New Year Same Old Me | Emma Malcolmson
January 2021. How did that one happen? A full year passed, just like that. A full year older, yet none the wiser. A full year getting to know myself just that little bit more. A full year of loving and longing to be with those that I couldn’t. A full year. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525600 minutes.
And with the full rotation around the sun complete, we annually insist that we shall better ourselves by saving more money, drinking a little bit less, exercising more or even deciding to run a marathon. I did that once: sign up for a marathon. And to absolutely no surprise I, of course, did not run a marathon. In fact, I quit upon reasons of an injury when I was at a beach club in Marbella the day, I was supposed to run 26 miles. The seasons change but people don’t.
And again, with the new year looming, I had set myself the usual resolution to lose the 10lbs of weight I put on threeyears ago. Maybe it’s time to accept who we are, rather than constantly fretting about an idealised version of ourselves that, frankly, doesn’t and never will exist.
I’m not going to lie and say that I have cut the cord on this usual resolution: I’m not that perfect. But what I vow to do, at the very least, is make an attempt to stop thinking so much about the way I look and focus on how I feel. That might just be as equally as dim but every single year I feel as though I get closer and closer to becoming my ‘true’ self. (I’m not selling this very well, am I?) What I mean to say is, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to live by my own rules and it’s not that I’ve stopped caring for others: it’s just that I frankly couldn’t give less of a shit what anyone thinks of me. I’m not going to march to the beat of everyone else’s drums. Where’s the fun in that? When I’m on my death bed (aged at least 101 because I’m wholly convinced that I am almost invincible), I’m not going to be glad I lived my life accepting everything I was told. As Chuck Palahniuk said in Invisible Monsters, “All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring”. Death is a guarantee no matter how invincible you think you are, so might as well spend your life keeping God on her toes.
I recently got asked by a lecturer at university what my plans for the future were. After listening to the majority of my classmates give fairly detailed plans of their next steps, I was contemplating ‘losing connection’. But instead, I was honest: “My next plan is to make up for lost time and have a bit of fun”. Funnily enough, the lecturer didn’t have much to say for my response. I’ve finally accepted that life isn’t a race. I’m not going to get where I want to be just because I want it. I know I need to work for it and its perfectly okay to take my time.
It's hard enough trying to navigate the troubles that come with being a twenty-something just trying to tick over each day – never mind deciding where I see myself in five years’ (although, I can see myself as 100 years old, for sure). Five years ago, I thought I would be a fully blown bonified adult by the age of 23, yet here I am still living in at home in my childhood bedroom in the midst of a global pandemic. A good friend offered me an interesting analogy of life right now. She said, “Life’s a party: a shite one at the moment with cold sausage rolls”. But what if I prefer cold sausage rolls: the really cheap ones that are heaped onto paper plates? It’s a glass half full scenario, isn’t it? Life, that is. You can either search for the bad or ignore it for the good.
Of course, I want to achieve great things. I desperately want to achieve all of my hopes and dreams, but I don’t think I should determine my happiness or progress in life on them. I don’t think I’m going to be someone who would only be happy in life based off a career, a marriage and 2.5 children. For these reasons, I’m not resolving anything I might deem as a flaw this year. This year I’m going to do nothing except for what makes me happy. I’m going to continue to live life to the fullest and for myself, no one else. Perfectly selfishly and selfless all the same. I despise the negative connotations that follow being selfish. There is absolutely nothing right about living your life to please other people. You are the centre of your own universe, the narrator of your own novel and no good novel ever ended with, “And everyone except the main character lived happily ever after”.
I’m not quite there yet but I’m closer than I was yesterday. And anyway, as my good friend Natasha Bedingfield says, the rest is still unwritten…