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New Year: A Think Piece

The New Year has a funny way of creeping up on us. One second I’m sipping Sangria in Spain, the next, mulled wine in the Christmas markets. During the period of limbo that is the week post-Christmas and pre-New Year, the prospect of being able to start afresh is tantalising; even more so because it gives you a further excuse to pig out on the last of the mince pies and to not do anything more productive than sit and watch festive reruns on the TV in your last days of being ‘the old you’.  


Personally, I have never really understood the hype of New Years- for me, it symbolises change and uncertainty, and why would anyone want to celebrate that? But with the dawn of the new decade approaching, I thought that 2020 was a good time to try and view the occasion more positively. 2019 had been a big year of growth for me, and taking the opportunity to look back and be grateful for this, instead of simply worrying about what challenges 2020 would bring, was a good place to start. No year is ever perfect, but in focussing on the highs, and thinking about how you can learn from the lows, you can’t help but feel a bit more positive.  


If you still don’t feel as though you have a lot to be grateful for, I guarantee you are missing the little things in your life which make it infinitely more comfortable. Ok, so maybe you missed out on that 1st class mark, maybe you experienced a break-up or maybe the girls holiday you spent ages saving up for didn’t go quite to plan. But you still have a roof over your head, food on the table, and people who love you. Volunteering at a homelessness shelter has shown me that there are more people than you think that would do anything for these three things. This is not to make you feel guilty for possessing them, but rather to make you realise that these small, everyday things which you take for granted are perhaps the things in life which you should be the most grateful for. Around New Years, the festive feeling starts to fade, and the novelty of having all of the family to stay rapidly wears off. This means that New Year is the best time to remember how lucky you are to have these people in the first place (remembering this and truly feeling it are different concepts though, and I personally struggle a lot more with the latter than the former!). 


Making resolutions is also a concept which I am quickly becoming tired of. Sure, I make them every year, but have often forgotten them by February. The largest impact of this tradition that affects me personally is that the gym becomes infinitely busier for a few weeks. Whilst I admire Mr and Mrs Smith for trying to exercise more, I’m not so happy when it means waiting another 20 minutes for a cross trainer to be available when the week before I had all four of them to myself. Saying this, I have still made some resolutions… my trick this year is to make them so general that I will be able to satisfy them easily, for example, I have pledged to ‘be less distracted’. This could be applied to a work or personal situation, and as long as there’s one point throughout the year where I actively focus more on the task at hand, I can happily say I have fulfilled my resolution! This is against the point of resolutions, I know, but you know what? At 12:01am on the 1st January 2020, I was exactly the same person that I was at 11:59pm on the 31st December 2019. The personal growth I alluded to earlier meant that I started 2020 being a lot more comfortable being me than at the start of 2019. So why would I want to be a ‘new me’? New Year, same old beautifully imperfect me. Happy New Year, everyone.  

A third-year Law student at the University of Bristol, I am a lover of dogs, going to the gym and baking. I am always happiest when drinking a good cup of tea!
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