Plans for 2016

Image from https://unsplash.com/

Image from https://unsplash.com/

I am going to enter 2016 with the idea that I have everything I need to be happy – relationships, possessions, job, health – and my resolution will be to enjoy them rather than to improve or acquire.

My word for 2016 will be peace. I’m going to focus on staying still. This seems counter intuitive to me too – how can there be growth without movement? But since wondering what happens at the end of the list, I’ve started to think that this is something I really need to explore.

I’ve always been good at striving towards something, but not very good at enjoying it when I get there. 2016 is going to be a “let’s enjoy what I’ve got here” kind of year.

I will still obviously do things. But I’ll do things for the sake of doing them, for fun, rather than for self-improvement or to get me somewhere I think I will enjoy more. I’ve never approached life like this before. I’m pretty excited about trying it.

Basically, it’s going to be the year of being myself, and of being AWESOME.

On a slightly deeper note, one of the conclusions from the coaching I went through this year was that I feel very stuck in the identity I’ve constructed for myself, and beneath the surface I’m not 100% sure who I am or what I enjoy. This is fucking scary. (So scary that the swearing is definitely necessary).

So I also hope that staying still and practicing being mindful in my life (rather than always rushing to the next thing), will help with this. I mean, I can’t be so repressed that an entire year of giving space to be myself will continue to leave me drawing a blank.

I’m gonna use this blog as a place to journal the observations and revelations I have. That’s because I find public accountability really helps me to stick with something. It also helps to form my thoughts into coherent posts rather than jumbled thoughts in a private notebook. Being forced to explain my ideas to somebody else means that I work through all the issues.

Yup, this blog has just become a replacement for therapy.

It’s about to get personal.

I realise I’m pretty good at using this blog/journal to describe where I want to be and my thoughts around getting there, but not to talk about my actual life. So here’s what it looks like. This is what I’ll be enjoying in 2016.

I am 27 years old. I live in Oxford, which I like because I’m a sucker for old buildings but don’t like because it’s an expensive city to live in. The expense means that my husband and I aren’t able to buy somewhere to live, or rent anywhere for just the two of us. Although I’ve been seeing this as us “putting our lives on hold” and “being victims of the housing crisis”, that doesn’t really help anything – it just makes me feel trapped and disempowered. There are positives to communal living.

There are six of us living in our house. I get on with my housemates, and it’s nice that there are different faces to chat to when I get home. The house itself is old and damp and drafty, but also beautiful in a bohemian way. I’ve recently gotten into working on the garden – I find making it look better makes me feel some pride in my living situation, and being active and outside does wonders for my emotional health. Gardening is definitely something to do more of in 2016.

Guy and I have been married since August. As I talk about in more detail on Introspectology, we eloped and are planning to have a wedding next August, on our 1 year anniversary. I’m very excited about getting all our friends and family together. There will be quite a lot to do before then: invitations, outfit shopping, food tasting, cake buying, band searching… so it should keep me busy.

My friends are largely based outside of Oxford and, due to a combination of low energy levels and social anxiety, I don’t see as much of them as I should. I’m going to start being more proactive in my existing relationships – family and friends – reaching out and organising get-togethers.

I’m happy with my job, Media and Communications Worker for My Life My Choice, so the trick will be to focus my energies at getting better at it rather than focusing on what the next once might be. It (and the wider self advocacy movement) really fits with my idea that empowering individuals is the way to change the world. At times it’s pretty depressing (especially with this Government in power) but there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to disability campaigning.

One on the things that people tend to associate me with is craft. I’ve been a crafter for so long it led to a bit of a crisis a few months ago when I thought “Is this something I actually want to do?” Was it my choice, or was it something I was pushed into by children’s activity kits, and then fifteen years of being given knitting needles, crochet hooks, a sewing machine, and other people’s leftover yarn and fabric.

It’s tempting to believe that this is an identity pressed onto me by other people but a) children never really do anything they don’t want to do for very long and b) I also played the piano as a child but despite my best attempts cannot bring myself to learn to play again. The fact that crafting is something I just do all the time, pretty much means it’s something that is important to me.

So I’m sticking with the arty stuff in 2016! But I’m hoping to be a bit more ambitious. After thinking for years that I wasn’t the kind of knitter who could stick to patterns – I actually tried one a few weeks ago and it wasn’t very difficult to do. I’m so excited to try making a sweater.

I ran a half marathon in 2014, and discovered lifting in 2015. I’m really enjoying occupying my body right now and feeling fit and strong. My goal is to have enough core strength to try pole exercise but that’s a long way away since I can barely hold a plank right now.

I feel like I am finally at a place where I am happy (or at least not as insecure) with how I look. I have a hair cut I like, which I’m going to try and stick with in 2016. I’m also going to keep it it’s natural colour. I used to spend a lot of mental energy making plans for my hair, so making this decision in advance should free up some brain space for more important things.

Same with clothes really. I have enough and I have a style: let’s just stick with it for a bit and see what happens.

I only have plans for one tattoo in 2016. A jigsaw piece mostly to commemorate my grandpa, but I also like that it ties in with my theme for the year (piece/peace). It’ll be good to look down at in and remember to breathe.

Travel- wise, I’ve become a bit obsessed with the idea of a San Francisco to Portland roadtrip (spending time in both cities) but I’m not sure that will happen in 2016 or not. Flights to the US are expensive, and I want to be able to do the trip justice.

My ideas about travel have changed a lot in the last few years. For me, it’s no longer about crossing places of a “to visit” list but about the process of changing the environment around me and what that does for my creativity. It’s also about taking the time to really get to know a place by visiting again and again.

Our future plans are not set in stone. We plan to move from Oxford within the next few years, but are not sure when. At the start of a year that’s geared towards staying still, I won’t be thinking about this unless it becomes likely to happen sooner than we anticipated.

So that’s how I’m feeling about the upcoming year. How about everybody else?

2 thoughts on “Plans for 2016

  1. helen

    i’ve not read your whole post yet, just the first few lines – as this popped into my inbox, I am half way through writing a blog post about how my word for 2016 is going to be peace!

    Reply

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