Not Everything You Lose Is a Loss: Leaving Dead Weight in 2021

New year new me? That’s what everyone seems to say. When the end of December is right around the corner, we often discuss the fresh start that January brings; an opportunity to leave the baggage of last year in the past. But it isn’t always as easy as that.

2021 was without a doubt not the average year for any of us; A rollercoaster of COVID restrictions, lockdowns, political turbulence, and a collective consensus of patiently waiting for the storm to pass. Although there is still a long way to go in terms of boosting the dreaded topic of conversation that is COVID-19, we are beginning to settle as a society and get used to the new norms of life ahead. Personally, nothing brings me more happiness than leaving the lonely lockdowns firmly in the past, and while it is obviously still an uncertain time, we must allow ourselves to be optimistic for the future. 

In terms of more general 2021 baggage, letting go of past relationships or situations may not be as easy. As we begin the year of 2022, I have found myself thinking how different my life was this time last year. It is inevitable that we immediately think of the losses, as it is human nature to constantly compare your current life to what once was. However, it is important that we do choose to focus on what is to come and not dwell on the past. Whether it be changing friendships or more material losses, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. As cheesy as it sounds, each decision we make or each decision that may feel oh so out of our control has brought us to the position we currently find ourselves in. 

To look at the silver linings, it is clear that many positive things have come out of 2021. I was discussing this topic with my housemates the other night, asking what they feel they have learnt from the past year. It was clear that there was a common theme of how COVID had impacted their general mindsets in terms of losses; The desire to start afresh and ‘reinvent’ yourself’ was something one friend said was a standout for her.

The limitations brought to us by COVID has clearly made us more appreciative of the little things, wanting to making the most of everyday life. Now, I’m not saying that come January 1st, my hair will be a perfect shade of electric blue and my style will have done a full 360, but that in a more symbolic way, the new year can be an opportunity to ‘start over’. This may be in more subtle ways, like having the courage to say yes to plans you may previously have been too anxious to follow through with, or quite the opposite; having the confidence to say no when you might otherwise feel pressure or expectations. 

I don’t want to dwell on the topic of COVID too much more, but it is undeniable that the pandemic has somewhat defined our lifestyles over the last couple of years. However, instead of focusing on the limits and boundaries that were built, if we choose to look at the positives then we are likely to learn that worrying about the future and things out of our control is inevitably a waste of time. For me personally, the pandemic and the last year has shown how uncertain life can be and that living in the moment should be central to all our lives. More than ever, we can go into the new year with a hope of a new beginning, whatever that may mean for us as individuals.

The word ‘loss’ has such negative connotations, when actually these things which are no longer a part of our lives may be our biggest blessing.  As an avid overthinker myself, I am going into the new year with the hope that I can allow myself to let things go, and that the losses, however big or small, are not simply dead weights but learning processes that get us to where we are today.

So, let’s all take a collective breath in and out, and make a personal promise to remind ourselves that losses can in fact be blessings in disguise. Let’s count ourselves lucky to live the lives we do and seize 2022 with all our might.

– Maya Gallen

Featured Image Source: Via Pexels

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