Bonne année !
It’s a funny one, this year, isn’t it? Just about this time last year, the world couldn’t wait to see the back of 2020, certain that its successor could only be better, sure that we were finally getting shot of C Who Must Not Be Named. We all hugged and hurrayed with a degree of relief when midnight struck on New Year’s Eve, and our resolutions were filled with postponed travel plans and adventurous intentions.
This time around, we know better.
Or at least, we know that we don’t know. After almost two years of yoyo restrictions and repeatedly raising our hopes only for them to be summarily squashed, most of us have finally resigned ourselves to the realisation that it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings. And she’s sitting quietly in the corner just now.
So, if we’re not charging into 2022 with elaborate schemes, and dreams of Living Our Best Lives and Making Up For Lost Time, how do we approach this particular new year?
If you ask me (and you’re reading my personal blog, so you pretty much did), I think cautious optimism is a good approach to take. Of course we can still make plans for things to look forward to — just as long as we do so tentatively, prepared for the possibility that they might not come to fruition. And, since we’d be wise to keep a question mark over any grander projects, above all, perhaps we should concentrate on the things that we can control, whatever happens beyond our front doors.
January is generally characterised by a flurry of good intentions — clean eating, no drinking (…alcohol), exercise regimes back on track. But there are also so many other, small ways in which we can invest in our own lives, and maybe this is the perfect year to make that our focus. I know a lot of people who want to find their way back to reading, for example, having lost their attention span for the written word to the elusive pull of instant entertainment available permanently from our pockets. Turns out reading is actually a habit that has to be actively maintained (who knew?), no matter how much of a book-lover you’ve always been. So, if you’re one of those people, this would be a great time to make a concerted effort to regain that habit.
Or maybe make this the year you pick back up the hobby you haven’t made time for in longer-than-you-care-to-remember, or develop the skill you’ve always been interested in acquiring. With so many classes and tutorials — both free and paid — available online these days, you might be surprised to discover what you can learn from within your own four walls. Languages, art, music, coding, cooking, yoga, photography, even dance… The list goes on. Cliché though it sounds, the possibilities genuinely are all but endless.
I deeply believe that cultivating a new skill or interest is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. The world is absolutely teeming with potential experiences waiting to be had, and although an awful lot of those require getting out and going further afield, there are also SO many ways in which we can enrich our lives without going anywhere at all.
So do yourself a favour in 2022, and try your hand at something new, try your hand at lots of somethings new — just find joy wherever you can, and make that this year’s adventure.