It’s February now and most of the blog posts you’d usually expect to see at the start of a New Year have already come and gone, except for mine of course. Ta daaa! If you’ve read my first ever post on this blog you’ll know how I feel about new years resolutions so I won’t bore you with the details again but if you haven’t read it click here to get up to date. Choosing a single word to sort of live by for the next 12 months isn’t simple and I really struggled to whittle it down to just one, but I got there.
So for this year, 2018, my word is nurture.
Last year was a bit of a strange one in hindsight, we had just moved to England and were settling into our new home, new jobs and new life. My focus was just trying to get used to my surroundings which didn’t leave much time for giving the relationships with my friends, family and Shane enough attention. My two best friends live in different parts of the world to me currently and making time to catch up isn’t always easy, but just because it’s not easy doesn’t make it impossible. I’ve learnt from mistakes I’ve made with previous long-distance friendships and want to make it a priority to give these friendships some extra attention. The new friendships I’ve made since moving are equally as important as the well-established ones. Making friends as an adult isn’t always simple. When we’re younger we’re in situations that make it easy to connect, we went to school or university together or perhaps we grew up in the same neighbourhood. As adults, we find ourselves in less of those situations but with more social anxieties about how we’re perceived by others and how we should behave. That’s why when we do form friendships when we’re older they’re often more meaningful but also take more energy to make them last. I consider myself to be quite an introverted person in general so taking care of the friends and people that accept me and all my quirks is a top priority.
As well as my friends I want to pay more attention to nurturing the relationships I have with my family. My family unit is a small but very close one and moving away was difficult for me. It’s easy to take our families for granted because we’re used to them being there. The sounds, smells and feelings we associate with being around our families seem to blend into the rest of our day because we’re used to their presence in our lives. But since moving, the time I get to spend with them is more valued and those things that used to blend into the background of our daily lives become special once again. Writing letters, taking short trips and sending each other silly videos are things we do to try and stay connected with each other so I’m going to make an effort to ensure that continues this year too.
When it comes to love they often say ‘relationships aren’t supposed to be hard’. ‘They’ are idiots. Choosing one person to spend your life with and then putting that into practice is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Of course, there will be times when it is easier, but it’s never just easy and it will take a tremendous amount of energy on both sides to make sure you both get out of your relationship and life everything you want. Over the years you will evolve and grow both as individuals and as a couple and the truest test of a relationship is when two people can grow together without resenting one another for changing. This year my partner and I (I dislike the word partner but feel I’m a little too close to 30 to say boyfriend either) will hopefully go from being a two to a three and because of that, it’s important now more than ever to nurture our relationship as a couple. To make each other feel special, not to take each other for granted, to remember that although we are making very grown-up choices it doesn’t mean we need to stop having fun.
Finally this year I will make an effort to nurture my relationship with myself more. For as long as I can remember, my relationship with myself has been a very negative one – I go into more detail about this here. I am nearly always berating myself for not being enough; not thin enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, and this is a narrative that needs to change. One of the things I’ve been trying to work on since the start of the year is nurturing myself and the relationship I have with myself much more. January was a difficult month for me, as it is for most people I think, and it kind of propelled me forward into learning how to be kinder to myself. Self-care is something that is definitely becoming more talked about now and it’s such an important concept to familiarise ourselves with. I recently had the most interesting conversation about the significance of self-care and how it doesn’t just benefit us in the present but will also continue to have lasting effects in our later lives too. Taking the time to take time isn’t lazy or frivolous but is about making sure we are looking after ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally so we are better able to serve ourselves and our responsibilities. If there’s anything I would encourage people to do it would be to explore what self-care means to you. Maybe it’s going for a run, or staying in your pyjama’s all day, but whatever it is make time for it because nobody else is going to do it for you.