I must admit to struggling when it came to deciding what to talk about in this final Editor’s Letter of the year. What with 2019 round the corner and the weight of all that this year has given firmly on our shoulders, it seems ripe to reel off how it’s the perfect time to slow time, to mull over your goals for the new year and to reflect on what’s changed you over the last twelve months. But I didn’t really want to go down that route. I didn’t want to be yet another voice telling you to neatly package up your year, as if just another gift under the Christmas tree, in order to draw up judgements about how your year has gone. Because in most cases, that only leaves you feeling more deflated than the blow-up Santa Claus in your next-door neighbours front garden. Don’t get me wrong, I love reflection - in fact, I do it every last day of the month. I believe it to be a hugely healthy exercise of gratitude and a chance to explore where I’d like to make improvements in my life. But I also know there’s a hell of a lot of pressure to have a neat conclusion and action plan in place by the time the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.
So whilst you are free to continue setting goals and dissecting your achievements for the remainder of the year, I am not going to burden you with the task. Instead, I just ask that you continue on as you are. Whoever that may be and whatever imperfections you may have.
Because what I have learnt this year, is that self-improvement is a journey, period. A concept atemporal; one which can never be fully achieved nor completed but one which we are boundlessly indebted to if we so wish to experience life. Happiness is another example. We all say we want to be happy but we cannot arrive at happiness without practicing it in small leaps until it becomes a conscious state of being. It’s true for most states we so desire; the destination doesn’t exist. It’s the strides towards that place that count, that end up being where the true happiness, fulfilment, change, development is found. Small changes and tiny revelations are what have changed my life this year.
We make goals, set intentions and write plans - big ones. And that's great. We have to dream, we have to have our hearts set on a greater picture. But as I look back over this year, I see that the ride is what’s kept my head above water. Enjoying the smaller things. Enjoying the experience towards something. I haven’t gained anything monumental this year; financial security, a game-changing career move, an upgrade to my relationship status or any of the number of things deemed the epitome of success, but life has been nice, mostly, and sometimes it’s those small months, those quiet years, that end up being the underdog to your becoming.
So don’t feel pressured to join in the fuss if you don’t want to. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself to begin with a blank slate, you don’t even need to set resolutions. You just need to look after your heart. Because it may be the most wonderful time of year, but it also can feel like the most competitive time of year. The time when people feel they must prove their year counted for something; Instagram captions their weapon of choice. Whilst no-one should have to dim their shine for anyone else, it’s important to remember that someone else’s shine doesn’t have any bearings on your own. Just enjoy the rest of this year as it comes and celebrate who you are right now.
Thank you so much for joining me this year, it’s been such a ride and so great to grow with you. I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for us. See you then!
I will be spreading the Christmas cheer with magazines, Christmas cards, prints and original artwork (aka, all the gifts you could need for your tribe) at York Zine Fest on Saturday 8th December at The Crescent. I’d love to see you there if you can make it!