Hold the beer...I need to reflect on 2018 before I move on...

For a lot of people New Year brings out the party animal. It’s all about the determination to spend whatever it takes to get into a pub that’s usually free, to queue up for a fireworks display that means hours of waiting in the numbing cold for a 10 minute display, followed by hours to get home again. For me it all comes down to a fevered determination to have a good time, that just seems to look like a lot of effort to numb the senses.

For me, I’d rather engage with the emotions and the feelings, which is why my New Year is a time of quiet reflection, taking stock on what has happened during the year before. The good, the not-so-good and the things I want to draw a line under or carry forward. It usually involves spending an evening with friends, eating, drinking and playing board games (in fact, so engrossing was it at the start of 2017 that we missed the countdown!).

The start of my 2018 was far from ideal. I had hit rock bottom on Christmas Day and felt as though I was drowning in a sea of emotional overwhelm, brought on by my surgery, my hormones and a heap of personal issues that were happening for my extended family. Nothing felt good, or right, and it didn’t feel as though 2018 was going to be any different to 2017. It felt as though I was a passenger, rather than the driver of my own life, and that 2018 was going to be a continuation of all of the stuff I didn’t want from 2017.

And that’s how it can feel when you’re in the depths of emotional turmoil, grief or depression. If you’re there, does this sound familiar to you?

I want to be clear here, and this isn’t to rescue you or make you feel better…just because a year has an indifferent start, doesn’t mean that it continues along the same trajectory for the remainder of the twelve months…

As I reflect back on 2018, it’s had its ups and downs – the ups being me physically recovering from the hysterectomy, leaving my job and going self-employed full time, as well as discovering board games…and so many other things. The downs of dealing with the emotional and mental fall out from a hysterectomy continue, but I’m confident I will be able to deal with these as time progresses and I move towards acceptance of my childless lifestyle.

Are there things I want to draw a line under, or are there things I want to carry forward? Yes, empathically yes, and that will be for me to focus on as 2019 arrives, but the difference being my mental state now means I feel more in control and better able to take responsibility for my emotional reactions to things. But it’s all a learning curve and one I will continue to progress along as I move through 2019. 

So what about you? What are the positives you can take out of 2018? What have you learned and what are you no longer willing to carry with you? Are you now able to take a step towards breaking the cycle that’s holding you back?

Is 2019, the year you decide enough is enough and you’re better than that? I sincerely hope that it is, but remember, only you can say whether this is the time for that and whether you’re ready to take responsibility for it. 

It’s only you that can take responsibility for your life and the emotions that you have about it. It’s only you that can make the decision to start breaking those cycles that hold you back.

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