First of all, Happy New Year!
Usually we are bombarded with ‘new year, new me’ messaging around this time but 2020 appears to have broken us and the majority are on the ‘anti resolution’ kick for 2021.
I always like to write down some goals and plans for the year ahead (even in the madness of a pandemic) but it occurred to me that the over-arching theme is always, ‘be happier’. I am regularly referred to as a ‘positive person’ and I can’t disagree with that, but I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about what that really means from the other side.
I am a positive person, I am.. but the misconception is that someone like me jumps out of bed with a spring in her step, excited about life and that’s just not true. I realise that there are people who cannot ‘choose happy’ and so please take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt but for me it is a choice.
I think for a lot of people it is. This past year, if I’d had no children to get to school I could very happily have stayed in my pyjamas 24/7 and in bed every hour I wasn’t at my desk. I have two modes, mega productive maniac and sloth – one of those is better for my mental health than the other and a mix of the two makes me the person I am.
2020 slowed us all down and so my sloth side tipped the scales a little in her favour and I was feeling low. I was rolling out of bed to work or to the sofa, doing the bare minimum with the kids home schooling, not leaving the house (daily walks? no thank you!), ordering too many takeaways, drinking too often in the evenings and crying a lot in the bath.
I am a positive, happy person but I am not immune to being sucked down in the ‘what is the fucking point?’ hole.
I knew I had to make a change but everything felt out of my control. What ultimately turned things around wasn’t any one thing, it was a hundred micro decisions that tipped more to to positive than negative that pushed me back up.
I started getting up earlier than I needed to. I have never been a morning person and that 5am wakeup thing is torturous bullshit but I set my alarm for 7am each day (I’d usually get up between 8-9) and I started to believe those shiny, happy mentor people were on to something. I had my coffee in peace, the kitchen to myself (there are 6 people who live here – that in itself was a miracle) and I felt calmer and less rushed. I literally added hours to my day. In fact, I’ve allowed myself to lie in again over christmas and I’m half excited to get back to my regular morning routine cause I just don’t feel great sleeping away my morning anymore.
In hindsight, I think the reason it had such an impact on me is that it was something I could control. Alongside the pandemic we were also trying to sell our house —-
- side note – if you aren’t familiar with our living situation, we bought a house with my parents 4 years ago with a view to selling up and going our own separate ways at the end of 5. A few things fell in to place so that we could do that earlier (and I think lockdown made us all crave our own space that bit more) but it was a tricky situation so we have decided to buy out my parents and they are moving any week now
—- and I was forced to learn a new job at work so truly, my head felt like it was going to pop off.
Here’s the thing nobody tells you about us ‘glass half fullers’ – it’s not that we don’t feel stress or that we are super chill, it’s that we can shut it away in place in our mind so that we don’t have to think about it.
Sometimes I can just let something go because it’s not important and it doesn’t deserve space in that room but sometimes it festers and one day the door with open and you have to deal with all of the things you put in there,
I have people in my life who deal with things very differently. Some need to vent and get everything off their chests, then they feel better but I feel worse because I’ve taken all of their problems and put them in my already full storage room. Some people want to logically talk their problems through with you as a sounding board.. that doesn’t impact me but it’s interesting to see it action because I am a private lamenter and don’t like to rehash things until I’ve made peace with them.
My point it that you may think that I (and other people in your life) have it sussed but in truth, we’re all just trying to find our own way through. I’m a rose-tinted ignorance is bliss kind of person because worry keeps me awake at night. Worrying may well be your coping mechanism, it might be the thing that gives you the most comfort! So, if you see a meme (probably shared by me) about staying positive and not sweating the small stuff.. don’t feel like your failing if it doesn’t speak to you. Positive people are just people who have chosen to see the good because the bad is too hard.