Tis’ the Season To Be Flipping Proud of Yourself

I adore this time of year. The subtle Michael Buble twinkling through cafes. The baubles dangling everywhere. The way that everything glitters and sparkles. The planning that goes into what night of December you’ll watch Love Actually. The food! The friends and family. The smell of tinsel (don’t even argue, it TOTALLY has a smell!). I tend to feel that this time of year also encourages me to reflect deeply and think about a lot of stuff. I sometimes can get a bit self critical, or sometimes I click into forward thinking mode.

I think my personality always makes me reflect on what I should aim for next year. What do I still need to achieve? What can I improve on in my life? What can I do better when I get another crack at life next year? I don’t equate it to being a bad thing perse: I’m an ambitious and driven type of person (horn tooting soz) and I’m learning how to harness those qualities about myself healthily. But to be honest, after the year we’ve all had, I’m fobbing those thoughts right off this time. I’m deciding to reframe, and I have also concluded that I don’t need to be ‘better’.

I think it comes with the whole ‘New Years resolution’ notion. We make a half-arsed pledge to do better at a certain aspect of our life which is usually influenced by the short comings that took place during the silly season’s celebrations: drink less alcohol, eat less crap, hit the gym more, get more sleep, be more present, pray more, meditate more, journal more, save more etc etc. These pledges usually fall by the wayside shortly after January and then we are left with nothing but the feeling like we haven’t started the year off as if we have achieved much at all. What a buzz kill! It’s all good and well the have goals, and I’m not saying go and screw up the #goals list written on your notepad. I’m saying when it comes to this season of the year, make sure you stop and look back at the view.

I’m making sure this year, during this season of wrapping paper and praying for parking angels to grace me with a parking spot, I remember to look back and congratulate myself on everything I have achieved in what has globally been a pretty tricky (cute adjective, Caitlin) year. Here are some things (but not limited to!) that may be on your list that totally count if you were to do the same:

1. I seeked help for a (physical or mental) health condition

2. I prioritized the work/life balance above everything

3. I delivered and nurtured a baby in lockdown

4. I helped my children learn

5. I balanced things the best I knew how

6. I took time for me

7. I read books

8. I started that passion project

9. I quit that terrible job

10. I started that degree

11. I finished that degree

12. I broke up with a toxic friend/partner

13. I shrunk my friendship circle

14. I widened my friendship circle

15. I indulged in self care/self love

16. I learnt a new skill

17. I bettered myself personally or professionally

18. I asked that guy/girl out

19. I got a promotion

20. I chose kindness over bitterness

21. I put boundaries in place

22. I took a leap of faith

23. I adapted to something new

24. I quit a habit that wasn’t giving me life

And 25 is for all of us: we made it through a year where the odds were against everyone, yet somehow, we are here. We are here, rebuilding what we lost, rebuilding normalcy, rebuilding our sense of selves and rebuilding our present in hopes that next year will be better or perhaps logistically, at least, a little easier (Omicron, stay cool, sis).

It’s easy to consider and describe all the different ways we can do our lives better. It doesn’t take that much intelligence or brain power really. What does take critical thinking though is the ability to look back and humbly and honestly analyze all we have achieved during this crazy town year. You have to look carefully and notice all the background stuff that was happening in amongst the news bulletins, the 11am (which then changed to 9am ew) press conferences, online learning, zoom calls, 10km radius LGA maps and mask wearing. All of that took up a lot of our mental load this year but there was such beauty in the background if you were to look and listen carefully.

My hope for you is that you don’t make a New Years resolution. If you really do have a short term habitual goal you want to set, fine: but why wouldn’t you just start that today? My hope for everyone this Christmas is while you are going to town on the ham, Lindt balls and bubbles and living your best life at Nan’s kitchen table, start a conversation about all the stuff you did this year despite those odds. Despite lockdown. Despite the insanity this year saw. What did you do that you are proud of? What have you started that you’re excited to continue? What have you ended that you’re forever thankful for? What are your hopes for next year that will go the distance beyond January?

Merry Christmas to everyone who has found home here at All Eyes Up. I hope it’s filled with your nearest and dearest this season, and I’m so thankful for your loyal readership of my very colloquial and conversational blog. Now go get that fake tan on so you can sit in Nans kitchen like the unicorn you are!