Friday, 31 January 2014

Goodbye And Hello

Today I wanted to share a little ritual I have for the start of each year. It's just a small way to step back, take a look at the year that was and look to the year ahead. It's the only form of diary I keep, and likewise the only type of New Year's resolution thing I do. I usually aim to do this in January, before the year gets too far underway. I use to get a bunch of my single girlfriends and we'd all do it together over champagne brunch, but now Edu and I pick a quiet day to do it together. I really look forward to it every year, and this weekend is earmarked for the annual event. I have a nice little Rhodia notebook that I log everything in. It's very simple. Get a pen and write down...
Step 1: all the things you liked and loved about 2013.
It doesn't matter how big or small; everything is valid. This could be a holiday you took, a fabulous summer dress you purchased, or moving into your dream apartment. Whatever the highlights were for you. I write things down bullet-point form; seems to be enough. If you do this with others it's nice to share as you go whatever you feel comfortable with. A year is a long time, and you might be reminded of a few things that are worthy of being on your list.
Step 2: all the things you disliked and hated about 2013.
This could be from a shitty weather during your summer holiday, your new boss, your pet who died. Whatever was not good in your life in the year that was. Purge.
Step 3: everything you learned about yourself in 2013.
OK, so it gets slightly more tricky to take a look at your inner self, but I don't get too carried away, I always keep it pretty top-level. It may be, for example, that through the experiences of 2013 you have discovered you have more inner strength than you thought, are ready for a new job, really need to cut back on coffee, are shocking at time management, have found 'the one', just cannot pull off hats, or really hate chunky pate*. Again; nothing is too small to make it on the list.
Step 4: everything you would like to achieve in 2014.
I've been doing this little ritual since 2002 – just before I left Australia for The Netherlands – and it's quite amazing to look back and see over the years what my hope and dreams were. And even more satisfying to tick off the things you achieved.
The most interesting thing I find is that a year is really a very long time. And by the end of the year, you've forgotten what you wanted at the start, and you may very well have accomplished something big and already moved on and not taken the time to acknowledge it.
The key here is to think big. I've had things on my list that at the time of writing them down I thought were impossible to achieve; getting a visa for The Netherlands, a permanent job, living in my dream home, finding the man of my dreams, having a healthy beautiful baby. Yet they've happened, and it's nice to take stock of the milestones in your life. But I've also had smaller things like owning a TV, and being able to afford to eat out once a week. It's all stuff that might not seem important now, or unobtainable, but at the time it was. It's a little bit of asking the world for what you want, I think, and also it focusing yourself on what's important and oneway or another you seem to get there.
So if you're stuck for something to do this weekend, or looking for a new way to look forward to the new year, maybe this is for you. Best of luck, and enjoy the process.
*It's true. I did, and I do. It's a whole other thing from sublime smooth pate. Chunky pate is just foul.
Images by Kanae Sato.

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