2020: the year of pause

Ahhh 2020, what a ridiculous year. It’s been very different from usual life (obviously) but the best thing I think it presented was a really valuable opportunity to pause and reconsider a lot of things. The biggest realisation for me was how much I epitomised ‘Hustle Culture‘ and how little it was serving me – certainly not as much as society would like to convince us. I’ve always been working towards goals and actively trying to do things to improve myself (and maybe this realisation was inevitable considering this is my first year out of education with constant attainment milestones) but I have to think who is it for? It’s pretty selfish.

It has been quite an adjustment this year to slow down and actually have time to think about something other than my constantly packed schedule and to-do list. I’m not saying that I’ve given up and decided to become lazy – my hyper-organised, motivated brain won’t just go away – but I’m rethinking how I actually want to spend my time.

With all the crazy shit happening in the world I started to think: ‘What am I actually doing to help the causes that I say I care about? Rather than using up all my energy on myself, how can I redirect it and give something back to the world and the people that I care about?’
So I did some research and came away with two solutions.
The first was signing up to volunteer with the wonderful LGBT Youth Scotland and I’m so excited to get started in the new year now that I’ve completed my training!
The second was setting a daily habit to engage with inequality in some way. Be that by watching a film, reading an article, listening to a podcast, doing a course… The format and time commitment varies but what remains consistent is taking the time to check my privileges every single day. (I do not tell you this so you can pat me on the back because, really, it’s the bare fecking minimum). I’ve learned a lot and I’ve unlearned a lot more. I think it’s important to constantly confront inequality especially when my privilege is that I could so easily ignore it.

The other thing that has been important for me to learn (and I had been working on this anyway in my attempt to adult) was to really prioritise looking after myself. I have the tendency to over-extend myself, take on too much and say that I can do everything, but you cannot serve others if you’re not taking care of yourself. Busy people always say that they need to get better at saying no but it can be so hard to actually do that. I no longer want to glorify over-working, I no longer want my response to ‘how are you?’ to be ‘good, tired, the usual’, I no longer want to wear my burn out as a badge of honour. Having the time to stop and rest is so valuable so even when the ball starts rolling again on life, I really want to try continuing to make space for that.

Each year my annual round-up on the blog is usually full of all the things I did/achieved and all the places I went but, honestly, what I’ve explained above and the time I’ve had to spend with my family were the most valuable things this year. I’d usually be following up this blog post with my goals for the year ahead. But for 2021 I’m not setting any goals, I’m letting go of self-imposed pressure, expectations and am just going to ‘be’ and do whatever makes me happy.

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