I’ve given up on my usual New Year’s Resolutions, you know the ones: lose two stone, save money, be on time more, be tidier (it’s just not going to happen). And instead, I’ve started to focus on making my New Year, New! Doing new things, learning new stuff, seeing new places, meeting new people.
All the way back in 2013, I reflected on all the new things I’d done! I loved seeing them all written down in one place, a portfolio of every little experience that had changed me, grown me and sometimes thrown me that year. So, naturally, I pledged to have a year of newness in 2014 too. And here’s how it went:
I went to New York for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’d always wanted to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree, to ice skate in Central Park and to watch the ball drop at midnight in Times Square, like they do in the movies.
So I did.
I joined a band. I said yes to becoming the lead female singer. And I loved it! I loved it so much. See, I’d always wanted to be in a band. So I joined one.
I booked a one way ticket! I wanted to leave on a jet plane and not know when I’d be back again. So I did.
I went glamping! I wanted to sleep under the stars in a warm, comfy, glamorous kinda way. So I did.
I became a Manager. I know, right?! Little ol’ me in charge of people and projects and with responsibilities n’stuff! I always wanted to be a boss, so I worked my butt off and became one.
I sang in the street. Not just in a belting out a little tune at the end of my drive kinda way (cos that’s totally normal), but in a on a stage, at my village street fair, in front of friends and family and fellow villagers kinda way. I’d always wanted to be the talk of the town, and so I was (for 3 minutes approx).
I had £10,000 in the bank. This has NEVER, EVER, happened before. And, unlikely to ever happen again. But I wanted to save my socks off for travelling and so, with the help of my soul-destroying, wardrobe minimising, utter snooze fest of a budget planner, I did. (Sidenote: on the off chance any potential online fraudster might be checking in, I can assure you, it didn’t last long).
I got interviewed on camera. My University wanted to know about my job as a PR Manager and Copywriter and how my Creative Writing course had helped, so they came into my work and filmed me chatting and working and even a bit of walking, and I felt all dead special! (P.S. you can watch the interview here.)
I said goodbye to my friends and family without knowing when I would see them again. I got on a plane and got off on the other side of the world. I marvelled at the beauty of New Zealand, I was astounded by the smiles and friendliness of the people in poverty in Fiji, oh, and I went white water rafting and, as I like to tell it, totes nearly drowned.
I fell from a height of 43m strapped to a harness and a wire, for fun! It was the Taupo bungee swing in New Zealand, and once I’d stopped fearing for my life, it was amazing!!
I landed in a foreign country and didn’t have a plan. With my boyfriend and two friends by my side, and not much money left in the bank, we hopped in a campervan and muddled our way up the East Coast of Australia, then muddled our way back down again. We spent a night in a car, three weeks in a camper and a month in a cabin, and finally, we found a permanent place to stay for the year. And, I must say, it was SO worth the blood, sweat and excess rice consumption!
I experienced a hot Christmas! Pimms, paddling pools, sun cream, bikinis – the lot! We were so generously invited to the home of a fabulously fun and friendly family who treated us like their own. And we ate an enormous Christmas dinner, outside!
Another year and another load of lovely new stuff to reflect on. Just writing it down and looking back on it makes me feel like I’m already better for it, a little bit wiser, a little bit happier and a little bit braver, even though at some points I was really freakin’ scared. And I’m proud of that.
In fact, I think it might be the best New Years resolution we can ever make, to give ourselves constant reasons to be proud, and more importantly, taking that time out to be proud, to reflect, to celebrate.
Even just with little things.
That recipe you’ve been meaning to try? Do it. The yoga class you keep planning to join? Go for it. That job that looks perfect but you’re sure you don’t have the right skills for? Give it a try. The old friend you’ve been wanting to get in touch with? Why not! That person you know you love? Tell them.
Push yourself this year. Say yes. Make you proud.