Do you remember episode 15 of Season 3 of the Hills when LC exclaimed at Heidi:
"All there is left to do is to forgive and forget. So, I want to forgive you, and I want to forget you!"
This is exactly how I feel about 2015.
I would like to forgive 2015 for all the unfortunate things which occurred even though they will allow me to learn and become the person I want to be, but I would also like to forget some of those things because bringing them into my future will not allow me to grow and achieve the goals I want.
Sometimes when you are faced with a new year you frantically look for resolutions and yes, it is a cliché, but starting a new year is the perfect opportunity to set yourself challenges. For me, starting a challenge half way through the year would be a nightmare (because I am a little neurotic and OCD about things being in order) so here is a snippet of my list of things I vow to do in 2016.
When I was 5, and as suggested by my mother, I wrote a journal every year over my six-week summer holidays to document our vacations. This included where we stayed, what we did, which museums we visited and all the hilarious occurrences which took place during our travels. My mother always encouraged me to keep a memoir because she was so dismayed by my fragmented and poor memory of what we did the year prior. She always complained that I never remembered anything nice about what we did (and still do) so I promised her to keep a diary every single day which I subsequently did for 16 years.
Every now and then, when I **reluctantly** do a little bit of a spring clean, I find myself rummaging through and reliving all of those memories of being the usual teenager with a lot of angst. The reason why I maintained a diary for so long was because I struggled to speak about my feelings growing up and I used it as an outlet. I managed to keep the exciting dreams and tried to get rid of all of my worries on paper, then I was able to put it back on my shelf and continue with my day. It has certainly helped me grow up and learn more about myself. In 2015, I neglected this so this year I vow to stick to it as writing is extremely good for helping maintain a healthy state of mind which is something I am currently working on.
Practice Yoga Every Day
Yoga is something I was recently introduced to in 2015. About a year ago, I had toyed with the idea but I thought it was rather pretentious with all the bad press Hipsters seemed to get. Nevertheless, I finally took the plunge and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I therefore turned up to my gym's yoga class wearing my newly purchased lycra yoga pants (of course!) and an open mind.
Our yoga teacher, I can remember quite clearly, had a very soothing voice, the type you could fall asleep to which was perfect for this setting. However, I was somewhat distracted, for the whole duration of the class, by my mind begging my bowels not to let one rip. Considering the class encouraged Pranayama breathing (breathing through your nose) which is practically silent, you could barely hear a pin drop. So the idea of me attempting the Salamba Sarvangasana (see photo below) with wind is near impossible. I could not handle the stress it caused, ironically, and didn't go for months.
Fast forward to now, when I am a little wiser and have taught myself to work on my pelvic floor exercises, I have finally returned to my mat gracefully and I am able to reap all the benefits Yoga offers. I vow to spend at least 15 minutes practicing yoga every morning before work as it sets you up for a great day. It teaches you to live in the moment and to be grateful for what you have right in front of you.
If, like me, you are frightened of being seen in any wonky upside pose, check out www.yogaglo.com to get you started. Here you will find online yoga classes (and meditation!) to suit your ability and you can do it from the comfort of your own home (in private!).
Finish knitting the scarf
As this blog's theme is about challenges and goals, knitting is a perfect candidate for 2016 as the ultimate goal here is to FINISH. Knitting is one of those amazing pastimes you can start and drop at any time of the year. It is a great hobby if you like being a crafty so-and-so. I picked up knitting because I thought it was super easy and therapeutic but the only people I saw knitting, however, were old people. I think we should bring it back!!!
Before Christmas, I bought three red wool yarns, two 7cm sticks and got cracking. I now carry my basket around the house and knit all day long whilst watching my favourite television show or quietly listen to a playlist I have made. I am now three quarters of the way and have gained such a sense of achievement that I have finally learnt how to purl without dropping a stitch and how to measure my tension so my scarf isn't wonky. I WILL finish it.
Complete the Great Wall of China Marathon
So I suppose the whole purpose of writing this blog really is to essentially document my training for the Great Wall of China Marathon. For those who do not know, I will, on 21st May 2016, embark on a journey to China to test my physical and mental state in aid of my beloved mental health charity, Mind, who have helped me and thousands of others through difficult times.
The reason why I chose The Great Wall of China Marathon was because I hate stairs or anything with an incline. I will purposefully avoid taking the route with a hill or will indefinitely choose taking the lift rather the stairs. I can run and I can walk; but I decided I needed to stop being such a cop out and not only challenge myself but do something which will benefit others. Luckily, I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to join running communities such as, LDN Brunch Club, which is a London-based running club which you can check out here. I am also training with London's Run Dem Crew which also helps me with my training. You can check them out here.
Mind is an amazing charity which does so much to help people with mental illnesses. They provide support and assistance to those who are unable to deal with certain things in their lives, such as a stressful lifestyle or a life changing event which has taken its toll. Mental illness can vary from depression to personality disorder to anxiety which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK alone and every week over 100 people in the UK take their own lives.
The money I hope I raise through running the Great Wall of China Marathon could mean someone dealing with anxiety, depression or bipolar can find the information and support they have been looking for.
It would mean a lot if you would donate, even a little amount, to Mind to give people suffering with mental illness the support and respect they deserve. Thank you.
And to end on a lighter note, and quite rightly so, my main vow and advice to everyone for 2016 is to be happy. 2015 ended quite badly and a lot of things last year triggered my depression which sent me into a spiralling decline into Mordor. I definitely would like to avoid that and by doing all the above, I hope it sends me into the right direction again. Thankfully I have the support of friends and family around me but I would also like to share what I have learnt with others who may not have that support. By writing this blog, I will be 100% transparent with my training for the marathon and also with my personal mental health development.
So get off that sofa and go for a run. Turn off your phone and read a book. Challenge yourself, set yourself those goals and aim to complete them. Do not live your life according to others, do not forget to love yourself and most importantly, do not forget to be happy.