I blame Instagram.
Possibly the only social media platform left that promotes positivity (goodbye Twitter!), I’m faced with daily posts and stories about ‘getting up and getting it done’ and ‘living your best life’ (gulp.)
Although I have curated my feed to include a healthy mix of a) people that spend their hours before sunrise meditating/journalling/running and b) those who spend their time cleaning baby vomit from their pyjamas, the former always seem more attractive.
Yes, I too have rolled my eyes at the smug posts of people achieving all their goals before breakfast. Even better are those shareable assets that claim 5-7am is time for meditation and ‘gaining focus’ (it isn’t. It is for sleeping) before drinking herbal tea and dividing all tasks into quadrants for the busy day ahead.
I might be a list-maker and a morning gym-goer but I’m not completely mad.
Even for those with endless optimism, living their ‘best life’ during a pandemic has become more of a challenge. I have seen numerous posts online from people that claim that this year has been a ‘waste’ because of all the restrictions put upon us. And while I’m in the privileged position of being a healthy, young (ish) person still in employment, I have to disagree.
2020 was the year I turned thirty and I’d naively put together a list of goals I’d like to achieve by my milestone birthday. I look back at the list now and laugh at things I’d scribbled down. Activities like ‘bottomless brunch with the girls’, ‘take part in a 10k run’ and ‘get a tattoo.’ A luxurious spa day and a weekend jaunt to Copenhagen were also on the list, so keen was I to make the most of this year.
And while I could look at that list and feel like I’d wasted the last ten months, I can only see the other things I have had chance to achieve. I have started running three times a week, I started a new job, I have read a grand total of 33 books.
Of course, it isn’t all about the numbers. We’ve also had free weekends to work on our home, making our office a great place to work in and painting the front of the house an instagram-worthy shade of peppermint green. While our work has been busy, the absence of commuting has meant that I have spent more time with my husband. We have watched old films, begun eating more vegetables and sleeping often for eight hours a night (I know. We sound like rock stars.)
So am I living my best life?
What I’m learning is that living your ‘best life’ has to be the one that feels right for you – a life that makes you feel good. Instead of cramming a hundred different activities into your day or doing what you think you should be doing, you could be spending that energy on something that you enjoy.
I might not be climbing mountains, travelling the world and running three businesses at the same time. I might not be running a half-marathon on a Sunday or giving up coffee (the horror!) but I’m still getting up every day and doing something, however small.
Perhaps we should change ‘living our best life’ to ‘making the best out of life’ and give ourselves a bloody big break. This year has been tiring enough.