Imbolc, the Celtic celebration of spring, falls on February 1st. It’s more commonly referred to as St. Brigid’s Day (Lé Fhéile Bhríde). But St. Brigid was a pagan godess before she was ever a Saint. Imbolc (roughly translated as ‘in the belly’) is a time associated with renewal and looking forward as the days begin to lengthen and the abundance of spring approaches. So really, it’s a far better time to think about your intentions for year ahead as opposed to in a hungover, fear filled, strapped for cash state on January 1st.
I don’t really buy into the whole ‘New Year, New You’ idea. The idea that you need to recreate yourself can all too easily become a way to focus on your flaws and look for validation in external things. It can also very easily become a stick to beat yourself with.
We live in a culture of ‘never enough’ that is constantly telling us that we are not beautiful/thin/successful/happy/wealthy/sexual/healthy enough. None of us are perfect, but part of being your true self is holding the belief that we are enough as we are. We don’t need a new self. We need to resist the message that our existing selves are in constant need of an upgrade.
You don’t need a new you. You’re grand as you are. Great in fact.
There’s no harm in using a new year to set intentions for things you want to achieve, or that will keep you motivated. That’s all good. Four years ago I promised myself I’d go back to horse riding regularly and have gone every week since. Each year I make a list of places I want to visit in the year ahead. A year ago I went to my first ARC meeting and what followed has impacted my life in a multitude of ways.
If you want to change your eating habits, start a hobby, take a trip, exercise more, then absolutely set that intention for yourself. I’m all in favour of anything that makes us happier and healthier; we are, after all, the privileged few who can control things like diet, exercise and career. It might seem pedantic, but to me it’s all about nurturing a mindset that brings you closer to who you really are, rather than striving for a ‘new you’.
So this year, just be you. Be the most you. Be the happiest you. Be the most authentic you.
A few good things have happened in the last few weeks and months that I feel have helped me start 2018 off in a positive way. None of these things make me a ‘new me’, they just make me a little bit happier, healthier and more me.
- I took Facebook off my phone a few months ago. I’ve realised there is absolutely nothing to be gained by having constant access to Facebook. Not only is it an unproductive use of time, it also feeds into the unhealthy cycle of looking for fleeting validation and satisfaction. I don’t need to go down those rabbit holes, or like that status, or view that random photo. I still need to use Facebook for certain things, but I don’t need to look at it 50 times a day. I find this has already cleared out mental and emotional space for other more productive and positive things.
- I got my first set of wireless headphones and am not entirely sure what I’ve been doing up to this point. Wires are so 2016.
- Reducing the amount of faffing on Facebook has cleared time for listening to loads of deadly podcasts. The Blindboy Podcast, Reveal, Deviant Women, Where Should We Begin?, The Atlanta Monster, Black Hands, the entire backlog of Revisionist History,, Criminal, The Guilty Feminist…. I’ve also gone to the cinema three times this month (alot for me!) and generally have more time for reading, writing and repealing.
- Someone told me when I was a kid that lipstick is made from ground up horse hooves. I could never shake that off. I recently realised that this was *most likely* not true (although apparently it does contain ground up beetles?!). Safe in the knowledge that I’m not actually smearing bits of horse on my lips, I’ve started wearing lipstick for the first time in 20 years. Admittedly, I keep forgetting this fact and never re-apply the bloody stuff, but for the first hour or so of a night out, I look pretty glam.
- I went back to regular yoga classes.
The only intention I have set for 2018 is to ride the waves of whatever life throws at me (January isn’t even over and I already have to move out of the house I only moved into 4 months ago). And of course, most importantly, to do as much as I physically, emotionally and mentally can to Repeal the 8th amendment.
So here’s to a non-facebooky, wireless, informative, glam, no-more-house-moves-please, stretchy and repealy 2018.