Photo: Madeline Masarik Photography
I was going to do a similar post to last year’s one about life lessons and my big plans for the new year.
Then I thought perhaps I should do a review of 2015, a year containing some of my highest highs, but also the lowest of lows – which all seemed to happen like a chain reaction of events in the latter half.
From my mum falling and breaking her hip then contracting a virus after her operation, to my dad being rushed into hospital a few weeks later with breathing difficulties, through to my boyfriend having a horrible cancer scare and my ongoing (now very boring) health issues. I started to become overly consumed by it all, at the top of a bit of a downward spiral, tbh. Coupled with trying to keep on top of things at work, I was was becoming incredibly overwhelmed and making silly decisions and stupid mistakes. I ended up in hospital myself, with an infected lymph node, last week.
So writing faux-positive posts making shiny new resolutions for the year ahead, or reflecting on the crappy one just gone didn’t feel right.
- Sometimes it isn’t about projecting forward, anticipating things that haven’t happened yet, or obsessing over things that have.
- Sometimes it’s about appreciating the beauty in everyday life and living in the present moment, in the here and now.
- Sometimes we can look forward to the future so much that we actually miss out on life while it’s happening.
While I was driving to TK Maxx today, in the pissing rain, listening to Radio 2 (because that’s who I am now), John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy came on, containing the lyrics:
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
And it’s true, so very true. We can be oh-so busy planning ahead for the Next Big Thing that we fail to notice, a bit like the changing seasons scene in Notting Hill, that life is passing us by at an incredibly scary rate.
With all the health issues my nearest and dearest have been having, I’ve been reminded that none of us can guarantee we’ll still be here tomorrow. The here and now is the only time we have; the only time we can be sure of.
So there’s no point postponing our happiness indefinitely, thinking that life will be better when we get a certain number of followers on social media. And then get that promotion. And go on an exotic holiday. And then buy a house. And make it look Pinterest-worthy. And then get married. And have babies. And retire at fifty. Then life will be better.
The thing is, life keeps on happening, whether we like it or not, and there’ll always be obstacles in the way – you’re in an unfulfilling job, or you hate your body shape, or you haven’t got any money or you lose someone close to you. Life will be better once you’ve sorted out the latest challenge, right?
Recently I’ve realised these challenges are life. Real life. And accepting your circumstances is a pretty powerful thing to do, otherwise you can find yourself fighting a losing battle. Before we can make any real changes, we first have to understand that everything is as it should be. This is the way it’s meant to be right now.
Whatever situation exists in your life right now, accept it, no matter how shitty. Acknowledge it. I’m currently looking round at my shit-tip of a flat, while paying bills via online banking. I’m sat on the sofa by the fire in my PJs watching Eastenders with my boyfriend. This is real life and it’s okay. I have everything I need.
And that’s it. That’s my grand plan for 2016: To live in – and appreciate – the present moment. It’s all we have, after all.
As the actress Jane Seymour once eloquently put it:
You have to count on living every single day in a way you believe will make you feel good about your life – so that if it were over tomorrow, you’d be content with yourself.