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New Year – Same Old You... Wednesday December 30, 2015

So everywhere we look we're bombarded by the idea that we should use the turning of the year to start a new life, to make new resolutions, to turn over a new leaf.

Well, you know what? I've had enough of it!

This flipping over a calendar's page – or in this case, the archiving of the old calendar to leave an almost exactly identical family diary in sole possession of the hall table means precisely nothing in terms of me suddenly becoming a different person.

In 2016 I will almost certainly lose a few pounds and gain a few pounds. I will have periods of healthy eating and periods where I slump into cooking easy convenience meals. There will be weeks at a time when I visit the gym regularly and then weeks or months when I don't.

And there will almost certainly be weeks or months when I have to cope with depression. It's probably the same for most of you.

I don't want to sound gloomy or defeatist about this. For me it's a fact of life.

And I'm already pretty proud of how I deal with it.

In fact, not wanting to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I'm pretty proud of the way I deal with the majority of life. I'd like to carry on doing more of the same, please.

There are a few resolutions of course. Having Tom home for Christmas (his first Christmas with us as his family) has brought home a few improvements we can make. We have resolved to all be a bit kinder and more polite to each other. We hadn't realised how our robust manner within the family was distressing to our lovely Tom. He's right – we could all be a lot gentler.

I've set up in the diary some business planning meetings with a friend who operates a business similar to mine and whose goals, like mine, are not about money. We both find planning difficult, so we're helping each other.

Tom, being a teacher, has also made sure that we are viewing each tiny improvement as a win because it's progress. None of us can hope to lose twenty pounds overnight. None of us can become proficient ice-skaters in a week, or have achieved our financial goals in a fortnight (although we can dream). What we can do is make progress. We can make tiny steps.

We will still be the same old us. There is no magical new you at the end of the rainbow along with the unicorn and tickets to the Beatles Reunion Concert. But the same old you can look forward and make progress.

What there can be is one baby step forward after another baby step forward. We might slip back sometimes, but what matters is to keep an open mind to making new improvements and to keep going.

I'll let you know how I'm getting on. Why not comment and let me know how you're doing?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Hopeful One Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 7:42am

Hi Mary-Thank you for asking. I am doing well,keeping steady,maintaining an 'attitude of gratitude',picking up tips from fellow Moodscopers,counting my blessings, keeping track of the things that make me feel happy usually small things like setting out to do something and accomplishing it.

But best of all, having been cyber dumped early on in the year, finding someone on the same dating site( just like you said) and incredibly falling in love and and delighted to find she felt the same for me just like in that Beatles song

" I saw her standing there"

Well she looked at me,and I, I could see
That before too long I'd fall in love with her
She wouldn't dance with another( whooooh)
When I saw her standing there."

and keeping a sense of humour with jokes or anything else that bringon a laugh like this below

A nurse was on duty in the A&E when a young woman with purple hair styled into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing, entered . . . It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for an immediate operation.. When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green, and above it there was a tattoo that read . . .'Keep off the grass' Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's dressing, which read 'Sorry . . . had to mow the lawn.'

Submitted by Staff Nurse RN Elaine Fogerty , Kings Hospital , London

Lex Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 8:42am

What a wonderful tale, Elaine! L'x

the room above the garage Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 9:07am

Mary, sometimes I wonder if we're the same person! I've written a very similar blog!!!
HO, woohoo! Love! Fabulous! There is hope for us! I'm loving today's submission, large grin!!
I'm hoping for a daytime nap since have been up most of the night tending to a child with a vomit bug and hoping we don't all take turns. Could cry but aiming for laughing and this has helped xx.

LillyPet Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 9:57am

Hey ratg, I wish your little one better and hope the rest of you will be ok. Definately have a good cry and a rest, losing sleep makes me weepy too! Hope you get a chance to catch up honey. LP xxx

the room above the garage Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 1:47pm

Thank you my love, feel better just hearing from you :-) xx

danielle Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 6:05pm

Hi RATG, I hope your little one is better soon and you can get some rest xxx

LillyPet Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 9:53am

Morning Mary,
I tend to embrace the positive fresh feelings that I get in the new year. I tend to be inspired by the feeling of a fresh start. So for me it's not about external pressure to make resolutions, but making the most of feeling inspired while it lasts!

I dont need to be a new me, like you I feel that I'm doing ok generally, moving forward in small steps, aware of the aspects of my life which are a struggle, having plans and support in place for if or when they arise.
I dont need to be a new me physically, but I've certainly made the most of the cheery and tempting treats around for this time of year! So am hoping to similarly allow myself to be swept along with a fresh start feeling in the new year, the extra treats have to stop at some point!
I will be gentle with myself though no pressure, go with what my body and mind seem to need to feel as well as I can and rest when I need to.

I agree, that no huge effort is neccessary, I also know that I'll continue with small achivements most of the time and sometimes will get a burst of energy to tackle something that I've been wanting to do. There are bound to be set backs, as that's life, but they will pass, one way or another.

