It’s the last day of 2017 and on the cusp of a mysterious new year, I thought it would be good to share some tips on how to have nicer times. You. Are. Welcome.
Life Advice On The Last Day Of The Year
1. A box set can help with most things
If you’re having a hard time, I am here to tell you that a box set of something watchable can be a truly excellent salve. It’s not the characters that can help you limp along a little further in life, but more the time ticking over and the resting quietly with your new TV friends that helps, I find.
2. Avoid tornadoes
This year, more than ever, social media served up a sort of success tornado that swirled intimidatingly before our eyes every time we opened Instagram or Facebook. It’s okay though, because while some are whooshing about in its whirling momentum, or caught in the eye of it all, many more are just furrowing their brows, battening down the hatches and simply getting on with things. Don’t worry too much about all the hoo-ha. Just do you and press on. And watch out for people being flung out of that fickle tornado at high speed, as you press. Those people might need a hug and a strong cup of tea.
3. Give yourself things
So much of this gosh-darned living your best life malarkey is about denying yourself cheering or nourishing things. Prescriptive denial might just be another way of harming ourselves, so be sure to check in on your “discipline habit” and possibly chuck it in the bin, for your own good sake. Also, let’s face it, guilty pleasures are a naff idea. Just embrace your pleasures and don’t feel bad because you are allowed to have nice times/fun-to-you things. Yup. (Of course, don’t go overboard with your self-generosity, because that’s a whole other pain in the neck.)
4. Ease up
Life is short. But also, life is often quite long (if we are lucky) so ease up there. For many of us, we have quite a bit of time to achieve the things or experiences or feelings we want. Take a breath and note that urgency over making things happen might be making you really, really anxious and working against the very things you want. Trust yourself to get to where you are meant to be going and let the sunshine and fresh air and birds and things dot your not-too-speedy-now path. Also note that there are many phases in life and not doing something NOW doesn’t mean you’ll not do it EVER. Give yourself time. Go on. Do that.
5. Focus outward, a lot of the time
While it is good to self assess, self love and self actualise, indeed all the self things, it’s also really great to turn that focus outward and do good stuff with and for other people. It’s sort of getting a bit lost, the being part of something bigger idea, due to devil internet and dreaded selfie-culture/personal branding etc. Being part of something less ME and more US is often very bolstering and usually very grounding and definitely very important in this community-building/village-growing caper.
6. Don’t be scared of feelings
I have noticed that people often want to save other people from big feelings and I am here to tell you that feelings – all kinds of feelings – are a very important part of our human fabric and many feelings are underrated. We need to have the good ones and the bad ones and it’s excellent to feel them all, even if it feels really hard some of the time. If you see someone having feelings, let them do that. If you want to support them, sit by them or hold their hand or send them a message saying “thanks for sharing your feeling”. Let people be the people they are and they will sort out their feelings/selves in a much more fruitful way. At least, that’s what I truly think.
Every day, write your thoughts down in a rambly-scrambly-for-nobody-else’s-eyes-way. No need to perfectly journal this stuff, instead dump all the bits in your head own on paper or in the NOTES app on your phone. Get. It. Out. I tend to do this multiple times a day, as things crop up and it’s really the most helpful thing ever and I think everyone should be doing it, in a quest to unravel themselves and forge on with more clarity.
8. Make things
Hah. I KNOW. Of course I am going to say this, but that is because it is fricking true. Making things is what makes many of us tick, proving that with our own two hands, we can magic up something that was not there before – and maybe share it around, or maybe just enjoy it ourselves. The things could be a) a nice dinner b) an excellent sandwich c) a fancy drink d) a blanket e) a brilliant holiday itinerary f) a poem g) a bird house h) a comfy bed i) a loaf of bread j) a cake k) a song l) a new dress m) a children’s book n) a human o) a jar of jam or two p) a casserole q) a scarf r) a novel s) some curry paste t) some socks u) a letterbox v) a vegetable garden w) a blog x) a tray of roast potatoes y) a painting and/or z) ginger beer.
9. Know that we don’t know
It’s so easy to THINK we know what other people are going through, but very often we don’t. It’s quite good to note that the idea that we don’t know what battles others are fighting is really, truly true. Not everything is about us, not every response is a dig, not every comment is ill-intentioned and not every perceived stoush needs our attention.
10. Screw up, forge on
Don’t you hate it when people say that the tricky bits in life are what make us? Yet it is true that adversity builds character, so know that every time you bugger something up, you’re carving a notch into that ledger that’s marked ‘Slightly Less Bumbling Person’. Oh hurrah.
Okay. It’s not a definitive list of all-encompassing life advice, but it’s hopefully a helpful one and might help you to forget about resolutions and just get on with living and being and laughing and crying and messing up and making up. Fingers crossed.
May your 2018 have lots of excellent bits in it, peaches! And may your dog not lick your toes in a way that feels gross all day, like mine just did.
Top – new Christmas decorations bought in the post-christmas sales
Bottom – a blanket I’m making for my nephew. Nearly finished!