“Let’s face it. I’m doing none of it. None of us are. December’s hardly the time to start getting motivated. It’s a time for resignation that your list is going to remain incomplete, and in your Drawer of Shame, along with that skipping rope you bought in Argos’s January sale.”
I don’t want to come across as a misery, or lacking in Christmas cheer. I like a mince pie and a sweet sherry as much as the next person, but I have a question…Where the fuck did 2015 go?
Once again, I find myself standing in my kitchen, hands on hips, staring in indignation at the calendar, thinking, ‘Really? Is that it 2015? Is that all you’ve got for me, you fast-moving bastard.’
There’s no getting away from it, we’re staring directly down the barrel of 2016. If you can look past all the tatty tinsel and homemade snowflakes, you’ll see it too – standing there in the distance, in sportswear, all hydrated and fresh faced and pleased with itself because it’s January. And that’s what January does. There’s nothing we can do about its arrival. All we can do is look at it from beneath our duvets and sneer, despairing that once again a year is almost over, and we’re still wearing the same pair of thinning leggings we were this time last year when we peered out from underneath the same duvet, and lamented the same god damn thing.
2015 has passed by in the blink of an eye. Granted, a lethargic blink, but nonetheless, a bloody blink. It now seems my years pass much the same way night-time used to when I was a kid. When all I had to do was close my eyes, open them again, and it’d be morning. Only now it’s not just morning – it’s another year. And I’m not at all rejuvenated. In fact, I could do with a lie in for a good two or three more months. I need that time, man. I had a long list of things to do before the end of 2015, and I’m only half way there. It’s as though someone grabbed me by the hand around March time, asked me to dance, spun me around and off I flew, twirling past all the fun months, through festivals and weddings, births and bbq’s, and suddenly I’m here. December. The smuggest of all the months. The month that won’t let you forget what it is because its shrieking, and doing festive jazz hands at you everywhere you look.
I’m just going to get this off my chest so that we can move past it…
Damn you December, with your judgement and your merriment and your constant insistence that we smile, and get together with people. Damn you for being the one time I don’t want to leave the house, but also the time when I know I have to because I’m under an obligation to “get in the spirit”. Damn you for being a pricey git, and for giving me excuses to put all of the bad things in my body. For whispering in my ear that if I want to eat, now’s my chance because after Christmas, I won’t be allowed (or able to afford to) until at least February. And finally, damn you for forcing me to take a long hard look at my life, and all the things I haven’t done yet that I must do before another year hurtles by, (and preferably before January is over, and I can’t be bothered to try any more).
There are just 31 days of this year left. If I’m to roll into 2016 having achieved all of the things I smugly wrote out in a new moleskin dedicated entirely to lists (designed to make me more productive) this time last year – December is going to be busy. It’s going to be a gigantic ballache of a month chock full of evening classes, language apps, 18 hour days in front of a computer, and absolutely no sniff of mediocre advent calendar chocolate. I’ll have to ingest nothing but hot water and lemon, and maybe some diet tea to get things moving, and spend an hour meditating both morning and night. Oh yeah, and I’m yet to meet the man of my dreams, so I ought to get cracking on that one. It’s such a shame Christmas jumpers are so unbecoming.
Let’s face it. I’m doing none of it. None of us are. December’s hardly the time to start getting motivated. It’s a time for resignation that your list is going to remain incomplete, and in your Drawer of Shame, along with that skipping rope you bought in Argos’s January sale. It’s not a time to feel guilty. It’s a time to rejoice in all you have got done, (and the fact Marks & Spencer have released a chocolate pudding full of glitter) even if all you’ve achieved is the first item on your list.
It’s these lists that are the problem in the first place. These things we think we want so much we assume writing them down, ticking them off, and telling anyone who’ll listen, will help. Like somehow making these resolutions transforms us into the “better people” we aspire to be. As though there’s something wrong with who we are currently. I reckon the reason time goes by as fast is because we’re all so focused on achieving these big life goals, we forget to observe all the piddly stuff happening in between. The stuff that’s just as good, if not better, because it doesn’t break the bank, or mean you have to be at work for an additional 12 hours a week.
Maybe you’ve already figured this out. But I’ve only just this minute realised it.
We’re so busy focusing on the goals and changes we want to make to our lives we don’t give ourselves time to sit and take stock of what we have. Instead we hurtle through one occasion whilst planning the next. We attend other people’s life events, spending the whole time wondering if it’ll ever be our turn…or if we even want it to be. We spend so much time obsessing about the things we want to change, or that we could do to improve ourselves, that we never really stop to give ourselves credit for all the excellent things we’re already doing.
It’s a shame we feel this need to set our sights so high. It’s a shame we only associate stratospheric levels of success with happiness. What about the little things we could find joy in if we set the bar a little lower, and gave ourselves a break.
How about we try this?
Rather than thinking…
Why haven’t I got a pet yet? Why have I made no commitments to anything? Why does no one love me?
Instead try thinking…
It’s really bloody brilliant how much I commit to bonding with the pets of friends and strangers. That’s time well spent right there.
Rather than thinking…
Have I really watched this episode of ‘Friends’ so many times its seeped into my blood stream? What an appalling waste of time. I should be reading the works of Shakespeare, Wilde, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky. I should be writing my own masterpiece. I’ll never win the Man Booker at this rate!
Congratulate yourselves and think…
Blimey, I really do know every line of every ‘Friends’ episode ever. That’s serious detail recall right there. I should reward myself by designing my own certificate, and scoffing a Flake.
Rather than beating yourself up for having a lazy day…
I should be at a museum. I should be on a mini break, I should be at that networking event Daphne mentioned, or at that exhibition about stamps everyone’s who’s anyone’s raving about.
Give yourself a break and think…
How wonderful – I’ve not moved a muscle all day! That shows real presence of mind, and commitment to muscle repair. Usain Bolt would approve.
We rarely let ourselves relax. We never just enjoy what we’re doing because we’re so damn focused on tomorrow, and the next day, and next month, and five years down the line. That’s why time goes so fast, because we’re living years in the future, in lives we only imagine.
In 2016 I’m going to keep it simple and stick to the one goal that’s the most important to me. And every step I take towards achieving that, I’m going to reward myself with a positive endorsement. I’m going to look at myself in the mirror and say things like, ‘You bloody hero, you wrote 300 whole words today, you beautiful genius. You’ve well and truly excelled yourself.’ And then maybe I’ll do a little curtsey, and kiss myself in the mirror. I’ll deserve it after all, because I got something done.
Having goals is great, and it keeps you moving forwards. There’s no denying that. However, life is made up of tiny steps we rarely give ourselves credit for. Perhaps if we start noticing them, things wont continue to zoom by so fast. And then maybe we’ll end up happy where we are, and with what we have, rather than obsessed with what we only think we need.