It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Since August, to be precise, where I furiously tapped out this post on people glamourizing other people’s lives. Last year I told you about the struggles of living in Barcelona, and while I’m still processing the fact I live here now and am also still challenged daily, my promise to myself this year is to write more, about everything. The good, the bad, the downright ug-uh-ly. I was so focused on setting up my life here that pretty much everything else took a backseat.
I don’t need to explain how god-awful 2016 was. We all know. Personally, it was possibly my toughest year yet. I learned a lot about myself. I’m glad of that, but this year I want – and need – to give myself a break.
I got a job as a writer in Barcelona. On applying for the job, I never for one second thought I’d even be considered. I had a severe lack of experience in the sector. A severe lack of experience in almost all of the ‘essential attributes’ section. But, having no other options except desperately trying to survive a whole summer of no teaching (pretty much everything stops in Spain during summer), with no other prospects, I submitted an application. I was on the verge of returning to the UK because I simply couldn’t anymore, because I’d all but given up on being able to make a life here that wasn’t a battle.
To cut a long story, several phone interviews and in-person interviews later, I was offered the job. I was ecstatic, but still couldn’t find it in me to be proud of myself, despite what I’d achieved and how I’d proved myself wrong. People told me how brave I was to come here alone and start a new life. I shrugged it off, told them “ha, stupid more like!”. Well, fuck that.
No longer will I shove myself into that dark corner where I don’t value myself or believe that all good things that happen to me are just ‘coincidences’ or ‘luck’, rather than hard work, perseverance and a whole fucking shedload of resilience. I have been brave. I’ve done this alone (with a lot of help from some very special people). I am worthy of my own praise and applause.
I have resolutions and goals for 2017, but they’re all wrapped up in one bigger thing: a promise to treat myself better.
I want to establish better routines for myself. Instead of rushing out of the flat in the morning, I want to take my time, listen to a podcast while ambling to work, maybe while grabbing a coffee on the way.
I’m going to visit my favourite cafes and write. I’m going to visit my favourite cafes and do nothing but sit and watch what’s going on around me.
I’m going to moisturise and look after my skin, and not just with the cheap stuff from the supermarket. Invest. Invest in good skincare, in good technology, in people, in time. Stop choosing the easiest, the cheapest option.
I’ll stop waiting for special occasions to wear more lipstick, those outrageous shades saved for nights out and dinners. I’ll wear the clothes I save for ‘special occasions’ (there are never any special occasions) to work, to the supermarket, to walk around the barrio.
The big one. I’ll quit smoking, for good, for ever.
I’m going to educate myself. Read more. Start that side project with a friend. Challenge myself to learn about the things I’m not familiar with. Seek out information outside of my screens.
I’m going to strengthen my existing relationships. The ones that matter to me. Spend less time chasing the people who don’t give back. Use the time I spend on my phone more wisely.
I’m going to try and embrace Barcelona. It’s not perfect, but it’s home, for now. See the best in the city instead of the worst. Enjoy what’s on offer, even if it means going downtown every once in a while…
I’ll slow down. Stop rushing. Stop trying to do everything at once. Take everything at my own pace.
I’ll document more, everywhere. I’ll fill the empty notebooks that line my shelf.
I’m going to get my own flat, no matter how hard it’ll be.
Finally, I’m going to get out into the world. Use my weekends to see more of Spain and Europe. Use my holidays to visit countries I’ve never been to before. Even explore the corners of Barcelona I’ve left previously untouched.
Here’s to a gentle, gracious, and promising year ahead.