I always approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next with trepidation. I enjoy looking back at the journey, lessons and blessings of the past 365-days. I like reflecting on my achievements and missteps in the hopes of learning, growing and doing better next time. As for “new year, new me” declarations, I’ve always skipped those. Not because I don’t need to make changes, but rather, I see this as a holistic process. Every day is a good day to start over. I try to take on new hobbies, habits and challenges regularly rather than being dictated to by a day on my calendar.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life is anything but ordinary at the moment. I’m going to delicately tiptoe around some of the overused phrases of last year and simply say it’s been a hell of a year. One that I hope we don’t have to repeat in our lifetimes. From a pragmatic perspective, we know that turning to a new page won’t magically make viruses or problems of the past disappear, but it offers a glimmer of hope. I’d normally skip past the new year hoo-ha but this year I’m clinging onto that sliver of hope with all my might.
While I’m not going to launch into a new fitness routine or create a new side hustle, my approach to this year is going to be different. I’m going to embrace one word: Gentle.
The lessons of last year taught me that we, individually and as a society, do too much too fast. With various lockdowns, I was forced to slow down. It felt unnatural at first, not to be flitting to a new restaurant, bar or event every other night and a different country each month. But as the months rolled on, I began to appreciate the importance of being gentle – to myself and others.
To me, being gentle means many things. It means giving myself permission to do nothing, to actively carve our hours or days without the pressure of ‘being productive’. It means prioritising rest and naps and long showers. It means picking up those fun hobbies – languages, painting, reading – which I haven’t prioritised for a long time. But above all, it means being kind and compassionate to myself and those around me.
Wishing you a gentle new year.