The spring brings with it new beginnings. It is the calm after the storm. The madness of Christmas has died down and there is a slight serenity in the way we return to our everyday routines. A slight depression in the reoccurrence of normal life. But nevertheless, a fresh start. Nothing really changes in the space of twenty four hours between the end of one year and the beginning of another. Yet time changes us all. This year, I intended to change myself a little.
Instead of the usual New Year’s resolutions such as ‘I’m going to lose weight’ or ‘I’m going to put more effort into my work’, I made only two this year that I think I might just stick to. One was to appreciate every moment of the year ahead and the other was to not be happy all the time. Sound strange? I’ll explain.
Last year was a very difficult one for me and my family. We lost my father in the middle of the summer when the sun still cast its beautiful rays over us and we battled our way through the darkness of the winter months without him, always keeping in mind that he was still looking after us from a faraway place. Emerging into the spring with its fresh colours and fragrant blooms, the grey clouds that had crowded the skies finally began to clear.
I’m lucky to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends. I usually have a smile on my face because I have many reasons to be happy. But I sometimes forget that I’m allowed to grieve. The comfort of ‘he’d want you to be happy’ doesn’t always compare to the overwhelming absence of a loving father. So I will allow myself moments to miss him this year. I will not be happy all the time because I simply cannot be happy all the time.
On the other hand, there is a lot to be grateful for. This is where my first resolution comes in. ‘I will appreciate every moment of the year ahead.’ Whether I am crying or laughing, I am living. That is something to appreciate in itself.
I’ve created a list of the beautiful places I want to see in the world but while I’m saving money to get myself there, I’ve started to take in the beauty of things around me every day. In Richard Curtis’ 2013 film ‘About Time’, the main character Tim has the ability to travel through time. Following his father’s advice, he lives a day as he normally would; rushing around and stressing. Then, using his time travelling skills, he relives the same day but instead of noticing every day worries, he sees the bigger picture. I took on the challenge of living every day like Tim’s second day.
Through the absence of an iPod (which is admittedly broken) I have noticed the birds singing on my way home. I usually take lots of photos to capture memories but sometimes, just a couple of photos are enough. You need time to actually live the memory that you are capturing! If I need to cry, I will wallow in my grief for a while before taking a deep breath and carrying on. Going out in the rain is fine because I have somewhere warm to come back to. Going to the beach in the rain is an experience I would recommend to anyone! I intend to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews before they become teenagers and prefer to be with their friends instead. Of course, the occasional viewing of trash TV may occur (it’s too addictive!) but I will also broaden the range of books I read. And not just because it is required reading for university. I will eat good food and won’t deny myself that chocolate bar or that cake. I will travel on a budget. I will appreciate life in its entirety.
The difficulty of making resolutions is keeping them. Sticking to these two abstract goals isn’t hard. Whenever I’m in a stressful situation, I compare it with the grand scheme of things. We are, after all, a tiny speck in the universe. So when that deadline is putting pressure on you, keep that thought with you. It’ll either calm you down or completely terrify you. Either way, it’s taken your mind off the deadline.
This article will be published in Living Magazines Cardiff’s Spring 2014 issue.