I’m sure that I won’t be alone in saying that 2019 wasn’t the best year.
I mean, sure, it wasn’t the worst. I didn’t experience any monumental loss or suffering, and there was no major moment that seriously impacted me in a negative way. I think — overall — it was just… a year? One that wasn’t for the books, but also one that I wouldn’t necessarily say I’d like to completely skip over, you know?
I think the one positive thing that might have come out of the last twelve months is growth, and those who have gone through different types of personal growth can understand that it’s not always an enjoyable experience. Like, for example, the growth process of learning that sometimes, friendships have to fade. If they are unfulfilling, and, in reality: always have been, then it’s probably time to let them go.
Then there’s the lesson of understanding that, maybe, you might have to distance yourself from your family in order to do what’s best for yourself. For so long, we have been taught that blood is thicker than water, but in my experience, that concept is just an excuse for maintaining a relationship with someone for fear of breaking societal norms, or for fear of being alone.
But my experience this past year has really shown me that family and friendship must be about quality, not quantity, and sometimes it’s okay to feel alone. I think, sometimes, feeling alone can teach you things about who you truly are, and those realisations would have never come if you had not felt so separate, and so detached. I’ve also learnt that ridding yourself of these kinds of negative relationships can actually open up some space for new, enjoyable relationships, and that can make the entire process worth it in the end.
So, in the spirit of taking these lessons in stride, here are some things I’m making more time for in 2020:
Reading. A new bookish purchase has reignited my love of reading again, and with two books under my belt in a matter of days, I’m looking forward to devouring all of the mystery fiction that currently sits on my TBR list. You can stay up to date with my reading progress by following me on Goodreads, and I’m also posting short book reviews on my Instagram as I go too, so you can keep up there as well.
Beauty routines. I’m not sure what it is, but there exists a large part of me that feels guilty for partaking in beauty routines. Spending half an hour on my evening skincare feels self-indulgent and conceited, even though I know it is not. This kind of guilt extends to any type of ‘self-care’, and it’s an ideology I’d like to rid myself of. I truly enjoy the process of taking care of my skin, my hair and my body, and I’d like to allow myself more time to do those things without feeling the negative connotations afterwards.
Down-time. 2019 was the year of ‘busy’, and over time, I’ve somehow managed to connect my sense of self-worth with my level of productivity, which is neither helpful, nor efficient. Sometimes, I feel as though I spend more time doubting myself and chastising myself on my productivity levels, than actually being productive. It makes no sense, right? This year, I’d like to properly separate my work-time and my down-time, and figure out how to disconnect my worth and my work so that I can spend time working on both, just at separate times. I only played Scrabble once in 2019, and that’s because I felt it was lazy to take some time away from the concept of ‘busy’ to actually enjoy myself. Sounds insane when I write it out like this, but 2019 really taught me that I have a lot of unhealthy thought patterns when it comes to my work and my self, and I’d like to address those in full this year.
Therapy. An obvious one, after reading the above. I had a negative experience after my last therapy session in 2019, where I felt completely manic and terrified, and that really put me off going back. It was only after the panic attack that I realised my jumbled emotions were due to a severe pre-menstrual hormonal spike that resulted from not taking the pill. I’m back on the pill now, and my moods feel more balanced, so I’m going to be going back to therapy on a consistent basis to work on my mental health. I really feel positive about the progress that I can make this year, and that’s something I haven’t been able to say for a really long time.
Cooking. I fell out of love with cooking in 2019, and to this day I’m still not sure why, but at this point I’m ready to get back into it. There’s something so satisfying about chopping and sautéing and roasting and I’m looking forward to experimenting with more food this year. I’m taking the steps to eat more of a plant-based diet in 2020, so the prospect of learning different ways to cook vegetables and grains is actually really exciting to me.
I’d love to know what lessons you learnt in 2019, and if there is anything you’re hoping to make more time for in 2020? Let me know in the comments below.