Welcoming a new year

A new year is a funny thing. Despite the fact that it’s really just an arbitrary way of marking time, it still feels like a new chapter, a new opportunity. At the very least, it’s a chance to approach the months ahead with an adjusted frame of mind – be it in how you tackle work, academics, your health, your relationships, or any manner of things.

Of course, 2021 is complicated by the fact that it’s riding on the back of 2020, a year which was pretty unambiguously difficult for most of the world. I’m not so naïve as to think that a new year means all the horrors of 2020 have suddenly vanished. However, I do think the lessons we learnt from 2020—particularly about ourselves and the way we connect with others—can help us manage how we approach 2021.

For me, 2020 was a year that taught me the value of simple pleasures. I don’t think I understood this truly until the beginning of 2021, when I spent a week at a house in Aldinga Beach with my family and a few friends. Maybe it was getting away from work for a while, or just taking a step back after the bustle of Christmas, but it clarified for me the things I hold as important: swimming every day, going for runs along the coast, making a coffee in the early morning silence, reading on the balcony, sitting around a table with friends under the night sky after a day by the beach, watching old movies with cake and tea, swimming in the rain on a cold day at a vacant Sellicks Beach, driving in silence with Lana Del Rey at full volume. These are the things which breathe into me a sigh of relief. Simple, good things.

Obviously, it’s not possible to live every day like that (that’s sort of what holidays are for). But it occurs to me that I could incorporate more of what makes me feel so good into my every day. I could run more, swim more, generally spend more time outside in the sunshine and the fresh air. I could read, make coffee, laugh with old friends, swim in the rain. I don’t mean to configure these things as a sort of New Year’s resolution, something to tick off. Rather, these are practices which I want to integrate fluidly into my life, not just in 2021, but all the time. It’s less to do with a singular goal, and more to do with who you are and the things which make you happy and light you up. That, at the very least, we can control.

Tagged in What messes with your head, Wellbeing, Hobbies