We survived another year on this inevitable road to death

Not that I’m a pessimist or anything. I’m just potently aware of my own – and everyone else’s, mortality, and there’s nothing like the sudden arrival of New Year’s Eve to bring it all  rushing to the surface. Cheers!

In Western culture we have a tradition of marking the start of each year with a long list of ways we’d like to improve ourselves, before realising, a few days into January, that chocolate does, actually, taste better than skinny, and that there really isn’t enough time to become a multilingual nomadic artist/author/musician while holding down a full time job.

No, I’m not a pessimist. I’m just potently aware of the cyclical, repetitive nature of human behaviour.

Anyway. I haven’t posted in a while so I thought I’d better tie up the year with an uplifting round-up of things I learnt, or didn’t learn in 2017.

Things wot I did

For an odd numbered year, it’s been alright. This year I got married, turned 27, ran my fourth half marathon, celebrated the marriages of friends and family, saw cousins/aunts/uncles etc. I haven’t seen for a while, got better at yoga, started learning Italian, kept my guinea pigs alive, kept myself alive, grew my hair a bit, put on weight (of bloody course), wrote and rewrote about 400 pages of fiction, submitted to my first short story competition, ran from Germany to Austria (it was only a few miles but it still counts as an achievement, or at least a good way to make me feel smug and intrepid), made new friends, went back to Cornwall and – the highlight of everything, perhaps – I recently became a member of the National Trust.

Things wot I learnt

Being 27 is scary.

Marriage is scary.

Money is scary (lack of).

Time is scary.

Death is scary.

People are scary.

Civilization is scary.

The future is scary.

Work is scary.

Food is scary.

Writing a novel is scary (and HARD).

Knowing what you want is scary.

Deciding what to do is scary.

Things wot I’ll do in 2018

Stop being so scared.

At the time I didn’t know I was scared of all those things. I thought I was just scared of being eaten by a shark.

My brain seems to condense all of my emotions into a murky cloud of general anxiety, which then grows and grows before dispersing itself across various areas of my life in strange, unexpected and pretty destructive ways.

I am scared of not experiencing the best possible life, which is really a very self-centred fear, isn’t it, considering millions of people out there are just trying not to be killed, or raped, or trafficked.

In 2018 I’m going to try to relax, embrace the changing tides, have more courage and appreciation for everything I have. I need to stop worrying about myself, about who I am or where/what/who I should or shouldn’t be. I’m going to start thinking about how I can make a positive impact on the world, because that’s one way to deal with the fear of death. If I can leave Earth having improved something, or at least not having destroyed too much of it, then that makes it all worth it, I think.

It might not sound like it, but I’m really looking forward to 2018. Once I look past my fears, I can see that life is good, and that the people around me are good. I have to go and make a lasagna now, but I hope everyone has a Happy New Year and that you can see the nice things in your life, no matter how tough it all is at the moment. x

2 Replies to “We survived another year on this inevitable road to death”

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