At this time of year my social media feeds are full of others sharing their new jobs, book deals or that they won an amazing award and while I’m happy and proud of my friends it can leave me feeling a bit flat.
One of my worst traits is that I constantly compare myself to others, i see their success as my failure- why haven’t I written for this publication, how did they get a book deal and I didn’t? How can they be 5 years younger than me and so much more grown up?
I think a big problem with end of year achievements is what we see as achievement ourselves. Yes recognition for our hard work is good but there’s so much more in life that you can achieve. What about discovering new things about yourself? Finding new things you love and making new memories.
Sure creating your new favourite dish wont win you a michelin star, but getting to make a meal for someone you love brings its own rewards.
Last week I shared a tweet about how other people’s end of year highlights were making the tweeter feel like they’d achieved nothing, I empathised and thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until a few hours later that my boyfriend told me that seeing me share this on his feed upset him that I stopped and thought about it.
Where I saw the year as a bust because I’d written less, failed some exams and was generally in the brain toilet with my mental health, he’d seen our year together as successful because we’d moved in together, made what was his flat our home and added to our family with an amazing puppy who had changed our lives in every way.
With this new perspective I began to realise just how much I had achieved last year. Whilst it was true that I did fail 2 exams, the fact still remains that I had the courage to return to education and despite my anxiety travelled to two unfamiliar cities alone to sit them.
Whilst I may not have had my dream holiday and have travelled the world I still managed to spend 5 days in Tenerife despite having an illness that is triggered by heat. Although I didn’t win all the awards and land my dream job I did write from the heart pieces that helped others. Instead of pushing myself to look perfect and reach a certain standard I discovered a joy in gentle exercise which gave me a love for my broken body in the process.
And there’s no denying that I was firmly in the brain toilet for a time but I pulled myself back out and kept going, more than that I admitted to myself that I was struggling and went back on antidepressants.
When standing separately these are all small things but together thy add up to one big year. I hope that when the time come for next new years reflection I can see the good in the year before the bad.