The last few years have been nothing short of mayhem. With Coronavirus and political unrest in all corners of the world, if we have learned anything, it’s that chaos is inevitable, and we have very little control over our surroundings.
As pessimistic as this may be, coming to terms with this opens us to the somewhat challenging notion of putting ourselves first. Activism and championing social causes aside, the one thing we can and have always been able to control is what we put into society and the person we want to be. With this in mind, there has never been a better time to seize the day, smash through glass ceilings, defy all odds and excel in being yourself.
This year, like every year, I made no New Year’s resolutions. Not only do I find the idea of “new year, new you” toxic, but time is precious, and New Year’s resolutions are certainly a waste of that time. Instead, I made a list of 22 things I want to do in 2022. The number really is irrelevant, but I’m a sucker for whatever the numerical equivalent of a pun is – symmetry, maybe?
The reason behind this was that, like everyone else on the planet, I found 2021 to be a really confusing and jarring time. It wasn’t quite as bad as 2020, but something about it just felt empty and overwhelming all at the same time.
Late last year, I found myself having way too much time to wallow and complain about all the things wrong in life. As much as I am a big believer in taking time to process your feelings, it got to the point of being counterproductive instead of providing the catharsis it’s supposed to.
With that, I decided it was time for a change. Not a new haircut, not shedding of body weight or quitting smoking or drinking, but to kick my life into high gear and go after all the things I want for myself.
The list I made has a mix of big and small goals that I am choosing to put above everything else to channel them into fruition. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Usually, at the start of a new year, we are bombarded with diet culture, new trends and fads and general propaganda designed to make us all feel like shit.
However, maybe because of the people I follow or maybe because people have finally woken up to how damaging it is, I’ve seen less of that and more about championing self-care, self-love and finding ways to make yourself happy. Someone did put a Slimming World flyer through my letterbox on new years day, no less, but aside from that, it really has been at a minimum.
People used to run away from the idea of being selfish. Although selfishness in certain contexts is a bad trait to have, it’s an absolute must when it comes to putting yourself first for the sake of your mental health, sanity, or general well-being.
Whether it’s the constant deluge of bad news, toxic relationships, friendships, bad TV or a worse reality, holding out on yourself only makes dealing with all the above worse. Life should be more like the rules of flying, attach your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else. Without you being the person you’re supposed to be, without feeling 100%, you’re no good to anyone, and more importantly, you’re no good to yourself.
As cliché as it is, life is short – too short not to be who you are, too short not to go after what you want and too short to care what other people think about you. The tragedies of life have always taught us that it can end suddenly, but nine times out of ten, we ignore the warning. The pandemic made it almost impossible to ignore, so read the signs and stop putting off the person you deserve to be for yourself.
I know it’s easier said than done, and I know every day feels like things will only ever keep getting worse. I’m not going to lie, they very well might, but if you’re in a position to prioritise yourself, then you owe it to you to do so. Being ourselves is the one thing we can all truly succeed in, and there isn’t anything worth depriving yourself of that.