New Year Starts on 5th January

My name is Lucy Shiels, I am an unashamed history nerd and I love, more than anything, to read and write. I want to do more traveling and I want to be a historian.

To actually type those sentences and put them out onto a public platform is exhilarating, not least because in doing so, I am effectively laying myself bare for anyone and everyone to judge. The old 2015 Lucy would never have thought to do anything so daring, but the new 2016 Lucy emerging from her gin-encrusted chrysalis can do anything and everything that she chooses.

New Year is a funny time of year. Everywhere you turn, people are re-inventing themselves, writing out resolutions that will make them better people and hoping for better year than the one just past. I have a love-hate relationship with New Year. I love writing out the same resolutions, knowing that I will break them all before January 7th but I hate getting drunk and morose about everything bad that happened in the previous year, which I inevitably do. This year, New Year is an especially clichéd one for me because I am entering into it with no idea as to what it will hold for me. Also, it is this year that I decided that my New Year would start on 5th January when all the special Christmas treats have been eaten, and drunk, and the decorations are starting to come down. Basically, I just bought myself an extra few days of living in holiday mode without feeling guilty.

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New Year also starts for me on 5th January because I am now officially an unemployed-(relatively)new-graduate, which is not as scary a prospect as I originally thought it would be. After graduating in June last year, I went traveling for a month before moving back home with my parents and taking up a job in one of the “local” businesses (commuting twelve miles every day has never felt so long in all my life). At the time, I genuinely believed that I could smoothly transition from student life to full-time employment in a regular retail job that would allow me to save up enough money to take the plunge and do what I really want to do in life. But guess what? I just could not do it.

Graduating is a massive deal. Not just in that it is a milestone moment in life, but that it propels you at full-speed into the big-wide-world. Now, whilst some of you might accuse me of stating the obvious, after talking to friends recently, the struggle to come to terms with life post-university is not an uncommon or made-up thing. The adjustment is huge.

If I have learned anything in the past four months, it is that I am powerless to stop time from moving onward and that I was foolish to think that I could stand still in life and wait for the opportune moment to pursue my dreams. The constant range of emotions that I felt every day was ridiculous. I would go from grumpy to mildly frustrated, to relatively okay to happy, to sad to aggressively frustrated, to angry, and eventually, to exhausted, literally every single day. There were days when I wanted to stand in the middle of the shop and scream “DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE A DEGREE?!?!?”, not because I thought that this made me above everybody else but because I was incredibly frustrated with myself for not using my brain or doing what I love to do.

Finally, two weeks before Christmas, I decided that enough was enough and that rather than continue to be a miserable, over-emotional wreck that I would change my situation. As highlighted above, I conveniently love to make New Year’s resolutions and I loved the fact that I was going to be so ridiculously clichéd in making a lifestyle change in time for the New Year.

So here I am, at my desk with my laptop open, writing my first blog post in months because I actually have time to do it. After this I will finally finish a book whose review was due three weeks ago. In the coming weeks and months I plan to get a part-time job or work experience that better suits me, and actually go on the TEFL course so that I can do the traveling that I want to. I might not be being paid a lot or living lavishly but at least I know that I will be happier.

Happy New Year!


Lucy Shiels’ Life-Affirming To-Do List for 2016
• Do the TEFL course (this is the big one: I really want to teach out in Asia)
• Go horse-riding (living where I am in Scotland I can’t believe I’ve never done this)
• Ride on a motorbike
• Climb The Eildons (no, I have not done this, fellow Borderers, do please forgive me)
• Go skiing
• Learn to drive (and pass my test!)
• Go fishing
• Go to the ballet/opera
• Learn to knit
• Read at least 25 books (I’ll explain why I’ve gone from 75 to 25 in my next post)
• See Les Miserables on stage
• Blog more regularly (I really, really am going to try hard with this one)


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