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J'AIME January 2021

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P O S I T I V E T H I N K I N G A happy and positive 2021 really is possible JENNY AMPHLETT LOOKS ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF 2020 AND SAYS YOU SHOULD MAKE IT YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO FIND POSITIVITY IN THE YEAR AHEAD. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Those dark days of January, when people are reining in their social life or counting the cost of the festive season, can be depressing enough without denying yourself life’s small pleasures. The thought of 31 days without a decent night out might just be bearable if you allow yourself to finish the rest of the tin of Quality Street and that bottle of Advocaat from the back of the cupboard. Or at least that’s the way I usually look at it. If you want to start a new health regime then I reckon you should do it in the middle of summer when the sun is shining, when it feels less tortuous and when you actually stand a fighting chance of sticking to it. Instead of devising ways to get fit, lose weight or generally make myself miserable, I tend to spend some time at New Year looking back over the previous 12 months and trying to remind myself of the things I have to be thankful for. We all have some, even if we need to hunt them out for what has been a difficult and unusual year for so many of us. The list is obviously different for every one of us, but for me it usually includes the likes of managing not to lose any loved ones during the past year, time spent with close family, having wonderful friends. In a more normal year my list would include holidays, days out, theatre and cinema visits, and particularly memorable meals. Most of that has been nigh on impossible to achieve this year, but I can still add managing not to kill any houseplants, books I’ve read, work projects 42

I’ve felt proud of and things I’d been putting off but finally got around to doing to that list. For me it’s been a year of being brave, taking chances and leaping into the unknown in a way I may well not have been prepared to do had 2020 been just any old year. Unlike most years I can also add a serious amount of walking to my list of happy moments, getting to know the village I live in a bit better by pounding its pavements each day and becoming more attuned to nature by disappearing into the woods or across fields whenever the opportunity presented itself. It’s a year when I’ve picked nettles and turned them into soup, cooked all manner of puddings from windfall apples and photographed every wild mushroom I’ve laid eyes on. Every single one of us has had low points during the past 12 months, I know that I certainly have. But look at them in the right way and they can be reasons to be thankful too. However tough those things may have been, and perhaps continue to be for some of us, we’re still here on the other side of them. And we’re looking a shiny, hopeful new year in the face; a year in which we may well be able to get some of our muchmissed freedoms back. Looking for the happy moments from the past 12 months and finding ways to have more of the same in the coming 12 months is a much more positive way of dealing with the New Year than picking out the things you don’t like about yourself and deciding how to change them. If you’re going to make a New Year’s Resolution, please make it to embrace all the positive things that 2021 brings. Resolve to never take the people in your life for granted again, to support your local community in any way you can and to realise that happiness really can be found in the small things. 43

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