Tom Gardiner

A Year of Calm

TL;DR - I'm done with stress and worrying (and usually for no good reason), so I declare my 2021 to be: the Year of Calm.

At the start of 2020, CGP Grey proclaimed that New Year's Resolutions are bad. Setting goals and specific targets leaves you feeling unaccomplished and worse than when you started. He described the idea of yearly themes, whereby you don't set targets but instead focus generally on a theme to guide you through the year in a rough direction that is more positive for you. For example, instead of "lose X weight by Y time", your theme could be the "year of health" where, when given an opportunity, you take an action towards that theme, regardless of how miniscule or drastic it is.

It feels as though I have inherited the "worry" gene from my Dad. I like to overthink hypothetical situations and plan out interactions in advance, and it almost certainly never pans out the way I imagined. I clench my jaws whilst doing most of my daily tasks. That brain power could be used for being more productive, or relaxing, or anything number of infinitely more positive things.

In 2021, I am moving from Worcestershire to Scotland, and I would like to take this opportunity to almost reset my brain. Even though the whole point of themes is to not set goals, some examples of what I could do to head in the direction of calm includes:

  • Giving myself more time before the start of meetings.
  • Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier (I've always been a morning person, yet I still stay up later than I want to). This will also help with the above idea;
  • Going for slow walks. I power-walk everywhere and, if I'm in a rush, this will end up with my shins in agony as my feet slam to the ground as fast as possible. Also, even though Worcestershire is a wonderful place with lots of countryside, moving to Scotland should prompt me to take more walks alone out in the middle of nowhere, around the hills, and generally get me more sorely needed exercise.
  • Spending less time on my phone. I'm already quite decent at this - I don't have any social media apps installed (except YouTube), but can still spend a couple of hours every evening watching YouTube in bed, leading me to go to sleep even later, and spending less time alone with my thoughts.
  • Generally being more mindful. Again, with the help of the previous idea, spending more time alone with my thoughts can help consolidate any worries I may have with the world, and think about ideas I would not normally have considered.

Alternatively, I could have made my theme the Year of Creativity (which, ironically, is not a very creative name). I'd love to properly get my hands dirty with photography, and once I've moved I will have a dedicated "office" space for making music, recording instruments, and livestreaming, so could also properly get into videography, too. Again, there are no goals here, but I know for sure that I'm going haywire with the music production this year.

As usual, this has been another largely self-reflective blog post with little relatability, but take a moment to think about what direction you want your world to head towards this year, even if it's something small.