Retrospective, Introspective and Symbolic Chapters

I was determined not to write a retrospective of the past year, but I suppose such a thing was inevitable for someone like me, who enjoys the symbolism of new beginnings. A change of the number which denotes the year, a fresh page in a notebook or sketchbook, a radical haircut or new colour, even a new purse. Logically, rationally, it doesn’t matter. January 1st 2015 is likely to be much the same in many ways as December 31st 2014. It will be cold outside, I will go to and return from work, I will put the heater on when I wake up, and check my emails and social media accounts over a cup of good coffee before I do anything else with my free hours. The last page of a nearly filled notebook is just as useful as the first page in a fresh one; ideas can be recorded, poetry or prose drafted. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the old things, but they begin to feel tired and old to me. The fresh pages stretch ahead with potential, whilst the old ones have no further purpose but to be archived, perhaps for later reflection. They represent lessons learned, progression of ideas and of life. They’re useful, of course, but they’re no longer exciting. The unknown is exciting – or rather, the potential of it.

Not so long back, I was depressed, deeply unhappy with myself and my attitude to life and I realised that I must make changes to my attitude, to my behaviour and to my lifestyle in general. If 2013 was the year I tore down the old house, then 2014 was the year I laid the foundations for the new. It was the year I started writing again, a form of personal therapy which I have always found cathartic and useful, but which I have not actively participated in for some years. It was the year I made efforts to not only spend more time around other people, but also to actively seek out new friendships. It was the year I began to take risks again after a series of toxic relationships and friendships in my late twenties left me cynical about spending time on other people. In particular, a friendship with a complete mess of a woman, who used lies and manipulation as frequently as other people use nouns, which made me seriously reevaluate my own judge of character. I’m more particular about who I can be bothered with these days, but I do have some wonderful new people in my life. Over the past year or so, I’ve come to realise that many people are more than worth the risk, and that I am a far happier and more fulfilled person when surrounded by people than I am when I enforce solitude. I know myself a lot better now; it’s taken 33 years, but I feel as if I’m finally approaching a solid sense of self. 

So, onwards now to the new year, and the plans which I already have. 2015, I have decreed, will be the year of Tiny Adventure. Because I find that adventure is key to my enjoyment of life, and yet adventure does not necessarily have to be a huge production, it does not need to be expensive or lengthy or even particularly well planned. It just needs to be new experience, or even a new way of appreciating an old experience. Adventure can be had in a different country, but it can also be had close to your doorstep, it’s just a matter of actively seeking it out.

2015 will be spent with the people in my life who I value, of which there is a happily increasing amount. It will be spent appreciating those people, and appreciating the things I do have, rather than bemoaning those aspects of my life which I dislike. It will be spent trying to change those aspects which I dislike, and working towards a more positive outlook regarding the things which I am unable to change.

I’m not going to make a list of resolutions and goals, because by this time next year, I’m going to be a different person with different aspirations, just as the person I am right now is not the same woman of a year ago. But I am going to continue building, make efforts to enrich my life experiences and forge more human connection as well as making active efforts to strengthen this bonds I already have with people. And I hope that next year, I can reflect positively on my year with another set of pleasant memories, valuable lessons learned, and optimistic excitement for the future.

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