We’re constantly fed the line ‘no regrets’ and told that looking back is pointless and we should always live in the now. Everything happens for a reason, right?
I’ve always subscribed to this way of thinking, and generally, I don’t think hanging on to the past is healthy for our mental health, whether we’re looking back in fondness or in sorrow. Too much of either can stop us from living in the now and working towards our future.
But what if regretting the past and mulling over missed opportunities could actually help guide us towards a better life or help us to tick off some of our outstanding goals.
Perhaps changing the narrative from ‘no regrets’ to ‘some regrets’ could be the key?
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve started to develop the inevitable ‘new beginnings’ mindset we tend to adopt as we screech clumsily towards the first day of January.
I’ve pretty much always been anti-new years resolutions. I’ve thought of them more as a hindrance, than a help. They’re a way of pressuring ourselves with yet more demands, expectations and blanket statements such as “I’m going to lose weight” or “I want to earn more money”, with no real direction or strategy in place, it’s a recipe for disaster and I think deep down we all know it.
I was sat in the bumper to bumper Christmas traffic that I’ve become to loathe when ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac came on the car stereo. My Mum began delicately singing along to it, as did I. It’s a song I’ve only become familiar with since becoming my Mum’s carer. In fact, my love for seventies music has become overwhelming since spending more time with my Mum in the past year.
It hit me. I regretted not listening to the music of my Mum’s youth more when she could tell me stories and explain where she was, what she was doing and why she was attracted to it in the first place.
I took for granted that one day, I wouldn’t be able to ask these questions or receive a response.
In the past year, I’ve truly learnt to respect time and life in a way I never had before. Life is short and cruel, and I’d let so much of my life pass me by, regrets mounting up in the back of my head disguised as ‘everything happens for a reason’.
I can’t help but feel that my new perspective on life has made me realise that I don’t want to regret even more in the future. Perhaps I should jot down some New Years resolutions after all? What harm can it do?
I think if done correctly, having a deep dive into your past and pulling out a few regretful past opportunities might be the key to gaining some perspective on future ones.
So, for the first time in years, I’ve come up with some New Years resolutions. These goals are realistic and things I really want to do, rather than pressurised, overwhelming chores. I decided to pick out twelve, so I’d have one per month but the list isn’t in any particular order.
The last time I left the UK was a very short trip with my Sisters to Madrid where we visited our Dad. This was in 2014 and the last time I left the UK for a holiday with my Husband was our honeymoon in 2011. I’m determined to get a holiday this year and would love to visit Greece.
I love the idea of a wine tasting experience or an overnight stay at a vineyard. I’ve become quite the red wine enthusiast over the past couple of years. Perhaps throw in some cheese and bread for good measure.
Ancient Egypt at The British Museum
My Husband has always had a bit of an obsession with Ancient Egypt and the pyramids, so over the past few months, he’s sucked me in. The British Museum in London has the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside of Egypt and it’s only three hours down the road.
I love raising money for charity, especially for the Alzheimer’s Society. The last event I put on was in 2016 and we raised over £500. I’m hoping to do another event this year which will be a bit more intimate and inclusive. Perhaps a jazz and blues gig or a seventies night.
Weight Loss: 24 pounds
Unlike the usual ‘lose weight’ resolution, this weight loss goal has a specific number attached that’s extremely realistic within one year. I didn’t want to set the bar too high because that usually means I’ll fail. I want to lose weight and get more exercise in for my future health.
Winehouse, George and The Beatles
Cook For Friends
I’d love to have my friends over and cook a three-course meal from scratch. It might not seem like a big deal, but we don’t get to spend quality time together much and I love hosting and cooking for people I love.
One of my favourite musical finds of 2017 was the Swedish band, Ghost. I’d love to see them live in 2018. Obviously, this resolution isn’t totally within my control as they may not play in the UK, but with a new album in the works, set for release in 2018, I’ve got high hopes.
I want to find out what triggers my rosacea. In January I’m going to start documenting my skin with photos and restricting various foods and skin care ingredients to find out what makes it worse. Although I have a feeling red wine might be a culprit, so the wine tasting will be interesting.
There’s a scene in the Meryl Streep movie ‘It’s Complicated’ where Jane is hand making pain au chocolat, and ever since watching that many years ago I’ve always wanted to make my own. I’m a little obsessed with croissants. They might be the hardest thing ever to re-create and I’ll probably completely mess it up, but I’m going to try.
Get a Needle
This is probably the easiest resolution on the list to execute. We haven’t had a needle on our record player in so long, through sheer laziness, and I want to start listening to my Mum’s old vinyl again as well as some I’ve picked up recently and haven’t been able to listen to as yet.
Easy, approachable new years resolutions that fill my heart with joy and excitement for the future rather than dread and resentment.
What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!