2016: A New Year, The Old Me

”The Secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

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Congratulations, you’ve made it to the year 2016. You’ve survived yet another year of natural selection and that is a rather commendable achievement in today’s times. Survival and what not. Anyway, that’s not really the point of this post. The point of this post is to firstly wish you all an official ‘Happy New Year’, it’s that time of year where we all take out new gym memberships, start new things (on that note I went to a meditation course the other day. I enjoyed it. Didn’t meditate once. Did however notice that I can change the position of my nostrils in numerous ways.), eat healthier, be kinder, work harder, blah blah blah and so the list of things continue as we walk solidly on the road to becoming ‘The New Me’. We’ll see when March comes. That leads me into my second point of this post…

You see, I’ve had these fantastic new years resolutions every single year, in fact I’m pretty sure that I wrote a blog post about them at the beginning of 2015. I’m also pretty sure that I did not adhere to the majority of them. That is the problem about these resolutions, they’re often not sustainable, they’re not coherent with our daily life, they’re not in tune with our personalities and they’re often put into place at a time of year when the stress is at a minimum, when we’re in the holiday zone often at our happiest and we quickly forget how chaotic and crazy life shortly begins to get as the new year marches in. I’ve been wondering how I achieved so few of my 2015 goals, it’s actually quite embarrassing really, is it because I’m not proactive? Is it because I don’t actually care? Is it because I’m lazy? The answer to all those questions is both yes and no.

Of course I care, I care about the state of my beaches, I care about my body and my health, I care about looking good and feeling good, I care about making other people happy, I care about my country, my friends, my family and I care about you. I care but I’m lazy. Ask my mom, she’ll have a field day telling you about how lazy I am whilst I shake my head in disagreement too lazy to argue that I’m not lazy. I forgot during that ‘New Year, New Me’ period about these things, I forgot that I had a hectic final year of studying ahead of me, I forgot that my weekends would be consumed with work, I forgot that I would prioritise surfing above most things in my life therefore leading me to some of the reasons that I actually didn’t do more beach clean-ups last year than I should have or why I didn’t take up kite-surfing, or put up a YouTube video sooner. These are all pathetic excuses I know, but I’m afraid that it is the reality of many people’s lives. I already knew all these things when I was writing my 2015 New Year resolutions but I thought that by some miracle 2015 would make me a better person all-round.

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One of the other resolutions I publicly stated in my post was about introducing new habits. Here is an excerpt: ”Some habits that I would like to introduce is less sugar intake, improved posture, floss more, increase my water intake and do more intense exercise!”. Well guess what Nicole from the past? I ate the same amount of sugar as I did in 2014, my posture if anything got worse, I definitely did not floss more, I was as useless about my water intake as I’ve ever been (in my defence I do have the bladder a size of a pea, so that doesn’t really work in my favour) & my exercise was…well, the same intensity that I’ve been doing for the past three years.

If I knew all this now I could have saved myself a lot of guilt whilst reading that past post. But the point is that we all try to change & that has to count for something right? We all try…until February comes knocking at the door holding Netflix & pizza, asking if I want to chill. ‘Yes February! Yes, I want to Netflix & chill dammit!’

So this year I’ve not set any goals or resolutions and not because I don’t have any, I have many things that I’m working towards but because of life itself. Life’s inconsistencies. Life’s spontaneity. Because life happens. Because even if I did set new resolutions in place, guess what? It’s still going to be the same Nicole as last year saying the same weird comments, still surfing the same break everyday despite ht fact that there about 5 better ones up the road. It’s still the same Nicole that dislikes waking up early & takes half an hour before actually enjoying human company. It’s still the same Nicole with the same passions that fuel me, inspire me, drive me forward. It’s still the same Nicole in every way except that I have one more degree to add to my name, which is pretty cool actually. It’s still the same Nicole who remembers my teacher telling me that I should ”Never start a sentence with ‘because”’…and I just did that. Twice. It is the same Nicole with different visions, different challenges and different opportunities compared to last year, compared to last month, compared to yesterday even. I often think that the goals that we set at the beginning of the year are unrealistic and inflexible. I realise that this is a sweeping statement & I’m sure there are a number of you who actually stick your goals out to the end. I acknowledge & respect that.

My year 2016 is extremely different to any other year of my life. I am no longer a student. I’m a ‘working woman’ trying to pursue my dreams, and what is that you might ask? Right now it’s traveling. Seeing how the world works, seeing waves on every continent, watching strangers from different cultures going about their day, immersing myself within nature from the rainforests to the desert, learning more about my continent, seeing the problematic issues first hand and telling you about what I see, writing my experiences, my thoughts and documenting my journey. Ideally making money to support myself at the same time through grabbing opportunities that come my way via my blog & my new YouTube channel which I’ve just kicked off. I’ll tell you one thing though, its scary. Lots of my friends have started working this year, jobs that society would consider a ‘proper job’ such as engineering, teaching, law and medicine, which makes me feel more uneasy & uncertain about this year as this path is one of the most uncertain and inconsistent ones available, despite how amazing it looks. I’ll tell you another thing, I’m more determined than ever to make this work, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been in my life to work, to sit down and create content, to write, to film & edit videos, to develop my photography and of course to explore the world.

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So I guess that my point is: life changes all the time. Every second of every day. One minute I had a timetable in front of me that mapped out my entire year from January to December, and the next that timetable was over, December was ticked off & it was thrown in the bin before a fresh blank calendar was put in front of me except this time there were no schedules, no routine & no teacher showing me the ropes. Here I am, halfway through January, pretty plan-less, stressing slightly, excited mainly.

Don’t try & create a ‘New Me’, no-one wants a new you, we liked the old you, unless you throw your cigarette butts out of your car window…then by all means create a ‘New Me’. My approach is to just incorporate new things into my life everyday if I can, if I have an hour spare I’ll make the effort to go for a run, learn something new or read an interesting book. Why don’t we make 2016 the year about you & me, about learning to love ourselves without the need for drastic change or without having to create new updated versions of ourselves as we tend to do every year. I am by no means encouraging no change in our lives, change is important and change is vital to our growth. This year is the biggest change I’ve ever encountered. I’m not saying stay in your comfort zones either, in fact I would encourage the very opposite. I guess I’m just saying make positive realistic changes in your life, but make changes that don’t alter your personality, fit in with your busy schedule and your lifestyle, because you are you and the 1st of January shouldn’t try and change that.

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