Un/reasonable expectations: New Year

Well, here we are; a New Year! Christmas has been and gone, along with all the good and bad of 2017.

I feel like I missed the Christmas boat, in terms of blogging – I was busy moving house. I think I’m just about in the nick of time for a New Year Blog however, so here are my thoughts about the year ahead.

For many, the New Year holds a lot of promise: it symbolizes hope; a fresh page lies before us – a blank canvas to do with what we will; all the successes and failures, the highs and lows, the sorrows and the joys of the past year are behind us; a new chapter has begun. It seems to have a lot of expectations to live up to – and from where I’m sitting these don’t seem entirely reasonable.

As someone who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I don’t cope well with disappointment. The higher the expectation, the greater the sense of being let down is, and this is true also (maybe more so) when it comes to my own expectations of myself. The fear of letting myself down is at least as real as the fear of somebody – or something – else letting me down.

I don’t make New Years resolutions anymore. I used to, because it’s what people do – ‘New Year, New Me’ and all that. But no matter how realistic I felt my resolutions were, I could not stick to them, and the sense of failure I felt with each doomed resolve far outweighed any potential good had I been able to see a single goal through.

As I begin to embrace 2018, settling into a new home in an unfamiliar area, I am somewhat reluctant to draw a definitive line under 2017. I am all in favour of a new chapter but, for me, a blank canvas is not how this year starts – certainly, it is not how I want it to start. I have no qualms with focussing on the future but the tapestry of life is made up from exactly that – life.

I am bringing with me, into the new year, all I have learned from 2017. I am not lugging baggage, but I am bringing newfound knowledge and wisdom from the experiences (both positive and negative) of last year.

2017, just as every year preceding it, has shaped me. It has knocked some edges off me, taught me things about myself and others. It has tested me, strengthened me, battered me and bruised me, but it has not beaten me. It has also blessed me, healed me, and pleasantly surprised me. It has not been a perfect year, but it has been a good one – one in which good things have happened.

I find it almost impossible to have no expectations (in an attempt to eliminate potential disappointment), and I find it equally difficult to temper the expectations I cannot help but foster. What I am learning to do, and will continue to do this coming year, is to be kind to myself (when I fail, or disappoint), and to learn something from every experience.

I don’t honestly know what to expect from 2018. I have hopes – high ones naturally!, possibly unrealistic goals and far-too-great expectations, and no doubt at least fifty percent of these are doomed to disappoint. I will win some battles and lose others. I will laugh, cry, shout, despair, rejoice, fail and succeed and fail and succeed again.

I will be bruised and battered, blessed and healed, surprised and strengthened and I will probably be largely unaware of the great (and sometimes terrible) process as it is underway.

I have no resolutions, as such, other than to be the best me that I can be, and to make the most of the new year and whatever is thrown at me in 2018. And when, at some point (usually late January/early February) it becomes apparent that the whole of 2018 is too much to tackle head-on, I will revert to facing one day, one step at a time.

For now, here’s to 2018, and all that we can make of whatever it brings us!

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