I had the flat to myself. I’d worked out. I’d eaten. After my shower, I decided to leave the water running. Put in the plug. Add some bubbles.
Ten minutes later, those bubbles and a newly-discovered soul playlist became my everything. A steaming mint tea sat by the side of the bath, and I lay within it. I won’t lie; laying there, all alone, in an otherwise empty flat, a smile crept over my lips for a moment. My eyes closed as I slid deep under the water and let the bubbles drift around my ears (until my exposed knees got goose-pimply and I had to sit up so my legs could be submerged – I really need a bathtub that suits my height).
I can be “intense.” A bit fidgety. Rare are the times when every muscle in my body is truly relaxed, when there are no other things I feel I ought to be doing or thinking. But that Sunday morning in the tub a few weeks ago, with Angie Stone and Diggs Duke filling the room with the sound of velvet, I was feeling all kinds of good. The kinds of good that should be replicated. A lot.
Because (and this is the penny that’s finally dropped), that’s what all this is ultimately about, isn’t it?
If 2015 was the year of wanting to do everything, of striving and overthinking, of enabling my own pain and allowing ish to be swept under the carpet rather than listening to my gut’s loud-and-clear messages, 2016 will be the year of letting things go and being OK with what is. Of being picky. Of saying no to more things. Of doing what makes me content, even (or maybe especially) if that means staying in on my own sometimes to take a long bath. Of writing more. Of reading more (god, I miss reading). Of quiet nights in if I feel like it, and going out dancing ’til the lights come on if I feel like that, too. Of close friends and being kind to myself. Of (yes, this sounds a bit cliché to me too, but let’s go with it) putting myself first.
Part of me loves the newness of this time of year. The overarching mood of change in the air, the smiles on strangers’ faces, the general consensus that we must start afresh. But another part of me believes we can and should start afresh whenever we feel the need. On January 1st or on a random Wednesday in April. I don’t have any specific resolutions to see a particular place or to take up the oboe. I’ll settle for not coasting. I’ll settle for contentment and for nothing and no one less than those that bring me that.
I’m starting the year in the very best way. Just two days ago, I had no solid New Year’s Eve plans. I didn’t want to go out and I didn’t want to drink so much that the ensuing headache and tiredness put paid to New Year’s Day. So me and my flatmate rallied the loveliest of troops and we got together in our living room. There was Scrabble and there were nibbles and there were fizz and fireworks in the street at (approx) midnight (we missed the ‘official’ countdown). There were party poppers and grainy pictures taken under street lamps. There was talk of resolutions, scrutinising of old music videos, and the washing of plates and glasses before bed – no one wants dirty dishes waiting for them in the morning, am I right?
New Year’s Day saw a roadtrip to the seaside. Squeals (mine) brought on by the first sighting of the sea, and a murmuration of starlings (dad thinks they’re nesting under the pier). Brunch with a Bellini, free pizza in my fluffy PJs, and next up, an early night. I’m writing this in bed actually. Hey there.
So, yeah. I have a good feeling about all of this. And now here’s the part where I should close out with some tying of loose ends and a motivational paragraph about the next 12 months and all that I hope they bring. But I’ll leave this here for you instead. An Instagram post I spotted and saved by one of my favourite poets, Anthony Anaxagorou. It’s a bit beautiful.
Happy New Year. May you be content, too.