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Here we are again and it’s come around a little too quickly, hasn’t it? The end of another year at university and we begin to reflect on how this one has met or failed to meet our expectations. We consider whether or not we achieved all that we wanted to achieve and begin to think about all the things we want to do with the next year of our lives, whether that be at university or out in the scary world of work.
I guess that it is in this reflection we begin to set ourselves goals, markers of what the next year should be, a path to try and adhere to. However, looking back at the path we’ve walked this year I’m sure most of us can say that the path we planned was not completely followed. The diversions of chance led us in ways that we couldn’t have planned, obstacles may have meant we have had to redirect ourselves, maybe meaning we miss that meal we planned with our house of last year, and sometimes we were led to retrace our footsteps, finding that the reason of our promises to keep on top of our workload can only be remembered by firstly failing once more to do so.
So let’s consider, have we done all we wanted to do this year, and, does it matter? General things we might have wanted are to do better in our work, to keep healthier, to do more things to help our eventual career aims and to just in general to be as happy as can be. On a whole, to me at least, I’ve not met all these aims as life finds a way of getting in the way. However, when I really consider it I have at least tried with them all, though maybe the success varies. Does it matter that we don’t necessarily achieve all we might set out to do?
Way back in January I wrote my second piece for SCAN about January and New Year’s resolutions. In this I mentioned the origins of the months name through the Roman God Janus, of beginnings and transitions, who had two faces, one staring forwards and one facing back. Strangely enough I feel this works again when considering how important a consideration of our year and plans for the future can be. We can’t just look either way, we need to look to the past year and what has/hasn’t worked, we need to look to the future and what we might/mightn’t want to change about our lives. However, we need to live in the present recognition that life does throw unexpected things at us and that we can’t achieve our goals, and we need to recognise that old saying from Burns’ poetry: the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
In the end perhaps it is a good idea to have our end goals in life on the horizon just out of reach and that we as brief tourists to life have a slight plan of the sites we wish to see on our way there, but we have to allow for the spontaneity of life, of the great not knowing, it can sometimes seem to upend our lives completely, but, other times it can lead to our greatest moments.
Do we need to reflect on our year? Yes. Do we need to plan for next year? Yes, but, does it matter if we haven’t achieved it all last year or if we don’t next year? Not at all. We just have to try to, and to take all life throws at us, and, ultimately, just aim for happiness when we’re back after Summer – next year will fly by in seconds like this one and it’s not worth constraining ourselves with rigid plans or wallowing in regret when we can be enjoying life with a smile.