This year I have tiptoed cautiously into the New Year, reluctant to enter it as I usually would, all guns a blazing, mind overflowing with resolutions.
Historically I have been known to get a bit down over the holiday period. My expectations for Christmas and the New Year have rarely been met, regardless of how fabulous the gifts are that I have received or how I have seen in the New Year. I think it’s something that I have inherited from my Dad, who in turn learned it from his Mum. In most ways I am grateful to be like my Dad and my Grandma, both of whom I adore; not enjoying Christmas is something I could have gone without.
Every year my expectations are high. I so look forward to Christmas and during the build up I genuinely believe that I love it. I always refer back to the excitement of Christmas morning as a child; the ridiculously early wake up, rushing downstairs to the mountain of presents, the fun filled day with my family. Now, as an adult, I start buying early, I have everything planned out in my head and it is going to be amazing, my childhood Christmas replicated; but somehow the day always falls flat. Come Boxing day I’m disappointed that it’s all over and within a few days the decorations are down and there’s no sign in my house that Christmas ever even happened.
New Year is even worse. I have never enjoyed New Year; ever. There are no happy childhood memories for me to reflect on; instead my overriding memory is of (year after year) being followed around the local working mens club by the kilt wearing bagpipe players, scaring me half to death and sending me scurrying to the safety of my Grandma’s arms (my relatives thought it was hilarious, it was the highlight of their New Year). As an adult I find that New Year is always a let down filled with people chasing a good time and rarely finding it. I hate the falseness of the midnight cheer, everybody proclaiming their love and singing along to a song that nobody knows the words to or the meaning of. It all seems so false and even surrounded by those I love, as midnight approaches I’m frantically searching for my escape. I have tried everything to find a way to enjoy it; I even went to New York one year and ended up spending the big night in my hotel room watching the ball drop in Times Square through the TV screen.
Since I had my daughter I have tried to make it more about her. I tried to drop any expectation for myself and just see Christmas through her young eyes. Still I have struggled to enjoy the day. This year though something changed. I let go of any expectation. I didn’t concern myself with what gifts I would receive and didn’t feel any disappointment when I received them. I appreciated the thought; I enjoyed the time spent with family (all 16 of us) and didn’t put any pressure on myself to ‘enjoy it.’ I almost treated it as I would any other day. I watched the kids play, the men sleep off dinner while pretending to watch a film and joined the women gossiping in the kitchen. Over the holiday period, I enjoyed my time off work, I didn’t massively over eat, I exercised as normal and just tried to kick back and relax. I read, I walked, I watched films – it was bliss.
New Year, the emphasis was placed on the children. We saw a pantomime in the afternoon, had an curry with 21 family members early evening, spent an hour with my mother in law and were home and tucked up in bed by 11pm. I fell asleep whilst meditating and woke up at 11.59 to see in the New Year alone while the rest of the house slept. It was perfect. And even more perfect than that, I got up early the next morning to meet my Dad for a walk around our local (and favourite) country park. Instead of coming into the New Year talking about all of the things we needed to change about ourselves, we talked about all of the things that we have achieved over the past year and reflected on everything that we are already doing right. It felt so refreshing and massively inspiring.
Of course I have goals that I want to meet this year and things with regards to my personal development that I want to work on. The difference this year is that I’m not putting any pressure on myself, rather I want to continue my personal growth organically. Sat here today, I feel relaxed, inspired, happy and positive and massively looking forward to the coming year. That, to me, is a huge result.