I am both afraid and excited by a new year. The idea of a new page, a new turning in the book. It just all seems so cliche doesn’t it? And what happens if you don’t feel like turning a new page but you have to? Well, there isn’t much you can do. I’ve not always been one for grand new changes on a new year, but I do think there’s something in the idea of another chance. Sure, it’s not another chance at things that have already passed, but with every twenty-four hour passing and every new day we wake up to there is always more chances. Chances to find a job if you’re currently out of work. Chances to strike up a new friendship. Chances to start a new hobby. Chances to travel. Chances to pay that debt. There’s nothing better than being able to tick off something you’ve had on a to do list for a while, whether that to do list is ten years old or ten days old – progress is progress.
I made so much progress last year, I really did. Not only with my personal life, I mean, I literally got married. Do you even get much more of a change than that? I also learned how to say no, how to enjoy staying in and how to not feel left out of the party. I made great progress on not comparing my journey with others, and I also made a great start on not feeling sad because I didn’t have a life that others had. There’s ways to go, i’m not gonna say i’m perfect as who is!? (no-one, by the way. not even that model you follow on Instagram.) but I feel a lot happier in myself. You know it sounds silly probably and a bit narcissistic but when you feel so low about how you look yet have to look at your reflection all day for your job (how fucked up is that actually though?) you do feel a lot of crippling self doubt. Getting married and becoming ‘the best version of myself’ for my wedding day was actually a bit of a spiritual journey for me. All of a sudden I decided to – and this isn’t a pre-requisite for any bride, by the way, you do you – re-evaluate so many parts of myself. I made the decision to change my hair, to get eyelash extensions, to look after my nails better and to take the utmost care, that’s right, even more than normal, of my skin as well as nourishing myself from the inside out and let me tell you… i’ve never felt better. I cut out crap food, crap drinks, crappy people and the crappy laziness I had developed toward myself and my appearance. It felt almost like the weight of the worry lifted overnight, and I began to wake up in the days leading up to the wedding feeling less insecure and less worried about how others saw me. That, in turn, made me feel more confident in the way I looked and I think my happiness shines through. It’s not an easy thing to overcome though, i’ve struggled with crippling self doubt and the hatred of my own appearance pretty much since I was a teen and i’m about to turn thirty. So don’t go beating yourself up. But just know that it can and will happen if you give yourself the chance at a fresh start.
My advice to you if you’re feeling excited for a new year but with no idea where to go, is to start at home. Spring clean your space. I spent three days knee deep in dust and just.. junk honestly, junk, in that Christmas limbo period and I gave away and passed on to charity so much stuff. I feel light. I feel so positive. No longer surrounded by junk and clutter. I think things can improve your mental well being and enrich your life but ‘stuff’ doesn’t always make you happy. At least it wasn’t making me happy. Clearing it out made me feel like I really was turning a fresh page.
My advice to those who just went through a significant life change like me – with a huge wedding to plan, create and live through – now with seemingly ‘nothing’ on the horizon is to re-evaluate that time you had. It taught me just how much spare time I had once it was all over, and I now feel like I left a part time job. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I was feeling a bit lost without the wedding to plan, but now i’m looking at new ways to fill my seemingly ‘free’ time. Time I always had, just never knew how to utilize. I plan on seeing more friends, more of my city, eating new things, trying new things and pushing myself to work harder. Take up a new hobby, or read more. You’ll find something will keep you occupied and it’s great to have that as a little booster for when you feel you miss the wedding.
My advice to those absolutely ready to turn the page on 2018, to leave it behind and to go get the world… is well… absolutely do it. Look, you can talk it all you like but until you put plans into motion your year wont be any different from your last. If you’re adamant to make change, you have to be the one to do it. To initiate it. There’s no point also trying to flip 360 your life onto it’s head because it won’t work and you’ll get frustrated. Instead, make short term achievable goals that will get you to where you want to be. Want to work on your anxiety? Start with a short therapy session. Scared of calling the therapist? They’ve heard it all before. They’re there to help you. Call. Start easy on yourself and as you go along and realise you always were the change you wanted to be, you’ll grow with your goal and it’ll become achievable. I tell you this because both George and I did the same in 2018. We wanted to be better versions of ourselves and that came in so many forms. We didn’t dive in head first guns blazing, but rather took the time to slowly burn away at what we wanted to be ours and eventually – we got there.
I think probably the most important thing to note is that we can’t be out there living our own lives if we’re too busy watching others. We can’t be out there happy with our own lives if we’re too busy not focussing on ourselves, and we absolutely can’t achieve what we want to if we lay back and do nothing. Go easy on yourself, but challenge yourself in new ways. If you never go out, try meeting a friend for coffee. If you go out too much, try laying off the excessive boozing for a month, and try new things. Get out of the rut. Be the new chance you see in every day, because we’re only here once. I don’t know how old you are, but i’m nearly 30. I’ve been writing this blog for nine years. Let me tell you, the world doesn’t slow down for anyone, and if i’ve really learned anything from growing up, it’s that happiness in whatever big or small form it is for you – must always come first. 2019, go get ’em.
Words: Zoe London
Photography: Charlotte Hole
Wearing: Trousers, Boohoo. Top, Boohoo. Shoes, Koi. Belt, ASOS.
Location: A laundrette I can’t name as we weren’t meant to take photos inside, London, UK.