What I wish I could have told my younger self – New year anxiety 2023

by Olly Halton

One of my favourite movies when I was a kid was Doctor Who. In the film, Paul McGann spends two hours attempting to prevent horrible things happening when the year 2000 hits on New Year’s Eve. As 2023 dawns I feel just like him, only without the hindsight of what might happen, and I find myself experiencing a feeling of dread surrounding the uncertainty.

I’ve heard that this anxiety is normal. A new year can be a time for new beginnings but also a time where expectations weigh heavily. For me, 2023 is already shaping up to be quite the year of new beginnings and of change. I’m about to embark on a brand new career path in a working environment that I’ve never considered before.

Other people must face changes too, some internal and some external. Internal change can mean finding their own path without having to tell people, and external refers to the public announcement of resolutions to join a gym perhaps, look for a new job, or end a toxic relationship. There is so much pressure to declare New Year Resolutions and stick to them but the important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and take one day at a time if it feels overwhelming. 

Every year I find myself going through drastic internal changes. 2019 was particularly bad for me and as New Year’s Eve approached, I couldn’t wait for it to end. My first romantic encounter had crashed and burned within a fortnight, and I was reaching the end of my tether at my retail job and on my degree course. I hated myself. When I looked in the mirror all I could see was my acne, with the words ‘stupid and ugly’ playing repeatedly over and over in my mind. I couldn’t even feel the love of my friends and family.

If I could go back in time now, in my own TARDIS, and could meet my younger self, I would hug him and tell him that I was proud of him. I would tell him that good things will come; and tell him to be patient for just a little bit longer.

As I embark on 2023, I have much to be grateful for. I write for fun and tell people with pride about my degree. I am ecstatic that I am just about to start my first ‘adult’ job. I have a partner who loves and cares about me and every single day I thank God that I have known this incredible human being for over two years of my life. I hope that you too can find love and happiness as I have after years of self-doubt, unhappiness and confusion. If you need help with this, there are always people to talk to, like The Lighthouse Counselling Partnership. Get in touch for an informal chat to see how they can help.

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