As a species, we seem to love any opportunity to reminisce and evaluate ourselves. At the start of each new year we sit down and think about what we’ve done in the past 12 months and try to come up with ways of doing things better in the year to come. Impossible resolutions are fine, because who keeps them anyway? And surely it’s the thought that counts, right? We want to be better, even if we don’t manage to achieve it, and that’s the important part, the desire to change and improve. To be healthier, to learn a new language or spend more time visiting our grandparents. The spirit is willing, even if the flesh is weak.
Looking back over the last year, I’ve realised that I only wrote nine blog posts. Nine. That’s not even one per month! There have been so many posts that I’ve planned, or even written in my head, but that never came into being.
I meant to write about the magical moment on the 29th of May, in Naples, when I first bit into a sfogliatella and fell in love. About how I searched high and low for these delicious little pastries in the UK, and almost resorted to baking them myself, even though the pastry requires 2 days and a pasta machine in order to make.
Then there were the stories of the people I met in Tunis, who were so apologetic about the tragedy at the Bardello museum and spent so long explaining what it really means to be Tunisian, and how the terrorist mentality just does not fit with the Tunisian outlook on life.
Or the incredible tapas I found at El Tapeo de Cervantes in Malaga, that completely changed both my perception of what tapas should be, and my hatred of dining alone. When food is that good, who cares about the company, or lack thereof?
There have been so many things that I have seen or done or thought this year that I wanted to share, and yet have not.
Thinking about it, I always had the same excuse – I was too busy. It wasn’t even that I was too busy doing things I love. I was just too busy, too exhausted by the change of pace that comes when you swap mission for a 9 to 5. Too busy filling my time with meaningless busyness to stop and think, let alone to write. What has life come to, when you find yourself too caught up in the day-to-day, to take the time to do the things that make your life worthwhile?
As this new year begins, I don’t want to create a new me. I don’t want to make resolutions I have no intention of keeping. I don’t believe that just wanting to be better is enough. In fact I have no desire to be “better”, especially if the idea of “better” comes from some idealised vision of what the perfect person should be, or how they should behave.
This year, I want to be more like me. The real me that lies underneath all of the expectation and hype. The one that God created and loves and values, despite it all. The one that feels happiest going out wearing jeans that are full of holes, even if everyone else has dressed up. The one that loves to take the time to write about something she cares about, even if no one else ever reads it. The one that sings happy songs about peanut butter while she makes her breakfast. And definitely the one that thinks that playing human hungry, hungry hippos is the most fun you can have on a skateboard.
This is a year to be brave … to be real, all the time, even when people are watching.