It is utterly astonishing to me that it’s been a whole year since my last one of these.
Anyway, here we find ourselves once again, facing a whole new year and mustering what optimism we have left, trying to put ourselves in the best starting position that we can. And this time, I’m not making any resolutions.
Wait, what? But Katie, you love lists and false promises!
I really do. However, I’ve taken a long hard look at myself, my life, my current state... and I’ve decided that I’m not in the right place to be made demands of, even if they originate from myself.
I overhauled my life in 2016. In February, I left a relationship that I had been in, at least emotionally, for almost five years. In September, I left my all-too-comfortable job that I had been at for over two years. Finally, at the end of September, I left the only city I’d ever lived in, in favour of moving to Berlin to make my ultimate attempt at earning a Bachelor’s degree. This is far and away the most insanely big decision I’ve ever made, and the sum of all three has been quite literally life-changing. It’s been an incredibly exciting year, with perhaps more new experiences and faces than any year previous, and really that’s what gave me the courage to finally emigrate.
I’ve been in Berlin for three months now, trying to reconcile my identity as a student once more, trying to meet new people and have new experiences. An introvert’s nightmare, but as tough as the lows can be, so too are the rewards great.
There are times when I just want to be at home in the easy embrace of my family. There are times when I believe I’ll never make friends here to ease the distance of my best friends back in Dublin. There are times when I believe there’s nobody here for me romantically (or worse, that beards will never be a thing on the continent as they are in Ireland). These times and thoughts are genuinely really tough and draining, and I’m not going to sugar-coat that fact.
How do I overcome this? I’ve been mulling this over for a while now. I know, of course, that a bigger effort is required on my end. I don’t expect people to just find me, and put in all of the work themselves. But I do find it difficult to put myself out there. I can be cripplingly shy, and I tire much too easily from social interaction. Knowing this about myself, and accepting it as I have come to do, I am gently pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It’s a process, and I don’t want to rush, force, or damage myself by demanding too much.
My priorities right now are, therefore, very basic ones. I’m focusing on looking after my mental health, eating properly, maintaining existing relationships, and doing as well as I can in college, at the same time as getting to know my new city, and tentatively getting to know new people. Not one of these things is particularly easy for me, and keeping everything balanced is seriously tough.
Would a list help me to focus my mind, to remember what’s important, or to achieve my goals?
At this specific point in my life, I don’t think it would.
So I’m keeping it simple. I’m going to keep on keeping on. I will enter into January like any other month. I will not give myself new challenges to face. I will not bully myself. I refuse to add pressure, and I refuse to leave the bravery I’ve been showing unacknowledged. I will continue to do the very best I can. I will continue to have bad days, and to pick myself up afterwards with love and care. I will continue to have good days, and to count these as more important. I will continue to believe in myself, even without a list of demands to conquer.
I am not promising anything to 2017, nor am I asking anything of it in return.
My life will continue to be what I make of it, and that’s more than enough to be thinking about for now.