I liked Lex's idea of deciding to just make a start, taking the initial action and starting in a small way may take on a momentum of it's own and if not, at least I've made a start!

I hope I'm not perpetuating the pressure that society puts on us at this time of year. It's definitely a case of everyone doing what works for them. I tend to be open to what's out there and take on the bits I like.
Gently does it works for me because I tend to resist pressure! The TV images of bootcamp workouts and diets are there but they dont bother me each to their own! :)

I thought it was lovely how your Tom brought a little of his gentleness to your family and look forward to hearing about how you're getting on. I might be nice for us Moodscopers to post some of our small achievements that make a big difference to how we feel.

Thanks for a wonderfully gentle blog Mary. Love to all LP xxx

danielle Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 6:07pm

LP it is great that you feel inspired at this time of year, grab it with both hands and make the most of it. Do things you love and enjoy every minute, like you said it is about what works for each person xxx

Down the well Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 11:20am

Thank you Mary I love this, a timely reminder to disregard all the new year new you nonsense. Small steps are definitely the way, far more manageable thus ultimately more rewarding. Hope everyone had survived the festive season in some shape or form, suspect my shape will be a tad bigger with all the treats, but there's plenty of time for exercise! Love to all x

Mj Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 12:17pm

Hi Mary, I am an incurable unicorn hunter. I do accept that about me! I agree with everything you said--self-acceptance with small steps forward. For me this year means a focus on (oh, oh) weight loss. Small steps right? In a world where I'd be able to hop up on my white unicorn I'd be 80-100 pounds less. Only in heaven! I'm going for minus 10% in first 6-8 months. It's good for me to focus on possibilities instead of my toxic work place and lack of family.

The Gardener Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 12:25pm

I flatly refuse to make new year resolutions - no point long-term planning, one day at a time. Anyone in my situation knows that you cannot plan anything - enrolling for slimming? Useless, never get there. Not complaining, or being pessimistic. Every day is a new day to be made the best of. And today is jubilation - somebody, did not see them, but they left biscuits, has turned the heating on in my shop - so could keep Mr G there all the morning while I scrambled up and down ladders, got some super background music. I have a passion for celebrating New Year's Eve - not turning over a new leaf. Looking back (and I look a long way) for many people New Year's Eve is a watershed. Christmas is over - loads of people hate the enforced idleness of the Christmas holiday - no DIY, not practical. You may hate your rellies, and glad to get rid of them. The kids are OTT. You may actually LIKE your daily grind. So, it's not bye-bye 2015, hello 2016, but a new start after the 'festive' season, whether it's passed happily or not. For me, it's get more help, keep sane, and enjoy life - the tiniest spots of light and communication with friends will be regarded as 'treats'. I HOPE I reached rock-bottom yesterday - lost control and phoned son and d-in-law in hysterics. They were supportive, loving, but underlined, what I knew, that I can do not more. So, acceptance of life, and seize the moment. Thinking of the biblical 'live this day as though your last' is no good, I'd try and do all the things I have not done in my life in one day. Might be a good subject for a blog! Real complaint, New Year's Eve is the only time adults can really be silly, and I can't. Why does not someone invent a 'silly' day, like Comic Relief. When I was young we really did things on April Fool's Day - not the same, perhaps we are all fools now! To Leah, trying to work out time zones to catch up with far flung friends. And I'm going to brave 'Skype' set up for me by a grand-son.

danielle Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 6:05pm

Very well said TG, every day is a new day to be made the best of, I like this. When feeling low I always try to remind myself of the phrase from buddha ' each day we are born again, what we do today matters the most' that way if we had a bad day yesterday it doesnt matter, today could be great xxx

danielle Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 6:02pm

Another great blog Mary. I would say that Toms suggestion of being kinder and gentler with each other could be looked upon as a slight life change rather than a new years resolution. I am with The Gardener on this one, I avoid resolutions where I can and take each day at a time. I have a tendency when I feel good to write endless lists of things I will do that day/week/month/year - very over ambitious even for a well person (because you know- I can conquer the world!!) which results in me feeling even worse on a bad day - not only have I not made it to work or cleaned the house but I also havent visited 8 countries in the past month, I havent solved world wars or achieved peace, I havent transformed from mildly decent cook to Nigella overnight and I am not as slim as a model! Who cares, I am still hear and still plodding on and that is the main thing. When we have bad days - remember that you are still here and still fighting - that is the best resolution any of us could make in my opinion, xxxxx

Anonymous Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 6:20pm

i've been trying to tell people this for a while now. it is just another day, the world doesn't know its a whole new year, your body doesnt know its a whole new year. if people want to make a huge deal out of it fair enough, but i decided a while back to specifically not as it depresses me more to think i'm not out with all those happy shining people in london and new york. like i should be bouncing off the walls. i've a decade birthday coming next year and feel pressure to do something big, everyone has a massive party, goes somewhere does something you should be doing the same. what are you going to do, come on i'm waiting?!? but again its just another day, my body doesn't know, it's something fabricated, these digits on a clock and calendar, just to keep track of things. we need it absolutely *(my anxiety doesn't ;), but less of the EMPHASIS .

