2018 was a year full of growth. I learnt a lot about myself and about the importance of choosing who I surround myself with. I made some big decisions and a lot of stupid ones. And although I’d like to think I’ve learnt from my dumb choices, only time will tell… Ultimately, growth is painful, and this year was tough, but the lessons I have learnt have made me a stronger, more self-aware person.
Over the years I have accumulated a few traditions that help me start the new year afresh, full of hope and with an optimistic mind-set- things I am definitely in need of right now.
The first one is a Brazilian tradition that I picked up about 7 years ago when I went with my family to a Brazilian new year’s party. The custom in Brazil is to wear white clothes on new year’s eve, with underwear to represent what you want the new year to bring.
My wardrobe is mostly black, so I often just wear white underwear as a compromise of the tradition (if that’s even allowed??), although is it tempting to wear 8 pairs layered on top of each other for maximum luck in the new year.
I also like to write letters of gratitude to some of the people who have made the greatest positive impact to my year. I never find time to write to everyone who has been there for me, but it feels great to give thanks and acknowledge those who have stuck by me through everything. I usually write these on postcards or the back of photos, so the recipient can put them up on a wall rather than bury them away in an old box, as I have done with letters in the past.
To start the new year free from negativity, I like to write down the things I want to leave behind in the old year and just before midnight, burn the list. It feels like a ceremonial way of letting go of certain people and habits and as the paper disappears into smoke it is easy to envision these hindering aspects of my life disappearing too.
For the burn list to have any real impact, I write my goals and aspirations for the new year. Because nothing changes without action. If you want to leave an ex in 2018, decide how you will remove them from all aspects of your life. If you want to burn an addiction, what are you actually going to change in your life to make that possible?
My final and most important tradition is to write a letter to myself. This one is for reflection; to remember the best and worst bits of my year, note what I’m letting go of and what I’m going to change. And every new year’s eve,I read back through my old letters, to remind myself of how far I’ve come.
My happiest memories this year were in the sun, surrounded by friends, live music and beaches or on long late night drives around the countryside, talking and singing until our voices hurt. I loved every second I spent dancing, spinning, flipping or surfing and every sunrise and sunset I saw was magical.
As I end 2018, my heart feels full. I am not yet sure what will end up on my burn list, but I know for certain that I couldn’t possibly write to every wonderful person who has made this year special. So if you were there for me, in the form of a study buddy, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with, a partner in crime or in salsa, thank you!
And however you found 2018, whether it was the best, worst or most mediocre year of your life so far, I wish you a happy new year for 2019!
EDIT: To watch my NYE celebrations, click here