New year, new diary.Bridget Jones Diary
I’m certain it is meant to be “New Year New Me?” As I sit here on a Sunday night watching Bridget Jones Diary with my husband and children, I question how destructive these resolutions can be to our confidence when we fall into the rhythm or chaos of life and fail to reach those benchmarks. I mean it’s not like the clock struck midnight on December 31st, we all yelled Jumanji and suddenly the game of life reset so we could start with a clean slate. Okay maybe I did yell out Jumanji at midnight but it sure as hell did not work even a little because the world was still reeling with ever increasing infection and death rates, and we still couldn’t see or hug our extended family – not to mention the “lockdown kilos” didn’t go anywhere but the sides of my hips either.
We have all fallen prey to the long-suffering concept that we have to create a “better version” of ourselves at the beginning of each year which only reaffirms our disordered thinking that we weren’t “enough” to begin with. Why is it that we reach the end of a year thinking that our successes were meaningless or fell short and that we needed a robust list of promises that to be honest many of us forget about or obsess over for the upcoming twelve months? I myself have fallen into the trap of making big promises that feel completely reasonable and realistic in the euphoric moment the year ticks over, and every year I moan about the fact that I have failed to achieve what I set out to and find myself regretting the past years decisions and omissions.
Facebook memories have a great deal to answer for really as it reminds you of all those promises you made and how enthusiastic you were about the year ahead, I know I am sounding a little cynical but hear me out. I looked back at my memories from New Years Eve 2019 in comparison to the year I have just experienced and just cringed, because looking back at 2019 I really had nothing to moan about and in comparison it was a pretty good year. The year 2019 was particularly difficult being our first year in the UK and I had a lot of hurdles to bound over (just so you know I failed athletics in high school). I had set myself up at the crossroads of 2019/2020 with the idea that 2020 would be the year that we began to fall madly in love with life in England, we would travel so much more and our year would be filled with the family and friends who were visiting from Australia. Forward to now and the year instead has been filled with so much pain and sorrow: my step dad was hit by a truck and needed surgery, Covid-19 hit us like a sledgehammer, I became really poorly with the virus, and then my brother was murdered – not to mention not being able to see my family and friends here in England. You couldn’t write this stuff in a best-selling novel, and now our beloved bichoodle Bella is poorly and having surgery.
That is where Bridgets’ “New Year, New Diary” comes in, after all I feel like I am at a crossroads in regards to how this year pans out. Not because I have some epic control over what happens but because my year is still like a brand new diary ready to be written in, the story hasn’t been written yet and I am going to take this opportunity to write the screen play of what I want my year to look like, feel like, be like. I cannot go on any longer the way I have been, I need to start feeling more enjoyment in my life in spite of what is going on in the world. Will I still have a moan from time to time – yes, we aren’t designed to be happy and chirpy all of the time because how would we ever move forward if we didn’t feel a little uncomfortable and antsy.
This time around I have have come to the conclusion that I should scrap the idea of making a list of “tasks” to complete similar to so many people that make resolutions or solid plans for the year, I want to make a list of 21 REASONS TO LOVE 21. An overview of things I am going to love about this year and ways to look forward for the next twelve months. Now I could write an actual list of those 21 things but I really don’t want to follow a boring format, so what better than a word cloud?
ONLINE RESOURCES: This year is the perfect time to explore and make use of all the resources that have migrated to the virtual domain, and there is such an extensive list of both free and paid for courses, lessons, activities and communication tools that make life more enjoyable. I wouldn’t mind doing a course on “The Oceans” or a history course on the Louvre. The website to go to is Free learning | Open Educational Resources at The Open University | Open University , and there is so much there to enjoy.
COUCH TRAVEL: With travel being so restricted and difficult this past year, there has been a real push by travel bloggers/vloggers and tour operators to provide a virtual experience of the world. This means that you can tour beautiful and exotic locations around the world from your loungeroom, not to mention many world famous museums and art galleries have provided virtual tours that allow you to explore the exhibits and read up more about them. So no crowds, expensive flights, time off work or sore feet – sounds pretty awesome to me and since I have both a crepe maker and Nutella at home it appears the Louvre in Paris can come to me! You could visit Rick Steves Travel Forum and download incredible audios and videos on travel, and you can access The Louvre here Online Tours | Louvre Museum | Paris.
LOCAL TRAVEL: There is nothing more motivating than restricted travel and a lockdown to make you appreciate the perfect little gems in your own locality. We are currently in Tier 5 National Lockdown and even travelling somewhere to go for a walk is restricted right now. Still, there are plenty of local walks I can do to wear in my new hiking boots (okay I bought them months ago and just haven’t worn them in) and when we are allowed to travel within the country we can see more of the UK or at least England. This year my travel journal will be filled with such adventures instead.
RELATIONSHIPS: The prospect of further lockdowns and restrictions on travelling to see the people we love can be a definite make or break unless we find a new way to develop and grow these relationships. We are going to continue with participating in games nights with friends, we have loved playing games like virtual escape rooms/adventures and taskmaster – who wouldn’t find it funny having my friends and my husband making a moustache out of vegemite and Nutella! Right laugh! I also love connecting via written letters too, there is just something so personal and thoughtful about a hand-written letter that makes you feel loved and cherished. My sister in law and I have been writing since we moved here although she writes way more than me, I want to spend more time doing this. I am also learning how to be more present with my kids and go a bit easier on them, although the thought of my eldest daughter Lauren moving back to Australia for university breaks my heart but I have raised her to do that exact thing.
CAREER: The change in the way we work has been a challenge for many but what it has shown us is that a little creative thought and innovation can transform the way we work and engage in the world on a professional level. More people are working from home and in my new role as Clinical Nurse Educator I too have been able to do some of the follow up work from home not to mention my ongoing professional development. What I am becoming excited about is what we now have access to as a result of education and training being delivered remotely, and it makes me think about finally working on a TEDx Talk and podcast for Intrepid Nurse. Why the hell not?
HEALTH: Health is something that I have always gotten stuck on at different times in my life for a number of reasons, much of which is the societal ideal that “healthy” is equal to a BMI or weight measurement. I have started to challenge those old thoughts and I feel that health for me is being able to “do” in life such as climbing a steep gradient without feeling like someone is ripping my lungs from my chest. Of course the impact of the the virus has had a massive impact on me, however I know that slowly and surely if I take baby steps, I will return to myself. I am going to seek out the love of fresh and exciting foods again, after all I used to make such incredible vegan and raw foods that we all just loved. I also just want to create some Hygge in my life with a home that is cosy, inviting, and functional where we can make memories and enjoy our space – after all we have realised now how important it is when you’ve got to stay at home so much.
Jean Sheehan from Australia’s Sunshine Coast is a nurse and founder of an education programme/service. She was doing a live video the other day and it reminded me of the importance of me and how acceptance of that fact is crucial. She talked about the concept “this is me” which is a way of moving past hurt. She also talked about the concept of celebrating wins, particularly as it seems we are not great at that. I want to start some ritual and ceremony around my wins and the wins of my family, I cannot figure out how we will do this by now but perhaps you have some suggestions?
Overall, I want 2021 to be the year of integration. Integrating all that we wish and hope for, and after being on this earth for 41 years I think it is time to stop doubting myself.