Am I doing this ‘write’?

girl listening to music through headphones

It’s the new year, which means a whole host of new reasons for me to be stressed.

While many could enjoy a week or two off from work, freelancing and university means I just had a bunch of deadlines hanging over my head while I tried my best to enjoy a mince pie. Pile on top of all that pressures to make resolutions and follow the trend of “new year, new me” posts on social media, and suddenly staying curled up in bed feels much more preferable to doing anything productive.

The internet has created many good things and opportunities for humanity, but I think, in the area of new year’s resolutions, it’s made everything a lot less healthy.

You see someone post how they’re going to improve their life this year, and you might six months down the line see a post celebrating that life change. You see their #gains at the gym, or their list of books they’ve read across the year, or maybe even the result of their hard work and study in a dissertation or article.

But you almost never see their actual journey, and that really just sucks for everyone else’s motivation. Because when I’m sitting here, staring at a blank screen with eighty pages of essay planning next to me trying to muster up the energy to start an assignment, seeing everyone apparently go from having nothing to having something throws everything out of perspective.

On Tuesday, I had to make my first trip back to the uni campus since the holidays. Like a lot of commuters, I tend to stick my headphones in and listen to a prepared travelling playlist of whichever songs have recently tickled my fancy. Disastrously, my phone (an ancient second-hand android with a mind of its own) decided to delete my playlist of absolute bangers. So in a last minute hurry, I just had to hit “shuffle all,” a move which meant I had to risk listening to tracks from my awkward emo days which have been in residence on that memory card since 2010. It’s like 20GB, so you can imagine the weird, niche scene bands that lurk in its depths.

In that thirty minute journey, I had to get through some questionable music choices from my past, some barely-listened to albums, and some songs I don’t even remember downloading, in order to get to those favourite tracks I’d been looping for the past couple of months. And something incredible happened: I listened to songs I haven’t bothered with for months, even years in some cases, and loved them all over again.

It got me thinking – why do I think so much about the end product, that I get distracted from the joy of the process? I always just listen to the songs I want to listen to ‘in the moment’ and end up forgetting about the oldies that fed my tastes and inspirations to lead me those new ones.

Similarly, I keep thinking about how great it will be to have my finished essays, my finished articles, and not remembering that there is so much to be enjoyed in the research, structuring, and perfecting of the writing.

It’d be like trying so desperately to get round to watching Avengers: Infinity War that you skip all the MCU movies. Like, sure, you’d get to skip Iron Man 2 and Age of Ultron, but you’d also miss out Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. And that really won’t do.

I’m going to take this as a lesson – and maybe a hint at my new year’s resolution for 2019 – to stop panicking so much about the endgame and to actually enjoy the journey that gets me there.

And with all that being said, it’s time to finish off my essay.