The Gardener Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 9:35pm

Big birthday? Watch it. Mr G's 60th, 70th and 80th were spectacular - I went over the top to everybody's joy. My 70th was spent in Paris, midsummer day and madness - dancing in the fountains and generally causing mayhem (so were millions of others). This year, coming 80, I forbade any celebrations as last few birthdays had been disastrous - among them falls, parking fines, festivals which took place the week before etc. No 2 son insisted on coming and spent the time chasing his Pa round hospitals. He managed one dish at my birthday dinner then had to leave to drive to Paris. My advice? Let the professionals do the organising, get out of bed an hour before the party, then let rip in you wildest dress and to hell with the consequences. Whatever you do, don't go near aeroplanes or airports. I swear anyone planning a strike has my birthday in red on their calendar. Just read anonymous and realise I am presuming feminine. If not, hmm.

Leah Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 11:42pm

The gardener, I just love this advice:! "My advice? Let the professionals do the organising, get out of bed an hour before the party, then let rip in you wildest dress and to hell with the consequences. Whatever you do, don't go near aeroplanes or airports' I have my advice for 2016!!- for party read party of life! Thanks TG- brilliant!! So very Noel Coward of you!!!

Helen Wed, Dec 30th 2015 @ 10:13pm

Hi Mary,
Thanks for such a lovely blog post. I'm struggling with anxiety and OCD about my job right now - and when I read your blog post, I was in the middle of berating myself for not being able to just forget my anxiety, focus on work and instantly be the dramatically "improved" person I want to be.

Your post reminded me that life is more about the little steps, so instead of just giving up work for the day to procrastinate and hide and feel ashamed over my failure to be perfect, I think I'm going to do a few small work related things - checking an e-mail or arranging a report ready for the morning - and count that as progress and as a tiny win. It's amazing how much calmer and productive I now feel.

So I am going to save this blog post for the next time everything feels too much. This is the first time I've commented here, so thanks to you and the moodscope community for being awesome and for all your support.

Amy Thu, Dec 31st 2015 @ 1:19am

Thank You Mary. You put into words how I feel about new year and reminded me that I need to take baby steps. Not great right now but I will get there one step at a time. Hope you are doing ok on your journey.

Jane Fri, Jan 1st 2016 @ 12:49am

Contrary to many people's reverie, New year doesn't bring with it a great big wooden door that you can slam in the face of the previous year and all its demons. Even if you picture that door being slammed, there will only be huge disappointment on the other side, when you realise that the demons crawled through the keyhole and followed you to your 'fresh slate'.

There is no clean slate just because we open a brand new Paperchase diary. But it might just, like every other day of the year, be a day where I can smile and think 'That's a really tiny improvement on yesterday.' And if it is, I'll be thankful. Or it might not. Just like every other day might not be.

So tonight, just like every other night, I'll go to bed and assess the good, the bad and the ugly. I will obsess over the slightest change in the way people are acting with me, the way they messaged me or looked at me. I will rationalise it and then destroy any progress by coming to the conclusion that they don't like me. I'll tear myself down and then try and build myself back up again before I close my eyes, by counting my many, many blessings. Yet I will sleep with a gnawing ache of guilt because, despite being blessed with so many wonderful, wonderful people, I still feel empty. Despite having the perfect recipe for happiness, I have become reliant on others for happiness and validation.

So is it nature; the chemical build up in my brain? Or nurture? Have I not learned and trained my brain to like myself? I know after all that my thoughts and intentions are not harmful. Only to myself. I am so very very thankful for everything I am blessed with. The hand I have been dealt is a very good one and yet this powerful and destructive mind of mine will not let me enjoy what I have been blessed with. Still, sometimes I can smile, sometimes I can laugh, sometimes I can love, sometimes I can sing, sometimes I can really truly feel, sometimes I can sleep, sometimes I can dream, sometimes I can even be happy and truly content. So how can I have the nerve to feel empty. How can I be surrounded by such love and feel so unloved? What am I missing? The sense in me tells me this is nonsense and I rationalise my perfect recipe for happiness and tell myself I should feel ashamed. And I do. I am strangled with guilt. I picture the sick, the lonely, the grieving, the beaten, the homeless, and I am drowning in even more self hate.... And so the cycle begins again. So as I lie here listening to the fireworks, I won't be slamming any metaphorical door, nor will I be setting myself up for more self-destruction by setting new years resolutions. I will just continue my journey of hope. My journey of some great days and some dark days. And I will continue to be thankful for my perfect recipe for happiness, even if I am unable to savour it every day. I will continue this journey of hope. Hope that tomorrow is just a tiny bit better than yesterday. Nothing can be fixed over night.

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