Essays

New year, new me (etc. etc.)

Picture this. Midnight, 31st December. I’m at the front of the dance-floor in a renovated old newspaper factory (even my raves are somehow linked to journalism… #OnBrand). Some house DJ called MK is playing Piece of Me (the only song I know) and all my friends are losing their shit. The countdown begins, prompting the entire crowd to get their phones out to film the exact same thing for their Snapchat story. The speakers scream ‘ONE’ and the room is filled with pure elation. Confetti pouring from the sky; there’s kissing and hugging, and I’m telling random strangers I wish them the best. And then we all get Tequila shots and make a toast to 2018.

Now picture this – 24 hours later. Midnight, 1st January. I can’t sleep, despite being physically and mentally exhausted, because everything seems bleak. A whole year has just gone by in a blink of an eye. I didn’t take a single driving lesson. I’ve still not got any pictures up on the walls in my new flat – and really, I can’t even call it new anymore because it’s been almost a whole year since we moved in. I’ve done fuck all, my life is one big fat blur. Laurie feels the same – he’s welling up at a documentary about the mating habits of gorillas and whimpering about the pointlessness of life.

I don’t know what it is about the new year that somehow heightens every emotion within the space of one day – I plateau from exaggerated euphoria and hope to feeling desperately confused and depressed, wondering how and when time began to fly so quickly. You could blame it on the hangover (which is pretty bad, damn it), but I know it’s the idea of starting all over again that’s so intimidating. It’s like when you finish reading a book and you’re so proud of getting to the end, but then the thought of picking up another one and having to wait three chapters before it gets good seems so exhausting, so you just don’t bother and put Netflix on instead. Or maybe that’s just me.

It’s stupid, when you think about it, because you’re not starting all over again at all. When the clock strikes midnight, it’s a new day just like any other; except that the Gregorian calendar has come to an end, so needs to begin again. Time differs all over the world, people don’t even celebrate it at the same time. It’s just the clocks rotating and refreshing, and we make it into such a big deal.

Think about  what you did wrong over the past year, make resolutions, change yourself completely. Now’s the time. The year has resurrected itself and so must you.

I hate it because I don’t want to feel bad about myself and think about all the shit I need to change. I do that enough as it is all year round. I don’t want to make resolutions that I’m obviously not going to keep – I’m never going to have a Kim K bum, I won’t be able to maintain a vegan diet, and I could try to save more money but I get an unhealthy buzz from buying new things.

I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person – always have been – and I have a tendency to dwell on the negative (if you hadn’t noticed). 2017 was a shitty year for politics, I argued a lot with Laurie in our early months of moving in, I fell out with a couple of friends, I had more panic attacks than I ever have before and two of my relatives were diagnosed with worrying illnesses. And then I lost my Grandma, which left me scrambling for air. And if I was going to make a resolution – if you really forced me – it would be to be more like her. I want to be that person who radiates so much positive energy and love and light, that everyone else ends up with a glowing tan.

I know I’m never going to be quite that person, and that’s okay. Like I said, unrealistic resolutions are useless and just make you feel worse. But I want to at least try to focus on the GOOD. The last year has been shitty in many ways, but it’s been amazing too and I’ve done a lot of growing up. I’ve achieved things I’ve always dreamed of, and I’ve had so much fun – and I want to do more of that next year. More learning, more growing, more happiness. I don’t want to beat myself up over broken promises, I want to be kind to myself. 2018 is about becoming the best possible version of myself, and doing more of what I love. I’m going to “up my average” – in the words of Stevie and Tessa from The Debrief podcast – doing things that challenge me, but are realistic too. And if I don’t manage them – well, there’s always 2019.

So here I go – time to stop dwelling on the wrong and focus on the right, and all the great things that are yet to come. If ever there’s a time to make a list (or two), it’s now.

MY 2017 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Completing my NCTJ Journalism course with a Gold Standard qualification
  • Getting my first proper job at a women’s magazine – then landing a promotion seven months later
  • Working alongside amazing journalists, many of whom worked on the teen magazines I obsessed over when I was younger
  • Moving into my first flat with Laurie, then throwing a birthday party the following day with all my favourite people
  • Visiting my friends who were still in Exeter for the best weekend dressing up as aliens and pretending to be washing machines
  • Exploring London more and realising just how great Embankment, Covent Garden, St Paul’s, Shoreditch, Greenwich and Canary Wharf are
  • Sharing my final memories with Grandma. Going on walks, for lunch, sending her copies of magazines with my byline in and hearing her excitement down the phone
  • Going on my first ever foreign press trip to Portugal, reviewing a horse-box in Hereford and visiting a sleep spa in Manchester
  • Partying in Ibiza with Laurie, and celebrating our seventh anniversary
  • Going to Israel with my family for my cousin’s wedding – the most joyous occasion after the most horrific week sitting Shiva
  • Seeing so much more of my best friends who finally moved to London, and making new friends too
  • Having the opportunity to write about beauty – my obsession – and going to the Too Faced London launch party, which has been my favourite brand since I was 15
  • Reading books that have changed the way I think, and learning so much from all the people I interviewed – about anxiety, nutrition, careers, relationships and more
  • Completely changing my life by getting laser eye surgery, finally becoming free from contact lenses and glasses – and being able to call it work

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2018:

  • My birthday party in February
  • Seeing Taylor Swift at Wembley with one of my best friends who lives in Bristol who I don’t see enough
  • Going to Ibiza with a brilliant group of girls – most of whom I only met in 2017
  • Going to Dimensions festival in Croatia with Laurie and a big group of friends and staying in the most beautiful villa
  • Continuing to work on this blog and writing as much as I can
  • Finally learning to drive – I’m determined that this will be the year clumsy Arielle gets behind the wheel
  • Eating even more pesto pasta, chocolate, chicken katsu curry and roast dinners than I did last year

And just like that, the glass is three-quarters full. Let the calendar start again – I’ve got this.

 

 

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