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Looking forwards – and back

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language |
And next year’s words await another voice.

There is no neat way to draw a line under 2020, so instead of attempting to tie it up with a metaphorical bow, I will sign off the blog for the year with a few ideas for rest and reflection should you have a quiet moment sometime before everything gets busy again. 

  1. Take stock. Do you feel at all like you have been holding your breath all year? It is finally time to exhale. You have been challenged like never before, in ways you could not have imagined a mere 12 months ago. The fact alone that you have got through this far with enough energy to read this post is something that deserves to be acknowledged. Maybe you have learned something about yourself that you either want to nurture or change, or maybe you want to spend some time thinking about how to continue to move forward and develop, whatever the circumstances next year.
  2. Big plans. Back when parties were not illegal, on New Year’s Eve, me and my friends would get out the Big Plans Book. We would take turns looking at what we had written in it the year before, then each take a page to write down a new challenge for the new year. Big Plans are distinctly different from new year’s resolutions – they are brash, they are bold, and most of all, they should increase the opportunity for joy and connection in your life. Instead of making resolutions this year, why not make a Big Plan? 2020 put the kibosh on everyone’s plans big and small, but while 2021 is still a shiny parcel of hope, I am going to be taking the time to make a spectacularly Big Plan. Whether or not I achieve it is a different question that is maybe beside the point.
  3. Reach out. We have not seen nearly enough of the people we care most about, and at times this year it has been difficult maintaining relationships via screens and links. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the relationships we make can often change our lives for the better, yet we have been so restricted in our contact this year that making new friendships has been almost impossible. But if anything, these relationships have never been more important. Reflecting on the friendships that positively challenge and sustain us also helps us to think about what kind of friend we would like to be to others.
  4. Chill out. Studying medicine is intense, of course it is, but just as a car cannot run on empty, neither can a medical student keep going without rest and relaxation. I know this is not easy for everyone, and circumstances this year are making chilling out even more of a challenge, but if you can, please do take some time to yourself over the break. Maybe more than ever before, you really do deserve it. 

Thank you for reading the blog this year. Look after yourself and your loved ones, and I will see you next year. 

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