When we ring in the new year, I, like a lot of people I know, never consciously make any resolutions. It’s for the same reason I always take issue with the idea of dieting, the pressure you can put on yourself to rigidly stick to it seems unreasonable and immediately sets you up for failure. The moment you utter ‘I’m going to eat clean and green this year‘ you will always be flooded with guilt the moment you succumb to chocolate or fast food. We are fallible beings, prone to slip-ups and mishaps and ‘cheat days’, and we shouldn’t feel like failures for those things, but we always do. So I’ve never put the pressure of a resolution on myself, always thinking ‘it would be nice to…’ but without ever actually committing to whatever that might be. Until now. Sort of.
As the months have progressed I began to realise I had made a start on some of the more common resolutions, despite never intending to make them. For starters, I began exercising regularly. I know that isn’t a revolutionary idea to most people, but exercise has never come naturally to me. I went running with a friend every now and again last year, but we went pretty sporadically and so struggled to improve on our distance and time as we essentially had to start over each time we went. But we decided to give it another go this year, and with the days finally starting to get longer again we can go out in the evenings rather than trying to fit a run in during the day. It was surprisingly easy to get back in to, we still are nowhere near 5k ready, but we have our own goals set and any ground gained feels like an achievement each time we go out. We run by the beach and even though it can be bitterly cold, it is so calming and refreshing to be running there in the evenings that it definitely feels good for my mental health as well.
I also finally made use of the Duolingo app that I have had sitting unused on my phone for well over a year now. After many an Italian getaway over the last few years I started to feel confident with the basics (and I mean basics) and so decided to give learning it a go. So far I have been completing a lesson each day, well almost, every day – I’ve missed two days in total, and lost my ‘streak’ of 23 days back in February, which I was far more annoyed and disappointed by than I expected to be – though I have gained it back now. I can certainly say more than before, which still isn’t much and I know that to even be conversational it will take a lot of time and effort, but I am surprised by how much I have picked up and retained just by spending five minutes on it each day. While some of the modules are so painfully repetitive, I like that I have multiple learning modules available, so I can switch it up whenever I get fed up of typing and repeating ‘ciao‘ five times in a row. And, the repetition helps, mistakes I was making frequently when I started are becoming few and far between, which makes me feel like I’m gaining some ground. I’m enjoying learning it, and can’t see myself giving up on it as I have at so many other attempts to learn another language.
Io leggo un libro (to tenuously link this paragraph to the previous one). Well, actually Io leggo more than un libro, but I haven’t got to numbers yet in my app or even just the Italian for ‘many’ or ‘some’, and I just wanted to show off my new-found language skills! All of that is to say that I have read a fair amount already this year. I’m a reader anyway, but last year I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to. It was actually a pretty pitiful reading year for me, and I knew I wanted to correct that this year. I suppose this is the only purposeful resolution I made at the beginning of the year. I’ve tried to set time aside, so far I haven’t quite managed to make sure I read every evening, which is the ideal. But I have so far read five novels, a poetry collection and some other smaller reads on my shelf, and while most of them were not stand-out reads for me, one of them has become a new favourite and I’m glad to be getting back into the habit of reading.
I’ve also applied for a Library card, which I haven’t had since I was a teenager and needed books for A-Level History (which I never properly read, resulting in disastrous essay writing attempts). I’ve decided that I want to avoid buying physical books for the first half of the year, and a library card seems like a great way to cheat my own self imposed ban. I also like that it gives me access to select audio and ebooks, something I will definitely be taking advantage of. Until recently I also never really thought too much about what a great resource a local library is, and so I want to support mine.
There are so many other inadvertent resolutions that I have started this year and been keeping too, but this is long enough as it is. So the final one I’ll mention will be quick, this blog. Ok, so I’ve only just started it, but per my first post, I’ve put off utilising this platform for so damn long, the fact that there is now an actual layout I don’t completely hate and actual posts that I am actively trying to create, feels like a pretty big deal for me. I also really wanted to write more this year and a blog seems like a great way to flex that figurative muscle. So I guess this is perhaps a more concrete resolution, two and a half months into the year, to continue to flex that muscle.
Io scrivo, tu leggi? (I’m working on it)