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A Few Gentle Suggestions

Carrie Maclennan

Posted on January 06 2016

I'm not sure how I feel about people who wake up on the 1st January, hop out of bed and immediately set about successfully transforming into super productive, happy, clear-skinned, properly hydrated, healthy versions of their slightly crummier last year selves. I'm not sure how I feel about them (and it doesn't matter how I feel about them) because those people are imaginary and only exist on Pinterest.

This year, on the 1st January, I woke up on my mum's couch in Glasgow - sweating, hungry and sleep deprived. The very first thing I did in 2016 was scrabble around on the carpet for the multipack of Skips I'd chucked on the floor the night before.

New Year's Day breakfast Skips? Check.

With eyes barely open, I eventually recovered the tv remote control from deep between the sofa cushions. I made this noise > 'Maaaah' > when the digi tv guide confirmed Pride & Prejudice was indeed showing on the Drama channel for 8 consecutive hours.

8 hour New Year's Day period dramathon? Check.

I mean, I didn't feel overly proud of myself, I must admit. And I suppose I was a bit disappointed that I hadn't woken up in the perky HIYA 2016 mood I hoped I might, but then - why force a thing? I plumped my cushions, tucked the duvet under my feet, opened my first packet of Skips and nestled in for a morning (afternoon, evening) of tight lipped flirtation, even tighter lipped kissing and Colin Firth in frills. 

'Why force a thing?' That's basically my approach to 2016. After making them and breaking them for thirty-odd years, I have, at long last, learned that I'm not the kind of girl who does well with traditional resolutions. Neither am I the kind of girl who learns things about herself very quickly. If 2015 (the bastard) taught me anything, it's that there's little point in forcing a thing. Despite everything I like to believe about being in control (always be in control) and about taking risks (never take risks), it turns out things happen sometimes that mean a person has no choice but to relinquish control and likewise, take a risk or two. And you know what else? Turns out that needn't feel awful or unbearable. Who knew? 

So, basically, instead of making the usual list of unrealistic goals and expectations for the year ahead, I'm just making a few gentle suggestions to myself. I'm not forcing a thing. Now that doesn't mean I won't try. Of course I will. I will try and I will plan and I will dream and scheme and wonder (more regularly than I usually admit), 'Is this art?' or 'Is my recorder still out of tune?' or 'Will anyone ever read this?' but I will not force a thing and hopefully, neither will I wind up crying under my desk come February because I am a useless, capricious* shit. I'm hoping some of these gentle suggestions might be helpful to you too. 

2016: A Few Gentle Suggestions 

Hey. I was thinking... Maybe you should take a stand say no to beige?  Maybe you should fill your house, your wardrobe, your dinner, your everything with big bursts of colour? Your brains really like colours. Hm?

What is it they say? 'Good things come to those who DO WORK'? Maybe you should do the work. Every day. Hm?

 Hey. Remember how much fun you had last year playing around with silly ideas? Remember how much fun you had making them into real things that, as it happened, weren't so silly after all? You should probably keep doing that. Every day. Hm? 

 Hey. Maybe you should think about cutting down. Maybe by the end of the year you might have stopped smoking all together. Hm? 

 Hey. Remember that time you said scrambled eggs made without butter were actually quite nice? And that Weight Watchers bacon medallions were just as tasty as normal bacon? Maybe you could swap out some shite food for not-quite-so-shite food. And maybe you shouldn't ever eat Skips for breakfast again. Hm?



 Hey. I know you hate the idea of joining a gym, but you do really enjoy doing WiiFit - so maybe you could do that more. Or - maybe you could pop along to an exercise class once a week? Something fun? Hm? 

(Or maybe we shouldn't push it. Maybe scrap the exercise class idea and think about dancing to ABBA more instead?)

Hey. Remember all those times you did the work but accidentally worked yourself into the ground and wound up miserable? Maybe you should avoid that. Treat yourself now and again. Jump in a nice bath or something.

Hey. You know sometimes you can get scared about doing new things or meeting new people or visiting new places? Maybe you should try be a little bit braver. And maybe you shouldn't make so many jokes about being a jackass. You're not that much of a jackass. 

*I'm not 100% sure I've used the word 'capricious' correctly but I've gently suggested to myself that I might try out some new words in 2016. 


  • kitty Colliar: January 07, 2016

    I loved your post and think I will just enjoy life xx

  • Pauline: January 07, 2016

    Well done with your suggestions. Defo no more skips for breakfast !!! xxx I gave up years ago

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