We spend so much time stuck on the past, you and I. I think that is part of the territory with mental health; a part of you is always stuck in the past. Mulling over situations. Analysing every tiny detail, wondering where it went wrong, forgetting to champion the moments that went really well.
Last week, I chose to reflect on 2017 and all of the ups and downs that I experienced as I rode the rollercoaster that was to become chapter 17. But what about chapter 18? What am I taking with me from my past and mixing into both my present and my future.
With 2017, I spent a lot of time healing my wounds from a messy relationship and many changes. I changed jobs, twice. I moved home, and I feel like that is always something we aren’t necessarily proud of. Once you’ve moved away and lived on your own, it can be so hard to adjust back to the life you grew up in, you fear that you will repeat chapters or worst, become trapped. I found myself in tears just before New Years Eve, regretting the past year and feeling trapped inside a defensive bubble, I cried to my mum in the car on the way to work. Now my mum, the queen of quotes on DanCooleDaily, cried with me and fixed my headspace. She reminded me of the positives, of the steps I had to take in order to better my future. One of those steps was moving home. She told me it was something that I had to do because she didn’t necessarily recognise the person who had walked through the door, belongings in hand, last June.
Fast forward to December and I felt such comfort hearing my mum tell me that she was finally recognising the me she loved and knew. Up until that point, I had realised that I had become so wrapped in bitterness and regret that I had massively lost my way.
I think it’s nice to be reminded of where you are in life. For the most part, we only see our own reflections in the mirror, we analyse what we look like and we tear apart our faults. But sometimes we see the inside of us reflected in the people who surround us. And I think that it is such a warming and telling moment when we see our true reflection in others.
2018 for me has been a year that has stuck out in my mind for a while. I wish I could explain why, I wish I could tell you that my birthday is on the 18th of March and therefore this year my birthday will be the 18/03/18. I wish it was something poetic like 18 being my lucky number. But I cannot explain it. For the longest time, I have known that 2018 will be an iconic year for me.
One week in and I feel alive. I feel like I am finally trusting myself. I am starting to accept there are things I cannot change, and mores the point – there are things I can change.
Last year I accidentally lost weight. I don’t mean like I fell over and I suddenly lost 10 pounds. But living back at home meant that I stopped eating terrible food. The takeaway nights stopped and I started eating salads that my dad had prepared in my lunchbox for work. It was the kickstart I needed to take it seriously in 2018. The ground work had been laid unintentionally, ready for me to build upon the foundations. Now I am not saying I am going to glo up into some Kardashian this year, but the feeling better about myself and the confidence I am gaining is almost addictive. I will forever be a potato and that is something I have accepted, but I am determined to be a beautiful chip as apposed to a wedge.
I am going into 2018 more positive. I am ready to begin what I feel will be one of the most exciting chapters yet. It could be the poetic birthday date, or it could be the baggage I feel I have stopped carrying around. I now realise that I needed 2017 to sulk. I know that I needed a year to feel sorry for myself, to lick my wounds and to dust myself off. I have had that year now, and it could so easy to carry on sulking, to remain in the rut I got myself into. But what will that achieve? What will repeating moments and falling into old habits achieve?
I think sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. We can get stuck in the familiarity of a terrible person, or we can become obsessed with an idea of something we will never be. We easily kick ourselves and we are too quick to judge. I am guilty of it all. I almost preach to the choir, oozing negativity onto the world. I think it’s important to recognise that we can also be our own best friend. We can build ourselves up. We can change ourselves, we can try again.
That’s the beauty of a new year, the exciting feeling of turning over the page to realise you’re starting a new chapter. What we choose to write depends on what we want to reflect. We can choose to continue in the same pattern that we know damages us, that chips away at our beautiful selves. Or, with a lot of effort and determination, we can choose to evolve, to take what were know and build upon it. You are already amazing, you already possess all of the required ingredients to become something amazing.
Maybe now is the time to truly start believing in ourselves and all of the potential we hold in our hands.
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