As December 31st rolled around, I found myself as I often do, scrolling through social media. It seemed like everyone and their mother was posting their 2021 round-ups, a highlight reel to sum up all the exciting and glamorous moments of the year that passed. I was no different. Yet, I couldn’t help but compare my own end of year summary to all the other ones I had seen. The more I scrolled the more deflated I felt. I started to look back on my year with a sense of disappointment, as though there was some sort of standard that I wasn’t living up to.
This is the danger of the ever-elusive highlight reel. No one wants to look back on the low moments of the year passed, myself included. I was happy to share the exciting moments of my Erasmus, the day trips and the nights out. My ten-day isolation in France, however, is the defining low point of my year? That sure didn’t make the cut.
Not only does new year trigger the comparison game on social media as we all rush to promote our “best year ever!”, but it also sets off another type of pressure, to completely reinvent ourselves for the year ahead.
“New year, new me”.
This is a phrase that’s thrown around at the dawning of every new year and one that, for many, inspires motivation. What could be more exciting than the opportunity to reinvent yourself?
Personally, I find this time of year incredibly challenging. The marketing surrounding new year’s resolutions encourages us to make positive changes. I am quick to fall into the trap of alleged self-improvement. Each year I vow to myself that this will be the year I start running a 5k or going to the gym. It’s only a matter of time until these innocuous resolutions snowball into full-on diets and restrictions. Because deep down, I know my resolution isn’t to run a 5k. Somewhere along the way, I’m hoping this will be the year I magically transform into Victoria’s Secret model. Because that will definitely solve everything, right?
We’re two weeks into 2022 and for anyone out there who may be feeling a twinge of panic that their January isn’t unfolding quite as fabulously as they imagined, here’s a reminder that you don’t need to overhaul your whole life, no matter what time of year it is. This year I’m ditching my past ideals of perfection and aiming instead to make small improvements. Prioritizing my happiness and wellbeing instead of my appearance is top of the list as I focus on habits such as journaling and mindful walks. Therapy was a huge part of my 2021 and something that I highly recommend to anyone else who can avail of it. So, here’s to a new year and the same me, hoping to make the most of 2022, highlight reel or not.