Usually when I’m at the point of the year where I’m looking back on what I’ve achieved, it’s prime time for me to beat myself up for not doing more.
Even last year, when I finally did The Big Thing and moved to London, I spent December berating myself for taking so long to do it. I didn’t move until July, and I’d had a shit time at work before that, so I told myself I’d wasted the first half of a perfectly good year. (Which of course is very not true because if I had left earlier, this very good thing wouldn’t have happened).
But this kind of self-negging is such a normal thing for me that when I told people last year my New Year’s Resolution was going to be “stop beating myself up”, they all nodded and said “that makes sense for you.” – not quite the “what are you talking about Laura, you’re totally chill all the time,” that I was expecting.
Like I’m the only one who didn’t realise I’m consistently too hard on myself.
So looking back on the year is not really a good idea for me, because looking back is just an opportunity to question every decision I’ve ever made. And this year has been challenging. Not my most challenging year, but being so far away from home made it felt pretty damn close. It’s not even that I’m homesick, it’s just if you fail and your parents live 15 minutes away, it’s not really as big a deal as if you fail and your parents live 16,000-odd kms away, and you’re broke and can’t afford the flight home. You know?
Both are shit to be totally fair, but there’s just an extra little element there.
So, a few nights ago, when we were lying there naming all the Good Things that happened this year, I was pleasantly surprised at how many there were. Multiple trips to new places, tattoos, relationship milestones, new jobs, promotions, new friends, (semi) consistent blogging and follower growth… it all happened this year. In fact, I’m pretty damn confident that the Good Things outweigh the Bad.
And better yet – I’m not thinking about the Bad Things anyway, so I have no idea!
When I thought about how many trips we’ve been on, it was completely my first instinct to think about how many trips other people have gone on and think about how if I’d tried harder I could have fit in more of them. But I made myself remember that those people’s circumstances are different to mine; I had a different set of hurdles to leap, a different list of obligations and responsibilities.
And I realised; I actually stopped myself from being so hard on myself. I stopped it right away with something that was perfectly logical. Not only is travel not a race, but what works financially and time-wise for one person, does not work for the next. That’s not my fault.
For the first time in my life I looked back on what I’ve done and I wasn’t annoyed at myself because it wasn’t perfect.
So maybe, New Years Resolution achieved?
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