2018 marks the 21st time I’ve seen in a New Year. Over that time, I’ve seen in the New Year in various ways – at home with family and close family friends, watching movies and playing board games, skinny dipping at a friends’ bach, partying at summer festivals surrounded by thousands of other young people filled with hope and excitement for the New Year, letting off and watching fireworks that were sort of disappointing but we loved them anyway – and more.

Over that time, one thing has constantly drawn my attention.

“Laters 2016, you were shit.”

“Glad to see you gone, 2017.”

Warranted, people go through some rough stuff throughout a year. Trust me, I know. However, this ‘good riddance’ mindset is something that’s always bothered me a little bit. Why focus on the negative when you could focus on what you learned and the positives?

This year I struggled with my own mental health, impacting relationships with the people that I love and the things I love to do. I hit my lowest point and didn’t know where to go from there. But I asked for help and found a way out of the hole I had buried myself in.

In going into the New Year, I choose to focus on the positives I found in the darkness – the love I felt from all those around me, the strength I found inside myself and power I now have in being able to share and help others going through similar, the acceptance I found in myself towards my anxiety and determination to not let it stop me being with who and doing what I love.

I don’t know everything, but I do know this. No good comes from dwelling on the past. Accept and move forward, don’t continue hating on something that you can no longer change, or something that probably changed you for the better – despite it being shit.

This is my challenge to you, in leaving behind 2017, and setting out for 2018; Respect yourself, your past, your present, and future. Don’t dwell, don’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to others or wouldn’t let others say to you, and constantly strive to be the best possible version of yourself.

Happy New Year!

Photo Matthew Smith

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