This has been a weird year. I started last year with this letter and ended it with all the depressive realism I’ve come to expect of myself – for I would not be me without it. I rang in the new year listening to the worst song in existence in a rain-slicked car halfway up the Dublin mountains with my best friend and half the population of Ireland who had all had the same genius idea to welcome in the new year by being as far above the city as possible. I went home and ruined perfectly good 12 year old whiskey with a splash of Coke and went to sleep after quietly acknowledging that no amount of good thoughts or hopeful wishes in the world are going to stop the rising of the fascist dictatorship, or the rise of a strain of neoliberalism that descends into begrudgery as soon as minorities start to find themselves on an inch of even ground. No amount of hoping we’ve left death in 2016 is going to stop our families and friends getting sick or getting old, or our heroes from being able to undo the stresses of the decades past and the tolls that has taken on their bodies. Despite that, we have battles to fight and victories to celebrate. Whiskey to ruin and nights to remember. More battles. More victories. Losses to recoup from and more fighting again. No matter the battle. Global or internal. On a societal level or fighting with the thoughts inside our own heads – battles to happen. Battles to come. Life is simply sempiternal. It starts, we live, we die. The same old shit, over and over. Wars fought and idiots leading countries into devastation. Lives lost. Class wars. Money struggles. Capitalism, rearing its ugly head. Fascism, giving painful authority to the most ignorant among us. We have little to do with the eternity of life – it’s something we borrow for a few years, though it exists without us. If we can accept that, we can do something within our time.
Last year I pledged a number of things.
2016 will be the year I
- Learn to drive
- start doing something about how much I hate my body
- get back to work and really make recovery worth it
- really make something of my NaNo project
- promise that I will never stop writing
- read as many books as I can
- start 3rd year with a quiet, realistic determination
- try a new thing a month
- write more
- do more
- just be a better version of myself
- I started to learn to drive. I’m three lessons in and feel confident that I’ll be ready to take my test by the summer.
- I gave up aspartame in an effort to help myself, but gained a bunch of weight in the process (turns out that though your body processes aspartame like it’s sugar, it doesn’t actually believe it’s really sugar. Go figure.)
- I went back to work. Slowly, I built up to doing my contract hours and mostly was able to work until I got a new job, making recovery definitely worth it.
- I made nothing of my NaNo project as of yet because it simply wasn’t ready. What a difference a year makes in terms of perspective.
- I’ll never stop writing. That was a promise I kept, and will continue to keep.
- I read 29 books this year. That was as many as I could given a number of circumstances.
- I started 3rd year with a quiet, realistic determination and despite a turbulent beginning, not expecting much has gotten me a lot further than I’d hoped.
- I pretty much did the new thing a month promise. I definitely pushed the boat out, and I’ll be pushing it out further and further until I’m stranded at sea in a dinghy still trying to push the boat away from me.
- I wrote more. I blogged a lot this year and seem to have garnered a sort of readership
(thank you, if you’re reading this. It means a lot that something I typed is now entering your eyeballs via the aid of cones and lights, etc)and did more than I think I believed I was capable of, and was as good a version of myself as I could possibly be last year.
I reckon that’s a win, really.
This year’s goals
not resolutions are as follows (and are in no particular order):
- Actually do something about how much I dislike my body – make a plan. A proper plan.
- Pass my driving test.
- Submit essays to more journals – ditto on writing competitions.
- Write more articles.
- Get Draft Zero written by the end of the year.
- Apply for things that scare me. No matter how underqualified I feel, if it’s something I’ve got time to do, I’m to apply to do it.
- Speak up for what I believe in. Call people on their racism, sexism, hate speech where appropriate and stop being a bystander simply because it’s easier.
- Listen more. Listen to POC, LGBTQI+ and other minority groups and learn and listen.
- Make a conscious effort to stop caring about what people think of me.
- Talk to people more in the blogging community.
- Finish 3rd year and get a good run at 4th year.
- Read as much as I can.
- Be a better version of myself.
A resolution is but a promise, and promises can be broken. Goals can remain unreached, but they are worthy markers of things to reach for again and again if you miss the first time. I have no idea what state the world will be in by the end of this year. I have no idea if we will remain untouched or if we will continue to be the squeezed blemish between the USA and the UK, slowly seeping under the pressure, or if we’ll retreat and become a whitehead instead.
This whole metaphor is gross, sorry. I almost don’t want to think about it. I’m not going to pretend that anything is going to be particularly better or unchanged. I’m going to hope that my family and friends remain safe and healthy this year and that I don’t lose anyone else, but I’m going to know that I’ll survive if I do and that bad things show us who is worth holding onto on the shitplough that is life. I can’t do much else, other than simply try.
Happy New Year. Thanks for reading with me this far. x