A New Year

2016 is over and 2017 has begun. New Year’s Eve for me has always been a difficult time. I have never been out for New Year’s Eve…I have never been invited to anything and this has always left me feeling sad and lonely and I have always gone to bed before seeing in midnight. This New Year’s Eve wasn’t much different-I didn’t go out and I was in bed by midnight. However, I did have a nice evening, spent with my family in Spain playing games. And although I went to bed fairly disheartened, thinking that everyone else my age was out there having fun, I woke up to glorious sunshine, went for a nice walk along the Spanish seafront, and took some time to think. And with thought, I realize things aren’t that bad…they have certainly been a lot worse. And this way of thinking is going to be my New Year’s resolution…to be more positive!

When first thinking about my year of 2016 my immediate reaction is ´God, it was a waste. I’ve done nothing, I haven’t achieved anything, I’m in the same situation I was this time last year.´ Yes, I may not be where I ultimately want to end up, but actually 2016 has not been a bad year; I have made progress, and things have started to get a bit better.

Me and my old uni friend on one of our restaurant ‘dates’ in 2016
Firstly, I am still in my job…which I know I have moaned about, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be without it and the people around me. So this is a good thing from 2016 and one I am going to continue into 2017. I have also eaten out in quite a lot of different restaurants in 2016. At first this was daunting but now it doesn’t bother me at all. This is quite an achievement for someone with an eating disorder, who has for many years avoided anything but home cooked food, hospital food or at worst, no food at all. I would even go as far to say that now, I do actually quite enjoy eating out!

Me enjoying time with my sister earlier in the year
I have been abroad several times in 2016, visiting my sister and building a stronger relationship with her (and I now talk to her on the phone occasionally which I had always refused to do before.) Going away and doing different things has also involved me having to change my routine…again, another daunting prospect initially but one now that I can cope with and often quite enjoy. Being a stickler for routine is tiring, boring and stressful…it is an obsession and a chore. And I now have come to learn that I do in fact hate routine, doing the same things at the same time in the same places every day. Routine had acted like a safety blanket…everything was predictable and nothing was scary if I just did the same things every day. But it was a daily slog and whilst I am not completely broken free from routine, this past year I have become far, far more flexible…and life has become easier…and better as a result.

One of my favourite days from 2016-our trip to London
My main positive point from 2016 is the friends that I have made…and am defiantly going to keep. This has been the first year for the best part of a decade that I have made true friends-people I go out with, do things with, have a laugh with, have fun with. Something I have longed for for so long has, in 2016, started to make appearance in my life. My two new friends from work and my old friend from uni entered my life this past year, and have shown me care and kindness and have helped me start to live. I could not have imagined this time last year that I would be sitting here now, having had trips out, dinners together, fun and laughter…true moments of happiness. This in itself has been enough to make my year. And I can only hope that these friendships continue to grow in 2017.

So I am not going to dismiss 2016 as another bad and wasted year…far from it. Yes, I am not where I want to be and I would not say I was ´happy´, but things have changed in 2016-more so than I realised. So, whilst I do not want to be in this same situation this time next year, if things continue as they have been, I probably won’t be….I will continue making progress, things will continue changing and improving and my life will get better. I’ve just got to have a bit of hope and positivity. And I resolve to do this.

And in my final walk in Spain before coming home, listening to my MP3 player, The M People’s ‘Search for the hero’ song came on and provided me with the hope, inspiration and positivity I am going to try and build on this year:

“In this life, long and hard though it may seem,
Live it as you’d live a dream.
Aim so high.
Just keep the flame of truth burning bright.
The missing treasure you must find
because you and only you alone
can build a bridge across the stream.

Search for the hero inside yourself,
Search for the secrets you hide.
Search for the hero inside yourself
Until you find the key to your life.”

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