A new year ushers in new opportunities and chances for us. Be it a new opportunity that arises from a new job, a new relationship or simply a new location.
We make New Years Resolutions as a reminder (or the hoped-for conviction) to do things differently, to change something or to better oneself. We see a new year as a new blank slate, or a new blank piece of paper to write our stories on.
We reflect on what has been, and we plan what is upcoming. We see what we have achieved, and we think about we can beat what we have achieved. It makes me ponder on whether the way we go about new beginnings, new opportunities is flawed. Why do we feel the need to always do better? Why do we see our achievements as just a ‘step’ to our end goal? Why are we always running towards the destination? Why aren’t we enjoying the journey?
In reflecting on 2018, I find myself drifting towards the slowing my life down so that I’m doing life at the pace that is right for myself and my partner. The pace where I am doing things that are most important for myself – things I’m passionate about.
Doing the things that I’m passionate about – writing, teaching, community, knitting, family and friends – has meant that I’m out of my comfort zone far more than I’d like to admit. Being comfortable and accepting that I can express my passion and that my passion does not need to be hidden behind societal expectations, has been … well, tough.
For someone who feels far too at home with to-do lists, logistical planning, and could easily spend a whole day in a stationary shop, being comfortable in a dynamic community setting has been a learning curve and a half. I’ve come to realize that I over-logistical plan as a response to my social anxiety. Over-planning never results in a good time, just a stilted awkwardness.
Growth requires vulnerability, it requires strength and it requires acceptance. In learning to be strong through vulnerability and openness, in learning to be a better storyteller and a better teacher, I’ve come to realize the biggest growth I can have is being present in the moment.
So for 2019, I want to live life with authenticity, in line with the values and things important in my life. That means being present in the moment with people, whether it be students, friends, colleagues or family.
It means that at times I need to tear up the well thought out to-do lists, and trusting the dynamic flow of life. It means confronting my anxiety on a daily basis and not letting rule my life.
It means doing one thing at a time, and not rushing to get things done. It means saying no to things I don’t want to do so that I can say ‘yes’ to the important things. It’s about noticing details on a daily basis and expressing the beauty in life.
Moreover, it is about slowing things down in life to focus on things that are important to me, especially since the new year is bringing a new job, new location and a new chapter in my life.