New Year and all that

8 Jan

It’s been a long time since I wrote on here and it’s not been because I haven’t wanted to.  It’s been because I’ve genuinely felt uninspired with many things in my life and every time I started writing a post, it would sound inauthentic and hollow, so I always ended up deleting it.  However, it is 2016 and there’s something comforting about a New Year – all beginnings, potential and hope! – that brings a much-needed sense of closure on the events that occurred in the year before.

Each year is inevitably full of ups and downs but in 2015, the downs seemed particularly overwhelming, paralysing me with fear and feelings of inadequacy and despondency.  I’ve been through this kind of thing before, and I’m pretty sure that my nature, prone to analysing and self-criticism, lends itself quite annoyingly to bouts of melancholia, so I knew it would eventually pass but that didn’t diminish the shock of the fall.

I was stuck in a job I didn’t like and I constantly felt like I was treading water, silently drowning.  The nature of the work highlighted the fact that I didn’t exactly fit in with the role or the organisation but despite that, I desperately tried to force myself to fit, shaping myself to appeal to other people and their expectations but all of this was unsuccessful.  At the same time I made the decision for my dog, Louie had to be put down.  Since December 2014, he was suffering from encephalitis, an insidious disease that made him rapidly deteriorate while I stood by and helplessly watched.  By the end, he couldn’t maintain his balance properly and his joints became painfully stiff.  There was no hope for recovery.

positive image

Louie was a six years old Maltese – a ball of white fluff that would bark at everyone and everything. My mother decided to get him when I was nineteen, saying that she thought it would be a good idea to give me some structure, responsibility and something to love.  When I look back at that time, I was confused and lost, barely feeling real myself but every time I held Louie in my arms, feeling his warm body against mine, I would feel a little more solid.  I have many regrets about that time: I wasn’t a great owner.  I should have spent more time with him; I should have savoured each and every walk with him instead of wallowing in my own problems.   These are things that haunt me and when he passed, I sank deeper and deeper into the ‘should haves’ until despair seeped into me, forcing everything strong and good out.

Now the New Year has begun, I am crawling out of my lethargic slump, determined to eradicate feelings of guilt and low self-worth and replace them with motivation and contentment.  I have come to realise much of my perceived failures stem from the misguided belief in me that I need to be outstanding. I don’t know where this feeling came from – it certainly wasn’t from school which hardly stimulated excellence or even intellectual curiosity but it is something that pervades most decisions I make.  It is behind every self-critical thought; why even try and write something when you know it will be awful?  Why bother taking steps to that job you want because you’ll never be able to compete with everyone else?

I’m still working on breaking down this damaging concept.  Believing that you need to be outstanding sets you up for a life of disappointment and failure; instead, it is absolutely fine to strive to be happy and good enough.  This is what I’m aiming for in 2016.  And to inspire myself with lots of creative, exciting pursuits 🙂

Happy New Year everyone.

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