I’ve noticed a fair few New Year blog posts going up over the past few days, and I didn’t particularly want to add to the glut of them. I don’t want to preach at everyone on how to make it your best year ever or what you should be reading/doing/wearing in 2016.
For a start, I’ve no idea what you should be doing – I only know what works for me. As for reading, well, surely that is a matter of preference. (and if I see one more post telling me the ‘top ten books of 2015’ I’m going to…well. You get the idea. As for what to wear, well, I’m hardly qualified on that front.
Still, the rolling around of the new year is actually a time I like. My family call me The Grinch before Christmas, because I tend to grumble about all the nonsense that people get involved in – the inane Christmas songs in every store from the 1st December; the glut of cookery shows telling us what we need to be cooking for people; everyone talking about how stressful it all is.
It just doesn’t need to be. Apart from people who are suffering from lack of necessities, such as those who are having to use foodbanks and the massive numbers of homeless this country has, the rest of us surely just need to be thankful for what we’ve got?
This idea that we need to buy mountains of expensive gifts for everyone is just marketed to us constantly, and more fool us if we fall into the trap. My children’s gifts this year were thoughtful, some off their lists, some surprises, often purchased from local and charity shops, some on-line to save the ridiculous rush to shopping centres (I never set foot in the places as a point of principle). And you know what? Nobody died because they didn’t get the latest this, that, or the other ‘must-have’ nonsense. They were thrilled and really just wanted to watch The Grinch on TV. And tell me how much I reminded them of him. I think it was both my grumbles and my hair…hopefully not my hygiene.
ANYWAY…I haven’t written this post to grumble. I actually quite like the New Year, though I don’t get drunk or go out partying. I like the idea of the New Year – the chance to start afresh it provides, the chance to reflect on the year past and try harder for the year to come. And let’s face it: we’ve all had year’s we would rather forget had ever happened. I know I have, several of them.
I also have a birthday in January, so that always pulls me up and makes me take stock of a thing or two.
2015 was actually one of my best years, because I finally took the plunge to become what I had always secretly been: a writer. In my journal, and my soul. But I began to take it seriously and made it my one and only New Year’s Resolution last year. I think it’s the only time I actually stuck to a resolution for the whole year, but doing something you love is far easier than giving something up – like cake, for example:)
I’ve learnt loads over the past year; had some small successes (which I’ve celebrated as though I’d won the Pulitzer Prize!) and some setbacks and disappointments. I know my work has improved, and I’ve actually got paid on several occasions for doing something I love. I even got nominated for a writing prize for 2016 – the Puschcart, not the Pulitzer – but it was as wonderful to me either way.
People have actually read stuff that’s started off in my head and my notebooks, and liked it and responded positively to it.
I also met my childhood favourite author – Judy Blume – and was reminded of how brave she was to write stuff for teenagers that got banned and frowned upon back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. But she continued, despite coming from a generation of women who were often held down. We owe a lot to those women.
So, to 2016, and what that might bring. Hopefully, more writing success and continued health. But if the writing success doesn’t happen, I know I’ll still carry on doing it, because it is an addiction to me. My New Year’s Resolution this year is: To Be Brave. Brave with my writing, not listening to critics (including the worst one of all, the inner critic) about what I should write, but having the confidence to write what I want to write, and what I think a reader might want to read.
Being braver with the people I love – telling them more, being kinder with my time.
Being braver about getting out there and meeting people, helping out in the community, being a bigger person.
Being brave can come in many varied forms, and whatever your 2016 brings, I hope you find the courage to go for your dreams, or to handle your own personal difficulties in the best way for you.