As we settle into Autumn and rapidly approach winter I can’t help but feel this year has slipped through my fingers like water. It feels like just last month that my nomadic family congregated from our foreign corners of the globe for Christmas cake and alcohol-infused games of Articulate in the cosy cottage we rented in a Harry-Potter-esque village near Oxford. And here I am again, wearing the wrong kind of footwear as like a child I kick leaves with my mum during long walks in the countryside. Although technically my autumn has literally JUST begun as not four days ago I was wearing shorts and running around causing trouble in Italy in the twenty seven degree heat- but that’s not the point.
As I get older nostalgia hits me in different waves, and as I’ve recently turned the ripe old age of twenty one I can’t help but catch myself reflecting on my past, often being surprised at how long ago something was. And how although I don’t feel any older now than I did then it’s scary to see how much I’ve unknowingly changed since, the most important progression being the increasing care and love I have for my friends and family, the recognition of the value of them and the acts of kindness I less frequently have to remind myself to implement.
I will always say that striving to achieve goals within yourself is the most rewarding and necessary form of growth. That no matter what state your mind or body is in, pushing yourself (within reason) to the best of your abilities will provide you with a satisfaction rarely found in other aspects of your life. Reading books, not just fiction but on all matters even if they’re not your usual choice- going out of your way to make new friends with different backgrounds to give you an educated idea of different cultures. To at least once a day, put down your phone, turn off the TV and to just step outside, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature. To smell it, to touch it, and if your mind is too busy and tangled then to just sit back and allow it to work it’s magic on your physical.
I think a lot of people forget that things don’t come easy and that it requires effort and determination to break unwanted habits. It takes concentration and will power to transform yourself into the person you want to be, the best (or a better) version of the self you were last year. Wanting to spend less time on your phone requires you to actually turn of your phone and leave it at home, or set yourself limited time to be on it. To maintain a healthier lifestyle means you have to actually learn the meaning of this, to introduce new things into your routine in order to make it happen. To be a better friend, a better son or daughter, a better colleague or student- these things require an energy and focus that is easy to wish for but you will always get out of life what you put into it.
And although it may be painful at times, but letting go of the people and the things that don’t have a positive influence on your life to make room for things that do is an imperative part of progression. I am continuously proud of my friends for being strong enough to cut the ties of relationships that have seemingly been holding them back in order to make room for someone who will lift them instead of crush them. For putting a hold on careers to pursue opportunities even if they seem out of their comfort zone, pushing themselves despite of their anxieties as they know this will help shape them into a better person. And for forever encouraging the people around them to accept themselves, regardless of expectation, society, the unwanted opinions of others- and for support, even at a distance with words of kindness and inspiration.
Things in life will let you down, things won’t work out and your time will appear to have been ‘wasted’, but kill with kindness, support others, support yourself and for every nine pieces that don’t quite fit there’ll be that one that make all the others feel irrelevant. That one will make everything you worked for in life seem worth it.