Halfway through the first month of the New Year, Fionn McCausland looks at why the six packs and detoxes can take a back seat.
There is a nice sentiment behind the New Year’s tradition. The beginning of a new year is a time when people reflect inward, on their lives and ambitions. This is an important thing to do from time to time, evaluating your trajectory in life can help steer you away from undesirable paths.
Though of course, you don’t need to wait until January to begin fixing what you perceive to be wrong with your life as it is. In short, meeting your own expectations is never possible. We are all creatures of a fragile disposition called insecurity.
Eating healthily, exercising, saving money and travelling are some of the things that are commonly taken up post December 31st. There is no apparent harm in this, as long as the psychological element isn’t lost on you.
The New Year can serve as a psycho-sematic motivational shove for those who feel they need it, for others it can build stress and intensify fears and anxieties that you may have been carrying for some time. With each passing year, we look back upon our achievements and follies in order to discern what can be improved on for the future. We all set high standards for ourselves. We rarely, if ever, meet those standards and we always look at those around us for approval of our decisions, fully convinced that their lives are simply better than ours.
Wanting something is step one, the only other steps are working for it and achieving it. There is no alternative conclusion. If you work for it, you will have it. To work for something you need to be passionate about it and to be passionate about something you have to truly want it, which is the issue. We assure ourselves that a fat wallet, obnoxiously expensive car, high grades and a pretty girlfriend/boyfriend are what we want, when what we want is to be happy. That’s it. Sounds simple, but like most things in life it is deceitfully difficult.
Building relationships and finding fulfilment in your work or hobbies is a wonderful thing and will undoubtedly make us content. That being said, if we are not content with who we are as a person, everything else is null and void. Incongruous achievements such as a promotion and a six pack won’t enable you to confront yourself on a foundational level.
I’m beginning to sound very patronising here and I apologise for that; there simply is no way to say all of this without sounding conceited. So allow me to give an example, the only example I’m qualified to give in this instance.
I know what it is like to feel inadequate, with no true reasoning behind it. For years, I convinced myself that material things would be the vehicle to my personal salvation. They weren't.
Surviving off of the attention of your peers is an unstable way to live your life. As soon as the superficial curtain closes, you’re on your own. So be honest with yourself. Engage with the people who have always been there and build trusting relationships with people that you truly connect with. Love your family and friends and, most importantly, allow them to love you. Don’t be afraid to tell that dirty joke you’ve spent ten minutes thinking of in the back of your mind. Blurt it out; if you think it’s funny that’s all that matters. Be honest all the time, don’t lie to anyone to protect their feelings and they will return the favour in kind when you need to make to a definite decision on something difficult.
Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and you won’t need to reflect on them eight months later when you’ve already dealt with the consequences and are now just dwelling in your own insecurity. Speaking as someone who has battled with depression I know that applying too much weight to your past discrepancies is a dangerous game and can often do more harm than good.
Of course all of this is relative to the individual.
Head into the New Year with an open mind, loving heart and powerful will and no amount of friends in Lamborghinis or designer apparel will affect how you see yourself.
Don’t over-plan your life, nothing ever works out all the way. Enjoy yourself, love yourself, and happy New Year.