Tuesday, December 6, 2016
I think most of us have been waiting for December for different reasons than usual this year - maybe not for Christmas and 'Holidays are coming' adverts, the standard ear markers we'd count as the winding down of another year - perhaps just to reach the end of what has been a trying time for so many.
Last month, we had a Thanksgiving meal at work (add to my ever-growing list of things in my life I'm grateful for), and everyone was tasked with writing their thankfulness on leaves and adding them to a Thanksgiving tree. So many of those notes said: 'I'm thankful 2016 will end' and 'I'm thankful for term limits' and 'I'm thankful Brexit wasn't the stupidest decision this year' - it's clear that everyone's scale of thinking was a lot larger than the usual 'I'm thankful for my home' and 'I'm thankful for my job'. 2016 seemed to be the year so much became unavoidable for so many who had preferred to live with blinkers on.
Yes, I'm looking forward to the year being at an end. But I have to believe that all of this happened to move us forward. Over the past few months, when I've been feeling heartsick or sad, I've kept a saying in my mind that I stumbled across a little while back. It said: 'We cannot become what we want by remaining where we are.' This has been everything to hold on to, because to me it says that change is necessary for our wellbeing. And this period of my life, and it would seem so many peoples' lives, has been nothing if not turbulent with change.
Rather than ruminate too much the hardships and struggles we've faced and will continue to, I want to propose that we enjoy this month. We enjoy the days left of our year, we smile big, we hold our loved ones close, drink and eat and share together, fill our time with everything we love. There is no greater revenge than happiness, and we can start now, today. I give you permission, even in the face of the biggest odds, to let yourself be joyful. I hope you have a merry month ahead.
SEE: I am beyond excited for Rogue One this month, so that is very high on the list. This time of year also reminds me of going to the ballet with my mum when I was a kid, so if you get the chance and that's your thing, the English National Ballet is bringing The Nutcracker to Liverpool this month. Perfect for Christmas! And have you all seen this H&M Christmas advert by Wes Anderson? I loooove it.
LISTEN: There's so much good, new music in December, I feel like I'm being spoilt! 2016 definitely hasn't been lacking in the music stakes, and we continue the theme with Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino. It's SUCH a different sound for him, I'm blown away. What a multitalented and ridiculously good-looking human. My fave? Redbone.
GO: Into the woods! I have the biggest craving to be surrounded by trees and woodland and nothingness - Norway is calling me, but until I can afford to plan a trip there, one of these cabins in Yorkshire will do?
EAT: Gyoza gyoza gyoza - we discovered the Oxford Gloucester Green market's food section and oh my goodness the hot fresh gyoza there. So delicious. However if you're not local, I'm also so glad we finally have a Leon in town - try one if you have one nearby, pick up the meatballs! And 'tis also the season for the Pret Christmas sandwich which is, to be honest, worth waiting a full year for.
DRINK: Every warm thing - England has been SO unseasonally cold - like minus 5 degrees every morning - which leaves you in need of many many warm things. I can vouch personally for the Fudge Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. All the sugar.
WEAR: All I want for Christmas is this red dress from Zara. Have you ever seen a more perfect Christmas party dress? It's perfection. I want to swish in it all night long!
READ: I'm hoping to get a lot of reading done over the holiday period, so I'll probably be working through my backlog of books I've been ignoring for too long, but if I were gifted anything this Christmas I would love to read The Light Between Oceans ahead of the film coming out!
THINK: Pause. I'm well and truly slowing down, clocking off and checking out for hibernate mode over the Christmas holidays, and I don't feel bad about it at all. I've let a lot of things I care about suffer over the latter half of this year, not least this blog, and I'm looking forward to taking some time to truly disconnect and re-evaluate what I want to put my energy into, where I want to spend my time and how that will look for the new year. I hope you guys will afford yourself the same!