Monday, 28 December 2015

Thoughts On Reinvention

Where would we all be if we weren't constantly encouraged and reassured by the notion of reinvention, of creating a new image for ourselves? I always associate the time after Christmas with the warm feeling of being able to start afresh, making the most of new gifts given and making promises to yourself about how you'll learn Russian, finally become a vegetarian and start volunteering. As a child I would make a list of hundreds of things that I wanted to do in the New Year, no, that I had to do in the New Year, otherwise I would stay the same unimpressive me. Though it seemed motivational at the time, I think that kind of behaviour encouraged a sense of self-loathing in me, scrutinising every part of myself and wanting it to change. This frustration with myself would often lead me further away from my goals, rather than closer, because I didn't feel good enough to achieve them.oxford eve 3
Jumper - Rotita
Jeggings - Uniqlo
Shoes - Hunter via TK Maxx
Beanie - Commando (out of stock)

Usually I write a post at the end of every year analysing it, and concluding about what I want to do in the next year. I'm not sure if that will cut it this time. Every year is ups and downs and this one has been no different, but the one thing that seems significant about 2015 is that both my world view and perspective have really changed.

This year has opened me up to everything, to the importance of friendship, to the importance of showing vulnerability and showing yourself kindness as well as others, both of which I have written about here and here. 

Next year I am 23. I don't know whether I thought I would be in this place aged 23 a few years back, and there's still so many exciting projects I want to work on and things I want to do with my life. Your early 20's is a confusing and overwhelming time and it's one I imagine I will look upon fondly in the future, and I want to be able to enjoy it, and live fully in it, without being constantly hard on myself and putting pressure on myself to be better.

Better can be a really vicious concept. I see this quote kicking about the internet: 'Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself'. I ate that up a few years ago, thinking I could mould myself into the shape (not just physically but mentally) that I wanted to be. To some extent I think that is true, but it's also exhausting. One of my favourite songs, Two Step by Dave Matthews Band (don't roll your eyes) includes the lyrics: 'Celebrate we will, Because life is short but sweet for certain/We're climbing two by two/To be sure these days continue/These things we cannot change'. I really relate to these lyrics, because I think in the pursuit of perfection, and with a grass is greener mentality, we sometimes forget to just enjoy what is there. You can jump from goal to goal, from university to job, ticking boxes, and forget who you are in the process, and forget that life itself is incredible and overwhelming at times.

oxford eve 4

In the past I have forgotten to truly appreciate the fact I have a stable family dynamic, that I have wonderful, hilarious and supportive friends, that I am from a city that I am basically in love with, that I work at a job that is stimulating. I have put my work out there and lamented how it didn't get the response I was hoping for, instead of just being proud of the fact that I was actually making stuff and writing something, just putting something of yourself out there is enough. 

I have written about learning to accept myself before, but I really had no idea what that entailed until now. I accepted myself conditionally, on the basis that one day I would learn to stop being so emotional, that I would fit into a size 8, that I would achieve specific goals. These kinds of thoughts don't cut it, and they just leave you hollow. It sounds clichéd, but you don't live in the now because you're always hoping the future is better, that you will be better.

Before the clock strikes 12 on NYE I'm going to sit down and consider what I really want for myself next year, other than learning swahili and eating more kale. I'm going to set myself realistic goals but also tell myself that my life doesn't depend upon those goals being reached. It's been hard to learn, but ultimately your worth is intrinsic and not based on exterior successes. You should go after goals because you're passionate about them and want the best for yourself, but be mindful that life is more than goals, whether they be relationship or squad related. 

I'm going to take this opportunity to be excited about the year ahead and what I could be getting up to, but I don't think it's about reinvention anymore. Its about embracing life as it comes, realising that happiness is not an end goal, and that it's all just part of a process. This is just a reminder to be gentle and not be hard on yourself, and that sometimes acceptance of the good and bad parts of you is better than reinvention.

What are your hopes for 2016?

Thanks for reading!

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8 comments :

  1. My hopes for 2016 are to get fitter, pay some debts off and hopefully afford a nice holiday somewhere hot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The sweater is so colorful. Just like the rainbow.

    prom dresses under 100

    ReplyDelete
  3. I turned 23 this past November, and I don't know if I'm where I thought I would be or not.
    If anything, I'm pretty happy at current, so that's all that matters.
    Tegan xx - Permanent Procrastination

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this post Bel and I totally relate! I feel like I always buy into that excitement about betterment / reinvention at this time of year but recently I've stopped setting resolutions because I just beat myself up about not fulfilling them and that's not productive. I often focus on one thing and think that everything in my life will be better if I, you know, drink more water. Gratitutde is definitely better than trying to improve all the time! xxx

    ReplyDelete

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    ReplyDelete

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    ReplyDelete

Thank you so so much for your comment! It makes me smile everytime I see a new one pop up. If you leave me a link to your blog I will aim to get back to you within 2 days because I love looking at all your blogs too!
If you want to continue the conversation, tweet me @thebelphoebejar

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