with candle-making late last year. This year, I’ve decided that I am going to take up chess, and if that goes well, I’m also going to try to learn a new language. P has been absorbed in creating music for the past few months, and has also recently explored filming videos. And both of us are also in the process of figuring out podcasting. So far, we’ve got as far as buying all the gear.
Relax a little more
I gained over ten pounds during lockdown last year due to the stress of the pandemic (and everything else that was going on in the world), leading to sleepless nights, wine and endless snacking. The cares of the world were weighing heavily on me, someone who has never been great at relaxing even before there was a deadly virus overtaking the planet. I used to think that watching films or Netflix series was wasted time and thought even reading was indulgent. I’ve since had to rethink all of these things because I certainly couldn’t continue being stressed all the time. Now I’m compromising, watching films with P on weekends while doing nothing else except perhaps eating popcorn, and I have also watched a few Netflix series even, but only while on the exercise bike, of course.
Use less plastic
While we are very conscious of and careful about how much plastic we use and always take great care to use reusable containers whenever possible and to recycle diligently, it wasn’t until this past year, with all the bottles of hand sanitiser and hand soap floating about that I thought about switching plastic hand soap dispensers with glass ones that can be refilled, or using bar soap. We are also replacing paper towels with reusable organic cotton cloths (like these found on Etsy) have also considered switching to bar shampoo and conditioner as well, but that appears to be a little more tricky and more research will have to be done. We’re lucky to have a green grocer in the village that provides little brown paper bags for gathering produce, but most often we bring along our own wicker basket or tote and carry everything out loose. Every step, no matter how small, helps, when we all work together.
Learn to let go
I included this resolution, along with this quote about why we hold on to things, last year: “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)
I am including it again this year as my final resolution because it is still something I am working on. Last year, was of the thought that whether it’s people from the past whose presence is no longer constructive, or physical objects that carry unwanted emotional weight, it was time to let go. This year, things have got a bit more complicated since having been in contact with old childhood friends from the past (a pandemic and lockdowns will do that to you) and am working on figuring out how much should be let go and how much should be allowed to stay.