So it's New Year's Eve and 2019 is about to turn into 2020. I, however, am not going to perform my usual annual trick of turning into a burning ball of fury raging ever-fervently against the sickeningly-slick machine of New year self-doubt, mangled fear and infinite dissatisfaction.
Nope. This year I am learning to soften towards all that angers me. And no, that's NOT a new year's resolution. It's just a thing that I hope will serve me well moving ever onwards.
Onwards. I love that word. Liz Gilbert uses it at the end of all her blog posts on social media and to me it is perfect. It doesn’t say you have to go onwards with any particular attitude. After all, us humans don't always move with great flair or finesse. If you're anything like me, you might sometimes be more inclined towards stubbornness, exhaustion, frustration or sadness.
But, if we’re lucky, we get to move onwards and it’s worth noticing the journey as we do.
So I'm here, on the last day of this decade, having PURPOSEFULLY plonked myself in a chair in my favourite beachside cafe (Breakwater Bistro, in case you're wondering), and after plonking the Lads in a day-long football club (which they wanted to go to - honest) so that I can write a blog post to round off the year. AND I've worn an appropriate jumper.
This time last year I had another blog post brewing - you might remember The One With The New Year Rant. I still lovingly stand by everything I said in that post (lovingly being the key word) but today I want to find my soft edges, my gooey middle so that I can melt more easily into 2020.
And yes, I am still nothing short of enraged by the relentless diet ads on my social media. I didn't ask for those.
Plus the power-suited folk telling me I'm running my business wrong or targeting the wrong clients or failing to harness the immense power of social media. I didn't invite them to my party.
And if I have to endure one more fresh-faced, flat-tummied, hair-recently-tonged woman suggesting I'm not raising my kids right but if I click on her ad NOW I will be shown an effortless, no-nonsense way to turn my tearaways into acquiescent babes, somebody may have to hold me back.
But recently, the softer (and more intelligent) part of me has learned to use the 'Hide Ad' function with gay abandon. Never have I felt more gleeful when suggesting something is 'Irrelevant'.
I read something recently in a book by Michelle Thomas called 'My Shit Therapist'. Yes, that book is every bit as wonderful as it sounds. Anyway, among many brilliant and relevant tales about what it's like to live with mental illness, Michelle said something that stuck with me. Forgive the paraphrasing, but she said that we now have the power to 'curate our own experience' when it comes to social media. We can take control of what we do and don't want to see and do a digital detox for the soul.
She said that, regardless of where we live, we now have the power to drop in on the genius hanging on the walls of the Louvre, or browse Banksy's latest international works. We can gaze at blessed bodies that seem more like our own and sob at stories that really stir the spirit. We can open ourselves up to invigorating, cosmic theories, as well as smile slowly and deliciously at people who just seem to get us.
And click 'irrelevant' on anything that doesn't fit into the above.
And with that in mind (plus seeing a fantastic tweet from Matt Haig aka my mental health hero), I came up with the idea of devising my own alternative set of resolutions this year. Resolutions that don't end the world if they're broken, but could well change the world if kept (my world, anyway).
So the soft rebel in me is moving through to the next decade with intentions that nuzzle in quietly to all that nourishes, builds and forgives.
Drink in joy
Listen to my kids
Turn off my hearing aids sometimes
Enjoy my body
Be at the beach
Don't look at the time
So this is my invitation to you to devise your own list of Soft Rebel Resolutions. Whatever you feel you must do, perhaps try turning it on its head? Language is so important, especially the language we use to speak to ourselves. So get your mindfulness groove on and give it a go . . .
Instead of 'go on a diet', how about 'eat a pasty from time to time'?
You might feel the obligation to 'run 8 miles every day', but instead maybe try 'getting lots of fresh air'?
Rather than 'don't shout at the kids', try 'pause before responding'?
Take them or leave them but I think these softer, rebellious intentions are what can take us onward in a way that we can feel good about. And not have us tripping over our own self-reprimands just a couple of weeks down the line. Because who wants that, really?
Go well my friends, into 2020 and beyond . . .
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