A Time to Reflect…or Not

Since 2014 I have written a daily journal. It has become a tradition for me to read back through the whole of the year at the end of December (often accompanied by a favourite-music playlist). I usually spend a significant amount of time reflecting on things I’ve done, ideas I’ve had, and lessons I’ve learnt. I consider how I feel about it now and what it means for the next year. Those few days feel like a break, a stopping point, in which I get out of my routine and often have to remind myself what day it is. I can reflect peacefully without concerning myself with the pressures of ‘normal’ life.

The problem is that the time of reflection can make me even more reclusive than usual. I find myself staying at home as much as possible, not seeing many people, and perhaps reflecting a little too much. I always choose to stay at home on New Year’s Eve, quietly watching a film, and try to ‘dispose’ of the Christmas chocolate. Although the quiet time is valuable and helpful in many ways, I can also start to feel a little lonely.

But it was different this year. I reached December 31st and was tired. Tired from three days of near-constant socialisation – one-to-one socialisation with close friends and family. It was intense for a slightly introverted person:

Thursday: I met up with a friend who loves writing as much as I do, and we talked nonstop, which was creatively stimulating and helpful for both of us. It was a lot of fun! And in the evening I had a ‘second Christmas’ and catch-up with a great friend, who practically adopted me a few years ago – she’d noticed my discomfort in a busy social situation and helped me through it. I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of her recently, even though she lives just around the corner.

Friday: Mum and I went sale-shopping together, which is our annual tradition, and enjoyed a cooked breakfast in Debenhams. The night before I had been chatting to a friend who used to assist me in band, and she made the spontaneous decision to travel up from South Wales to see me. She arrived in the evening, and I then made a spontaneous decision (yes, me!) to stay in her Travelodge, to make full use of the family room and coffee sachets. Of course, we ended up talking half the night! But it was worth the morning drowsiness.

Saturday: My friend and I had a cooked breakfast in the Little Chef (my second in two days) and then walked it off around my beautiful town. She was driving home for New Year, and so I said goodbye and had a couple of quiet hours at home. I tried to take a nap, unsuccessfully. And in the evening, Mum and I went to see Dad, Grandma, and Aunty – we enjoyed watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2!

I arrived home at 10pm on New Year’s Eve, and I only had the energy to think about my friends and family, and the time I’d spent with them. It had been proper quality time, involving deep conversations with friends from different areas of my life. They are people who stand by me, even when I’m hiding away, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for their supportive friendship. I want to make more of an effort to see them, and my other friends, in 2017. There’s a resolution.

Perhaps a long period of quiet reflection, alone with my thoughts, wasn’t what I needed. Instead I was given a significant reminder of the importance of relationships. It was a reminder to live in the present, as well as reflecting on the past and considering how I should approach the future. So, the year ended very differently from normal, and I wouldn’t have planned it that way… But I don’t always know best.

Happy New Year everyone!

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