Originally the title of this post was “New Year, New Me,” but it was so cliché I couldn’t handle it.
Whenever I begin a new year I feel it’s always a nostalgic time. I think about all the years in my life that have passed – all sixteen of them. It doesn’t sound like much, but it feels like I’ve lived a very long time. Despite me saying this, the wiser part of me knows that sixteen years is not long at all and I know practically nothing about myself or the world. But, this doesn’t stop me from having moments when I think I know best. I mean, I’m a privileged teenager, I have to have those moments at least sometimes. Anyway, the point is, I always feel nostalgic at the end / beginning of a new year. I should have just ended the paragraph with the first sentence, but ah well.
At the beginning of this year, I scrolled through my Facebook feed, looking at memes of how terrible 2016 was, status updates about new year’s resolutions and pictures of the various parties people went to. I started to feel a mounting pressure weighing down on my chest. 2017. I will be in year eleven. I will be sixteen. I will be old enough to get my learner’s permit. I will be doing French and German. My face will be screened across the world in three films. I’M TERRIFIED.
Let’s sidetrack for a second.
I usually make one or two new year’s resolutions. They’re usually obscure, and I usually forget about them by March. Last year I don’t remember my new year’s resolution, maybe it was to keep my room clean? If it was, it didn’t work out at all. A couple of years ago my resolution was to drink more water, but, again, I forgot about it and spent the rest of the year in dehydration. On December the 31st of last year, I didn’t have a new year’s resolution. It was only until a couple of days later, with the afore-mentioned overwhelming feeling I had, when I realised what they should be.
- Be less selfish
- Be less stressed
Or, if you want to put it in a more positive way:
- Be more selfless
- Be calmer
Either way, I decided these were the two things about myself that I wanted to work on, if not change, throughout the year. The first stems from a slight epiphany I had a few weeks ago. Although epiphanies make great stories, this is one I’d prefer not to share. Something I will tell you, though, is that something that always reminds me of how selfish I am is documentaries about space. Particularly, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s on Netflix and I highly recommend it for three reasons:
- The animation of the galaxies, stars and nebulae is phenomenal
- It reminds you that you’re just a tiny, tiny part of this universe, and there’s so much you don’t know
- The spaceship that Neil deGrasse Tyson flies around in is shaped like an avocado
Excluding the avocado spaceship, the second reason on that list is why I love watching it. It always reminds me that the little bubble that I live in is so insignificant and small that I should really stop worrying about everything so much. The fact that there is no Nutella left in the jar and someone still put it back in the cupboard is not the worst thing in the world. It’s a good reality check.
The second resolution came from that awful overwhelming feeling I felt. I was stressed. Stressed about school, friends, work, and who was going to win season six of Rupaul’s Drag Race. And then I realised that I didn’t have to be stressed. Worrying about school wasn’t going to change anything. In fact, worrying about anything doesn’t change the outcome of any event. So I decided that instead of stressing, I should just let it go. “Let it go,” while a powerful mantra made famous by Queen Elsa, is much easier said than done. Unlike Elsa, a magical power is not what I’m trying to let go. Instead, it’s a cloud of toxic thoughts that, no matter how hard I try, cannot be turned into the power of ice and snow. So, instead of building ice castles and talking snowmen called Olaf, (don’t worry, that’s the end of the Frozen analogy), I’ve decided to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is similar to meditation, in the way that they’re both about concentrating on the connection between body and mind. Mindfulness meditation is where you bring your thoughts back to your breathing. You let go of your worries, plans and thoughts for just five or ten minutes, and take time to concentrate on your breathing and how your body feels. Some people are sceptical about it, which is fair enough. It’s not for everyone. But I’ve found that so far, meditation and mindfulness colouring-in books have been great.
Of course, I’m not going to pretend that I will keep these resolutions until next year. I might forget about them by Easter, or next month, or maybe even sooner. Maybe in all the commotion of starting year eleven, I’ll be so wrapped up in all my little worries and problems that I’ll forget that a) I should stop complaining and start being selfless, and b) I should just relax. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll remember. After all, I’ve written my resolutions on a sticky-note and placed it on my desk so that it’s always there as a reminder. It’s next to my sticky-note that says “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. I have to remember to add it my Spotify playlist.
In some way, I feel like by writing this post I’m already betraying my resolution to be less selfish. It’s a bit self-centred, writing about myself. It’s all about ME. But, I try not to take this too seriously. I once heard the phrase “All good deeds are selfish”, and the more I think about it, the more I think it might be true. Unless, of course, your good deed harms you in the process. Then you’re just stupid.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my slightly selfish post on how I want to be less selfish. Hopefully you’re less hypocritical than I am in the new year.
Let 2017 begin.