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I feel like I’ve been drifting upon a wide, open ocean for the past few years. I’ve neither been swept away by furious storms nor drowned yet, but I don’t seem headed anywhere either. I don’t quite know what to do with my life or myself from here, and feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I daren’t rock my little boat, for fear of returning to the old days of constant flare ups and endless pain. So this is sort of a good state to be in too, if you get what I mean.
As I reflect upon this prompt, I’m thinking that I’d like to dedicate 2019 in honour of my youth. There are certain traits that I’d like to rekindle, or at least remember, namely curiosity, daring, strength, resourcefulness and independence. This will no doubt invite more turbulence as well, and while I fully accept that this version of myself is no more, that isn’t to say that she never existed. I’d like to channel her spirit this year, and to remember what it feels like to be alive once more.
(Find out more about these ‘versions’ in this article: Me 1.0 is dead. What will I do with Me 2.0?)
Sleep plays a huge role in inflammation, damage control and the maintenance of our health. I’ve never been a good sleeper, always staying up late for no good reason, with ill disciplined sleep hygiene and messy routines. I’m aware that a good night’s sleep doesn’t start right before bed, but from the moment I wake in the morning. Every little thing I do or consume, and the timings, add up to make an impact.
I hope to establish a better sleep routine this year, which will be a challenging feat for someone like me! I know that I’ll slip up many times, but I’d like to keep trying. My plan is to go to bed early, like a few hours before actually falling asleep, because there are certain things that I only do in bed. For example, I check my Twitter only once a day at night in bed. I can get over a hundred notifications, and it can take me up to an hour going through them. I’m aiming to fall asleep by 00:30 every night, which may sound late to many of you, but I do need a realistic starting point! The primary aim is consistency, before making more ‘ambitious’ changes.
To be human is to possess certain fears, and my biggest one is extreme pain. Whilst I’d like to chisel away at these fears, I don’t want to say that I’m ‘getting out of my comfort zone’, because I like that comfort. As someone who’s chronically ill, life can feel like hell overnight, so it’s especially precious to have some comfort to fall back on. I’d like to keep it as base of sorts – like those catching games we played as kids with bases you could go to, either to recuperate or to avoid danger.
I would like to build up both my physical and mental stamina, so that I can venture out from my comfort zone bit by bit, further and further. I will need to make conscious decisions and put in effort in both of these areas, in order to achieve this. Self-awareness and willpower are tools that I will have to retrieve from the toolbox and sharpen. They’re in there, but just a little blunt from lack of use.
I will need to force myself to make those life-changing decisions, and bear the consequences, whatever they may be. I need to break out of this mental block, but I don’t wish for these fears to break me further either. I will need lots of patience and judgment calls in order to maintain that precarious balance.
As mentioned above, I need to strengthen my mental and physical stamina once again. I took a big hit the year I had Tuberculosis, which triggered major flares one after the other, and messed my brain up pretty badly. I haven’t held a proper job since then either, so my self-esteem needs some working on as well. I have also come to realise that a lot of my self-esteem is tied to productivity and work, so that’s something I need to unlearn. My brain needs to undergo retraining, to adopt more healthy and useful mindsets.
Despite everything that I’d like to work on this new year, I also need a few ‘rest days’ where I’m allowed to break my own rules. It can be discouraging when you keep spiralling downwards and away from your goals due to circumstances out of your control, or even within.
Pockets of time to regroup and self compassion are necessary for moving forward, even if they may be ironic. For example, staying out late to party as opposed to sticking to that new sleep routine. But I think it’s good to mix things up every now and then, as life isn’t cut up all nice and square anyway.
I will fall – and many times at that – over the year, but I need to remember to allow myself some grace, especially on the days when depression grips me, and convinces me that I have failed and am a failure. I will need the discipline to just lay low, and see it though one more time, all while allowing myself full access to hope, kindness and love.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to read your responses for January’s prompts too! Click here to submit your own entry, and to read about what others are up to as well!
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