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Friday, 17 January 2014

Blogmas #11: A Happier New Year.

So this year I said I wasn’t going to do New Year’s resolutions, because I didn’t need the pressure really. But here we are, a few weeks in, and I’m already making (and, dare I say it, keeping) three different ones. Maybe it’s an addiction. Or maybe there’s just a lot about me that needs to change!
I’ve got three separate ones, and if all goes well, I’ll actually be talking about them on three different websites! We shall see. For now, here’s a brief summary:
1)      Make every minute count (in other words, stop faffing around and actually do things)
2)      Move more! Recapping on my summer fitness regime, and bringing myself up to scratch so my back doesn’t get stiff.
3)      STOP WORRYING. That’s what I’ll be talking about today.

I’m a worrier. I worry. A lot. I’ve probably touched on this a few times before. I’ve also mentioned before that there are a lot of people who I love very much.
This is a recipe for disaster.
You see, if something is wrong in my own life—maybe something bad has happened to me, or  I’m concerned about my exams, or I’ve had a fall-out with a friend... If it’s me with the problem, then that’s sad, but I know all the ins and outs of the situation and how I’m feeling about it. I can chat to my friends and family who will help, and I always know deep down that things will be better soon.
But what about when my friend has a problem? Which of course, since they’re human, they will. And they’ll confide in me, which I love. But when a friend is upset, it worries me to death. Because I don’t know all the ins and outs. I don’t know how they’re really feeling. I know it’s bad, but is it a serious bad, or an “I’ll be OK after a cookie” bad? I have no way of knowing. And that scares me. I think about them all the time, they occupy even more of my mind than food does. If that’s not serious, I don’t know what is.
I’m sure there are people like priests, psychiatrists, schoolteachers, maybe even parents, I wouldn’t know, who can listen to someone’s problems, sympathise, try to help, give advice, worry a bit, and then get on with their own lives.
Not so for me. I know I could never do any of those jobs.
A little while ago, a problem affected my group of friends. It wasn’t really anything to do with me, but it touched all of us in some way or another. People confided in me about it, and I was glad. I love that my friends can come and talk to me about anything, and I’m always ready to listen and try to help (which I rarely can, but howsoever...)
It all began to get a little much. I felt like I was being pulled further into the situation and couldn’t get out. I had my own things to deal with: school tests, and just... my own life, I suppose. It got to the point when I’d come home from a long day at school and there’d be some other development to panic over. I was afraid to check Facebook or text anyone, in case I’d be pulled into something else. I couldn’t concentrate at school. I was afraid to talk to people in case I said something I shouldn’t. And I didn’t talk much about my feelings because there just didn’t seem room for me to have feelings right then. I didn’t have the right.
One particularly bad night, I was losing sleep. This had been going on for a while. My mum came in to talk to me and I told her a bit about what was going on. It all sounded rather pathetic when I said it out loud, and on some level I knew that. That was what scared me: why was it affecting me so? She pointed out, not that I was in any way ready to hear it at the time, that in five months’ time everyone would have forgotten about their current problems, and I wouldn’t have a clue what was on the exam.
So my New Year’s Resolution (number three) is to stop worrying. Or at least, stop worrying so much about things I can’t change. To be a bit more selfish in some ways (not that I’m exactly Mother Teresa right now), and remember that my friends and family are not stupid. They can look after themselves. Maybe. A bit.
I started thinking about this last weekend. I was staying in England with my parents, there to visit Cub for the first time.
I looked around at my family, from the oldest member to the new, and thought deeply about my resolution. Really, honestly, everyone was fine. 2013 had been an eventful year, and not the easiest for any of us. But here we all were, still alive. We had survived. Cub was lying in someone’s arms and as long as there was enough food and a warm place to sleep, he was fine. Why can’t the rest of us be like that?
I went up to my hotel room that night and turned off my phone. Ran a bath,. Soaked for a while. Lounged on the bed. Raided the free biscuits. Then I took some advice from “The Women” and asked myself the same thing Meg Ryan did. “What do I want?”

I wrote out a list. The top thing was “get to university”. I had to stop myself writing “for x to be happy” and so forth. I just focused on me.
In the morning, I went for a walk and practised being selfish. England is a much easier country to be selfish in. You don’t even have to make eye-contact with people if you don’t want to. Some might find that cold, but it can be a blessed relief when you’re trying to focus on yourself.
Nobody comes up and grabs you in the street or shouts at you or randomly tells you their problems. Then again, nobody asks how you are... but I’ll sacrifice one for the other when I’m focusing on me.
I went into a café and thought. I didn’t worry about how my family were getting on, or what was going on back in Ireland. I thought about my writing. I thought about going to uni. I thought about one day getting married and having kids.
None of that would be affected by the ups and downs of my friends.  
If someone has a problem, they can still come and talk to me. But I’m not going to tip toe round it any more. I’m going to tell them what I think and feel, and tell them if I have a problem (because occasionally I do). Then I’ll leave them, trust them to deal with it on their own. When I’m in French class, I’ll be thinking about French, not the latest secret I’ve been told.
If you;re having this problem, just remember that everyone else is just like you. And if you can cope with your life (even if only by the skin of your teeth), they can too. Any kind of relationship is about the give and take... Don’t be afraid to take just a little of what you give. Don’t be afraid to say, “Can I just concentrate on myself today?”

If your friends are as brilliant as mine are, they’ll understand. They’ll want you to be a little selfish.

What do you want? 
If nobody else existed, what would you be doing?
What do you love, besides other people?

Focus on this. You have friends because of who you are. So just concentrate on being you for a while.

Whew. That was deep and personal and whatnot! That’s going to be the last of its kind for a while, as Blogmas is coming to an end! I’m sorry it’s taken so long, but I have mock exams in three weeks! The last Blogmas post will relate to Christmas presents. Unfortunately my wonderful Christmas present of a new phone, which I do love, lost all my pictures, so I have to get friends to photograph their own prezzies! Anyway, look out for that in the next few days and Merry January! ;) x

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