I’ve never really been very good at New Years Resolutions. I’ll admit, I’ve tried coming up with some most years, gone as far as writing them down and sticking them up next to my mirror at home, and perhaps even posting them on social media in the hopes that the fear of social humiliation will help me to keep them. But I suck. I forget that I’m not supposed to drink carbonated drinks, or I turn my alarm off and go back to sleep instead of getting up to meditate, and my fresh gym membership sits in card form in my bag, staring out at my guilty face whenever I open my wallet to pay for yet another latte.
The funny thing is, as scared as I am of resolutions, I’ve never in my life felt as invigorated to take one on as I do right now.
Maybe it’s the ‘new year, new me’ mentality that’s currently splashed across social media every time I turn my phone on, maybe it’s the result of a genuine holiday come-down after returning from a month in Thailand, or maybe I’ve just reached a natural turning point in my journey. Because, in all honesty, I’m so ready for the next thing, whatever that may be. More than just being ready for it, I’m hungry for it, scared by it, and anxious to embrace it. Which is why I’m doing something I never do, something that’s going to be difficult, and something I may well fail at: this year, I’m making a resolution.
When I was traveling, what stuck with me most wasn’t the incredible views and the endless beers (although those will always have a special place in my heart), but rather the amazing people I got to chat to and the ways that they are living their lives. A young Thai American woman told me how she’d moved to San Diego from Bangkok to open an authentic Thai restaurant. An old Canadian man left his luxury life in Vancouver to open a bar in Phuket. Two amazing Czech guys traveled all the way to Thailand to rock climb, because it makes them feel more alive than anything else can. A new British friend climbed the Himalayas solo, because it was one of his dreams, and isn’t that reason enough?
Wherever I looked, whenever I stopped long enough to start a conversation, I was offered endless stories of the rich, and full, and brave lives people are living. So, with my toes in the sand as the fireworks went off on New Years Eve, I made a decision: this year, I will be brave.
It’s so easy for me to get caught up in my own head, to overthink things, to rework and reword and reject my own thoughts and opinions and feelings. And I know that this is always due to one thing – fear. My life is so comfortable, and the thing about comfort is that IT’S BLOODY COMFORTABLE. Why would I leave a spot that’s warm and safe and dry and easy? Why would I risk difficulty and hardship and pain, when I can just sit in my spot and be content?
The answer comes in two different forms, though they pretty much boil down to the same thing. The first is from the bravest and most open person I know, my Mum, who has said to us for as long as I can remember: ‘If you’re very very careful, nothing bad, or good, will ever happen to you.’ And then, much more recently, I found inspiration in a new friend: ‘When people think about risk, they think about the potential of losing something of value. Risk is the opposite – what we need to remember is that without risk, without challenge, without uncertainty, life loses its beauty.’
With these two thoughts in my brain and my feet firmly in my shoes, I challenge myself to be brave and to push myself consistently this year – and who knows, hopefully every year after. I’m anxious, and choosing to venture out of my comfort zone and be brave is certainly easier said than done. But that’s the thing – at the end of the day, I firmly believe that even deciding to try is the first step.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.
Be fucking brave.