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Happy New Splaft

by Sarah Goldsmith


New Year can be a horribly desolate time of year for so many of us. What should be a time of promise and possibility can be laden with pressure and feelings of inadequacy.

I usually hate this time of year, that in-between bit when nobody knows quite what to do with themselves. All the expectation of a month or more of fun and frolics in the festive season is as dead as the turkey we gorged ourselves on from Christmas Day and beyond. The excitement and anticipation have been switched off along with the fairy lights that have twinkled through the last few weeks. Quite frankly, it feels like being stuck in a limbo as stale as the sausage rolls and pigs-in-blankets still lurking in a plastic box at the back of the fridge.

As soon as New Year’s Day rears its ugly head I typically find myself retreating deep within myself, wallowing in wretched thoughts of all the things I didn’t achieve last year. I torture myself by going over my old resolutions and realising I didn’t keep any of them. It’s like the New Year arrives with a massive splaft, dumping a ton of negativity down on my head with every bong of Big Ben as we leave the old year behind.

Happy New Splaft you loser! Here’s where you screwed up last year!

Bong! Splaft! You didn’t exercise every day like you promised.

Bong! Splaft! You didn’t learn French like you said you would.

Bong! Splaft! You didn’t take up a new hobby like you vowed.

Bong! Splaft! You didn’t write nearly enough like you whined on about.

Bong! Splaft! You didn’t read as many novels as you wanted to.

I could go on, but my God it’s utterly depressing. And so I usually begin the New Year feeling depressed, useless and woefully inadequate, dragging myself through the first few weeks with a filthy cloud raining over me. Eventually, I then try to chivvy myself along, making a whole new batch of promises and resolutions for me to achieve before the year fades away once more.

But why should it be this way? It’s just another day, just another month. Why should we set ourselves up for a fall by setting ourselves ridiculous goals that we might not be able to achieve, thus leaving us feeling we have failed when January 1st rolls around once more?

This New Year I am taking control. Yes, it’s true that some of the things I set myself 12 months ago didn’t quite work out. But this time around I refuse to dwell on anything negative. Instead, I’ve looked at what I did manage to achieve last year.

And you know what? I didn’t do too badly after all.

I wrote, edited and styled a collection of short stories and self-published it on Amazon. Sure, it wasn’t easy and J K Rowling’s publishing crown won’t be displaced by my work (yet!), but I’m proud of myself. I’ve built up a modest number of followers and supporters here at Medium, some of whom I’m lucky to be able to now call friends. I’ve started facing up to my demons, as spoken about in a couple of articles here, and I’m learning to deal with my insecurities.

So while I didn’t learn to play the piano, or ride a horse, or swear in fifteen different languages, I did enjoy one or two highs and that’s enough to keep the glums at bay.

New Year is still a boring, drab period on the calendar. We’re all poorer than we were, we’re probably all sick to the back teeth of chocolates and mulled wine, and everything feels deflated.

Forget making complicated resolutions and don’t beat yourself up about the ones you didn’t stick to last year. None of it matters. Concentrate on the things you did achieve, the things you’re proud of, no matter how small or how trivial they might appear. Those triumphs, whatever their size, are what’ll keep you going and will put the splaft firmly in its place.