There is a weakness I need work on to in 2020. I’ve become more aware of it this year especially, as I’ve had lots of big milestones and events. So this is my resolution.
I need to give time to those who continue to show up, and not spend so much time focused on those who don’t.
So many people make time for me, appreciate me, celebrate me. They come to my events, bake me cakes and biscuits with my face on them, rearrange the bookshelves in stores so Say Hello is facing outward. They laugh with me and cry too. They’re not only there for me in my work (which is a huge defining factor of who I am), but in my private life too.
I can count on friends who are on the other end of a text message or phone call, who keep my secrets.
I have friends who meet me for dinner when I’m in their city, and want to catch up for a drink when they’re in mine,
I am part of a wonderful disability community whose work I read, watch, buy, respect and celebrate – and they reciprocate.
There are dozens of people in my life (who I know personally and who I don’t) comment on every single social media post I make.
I have an incredible team of people who help me achieve my career goals – in writing, speaking, travel, arts work and more.
Strangers write me messages to tell me how my work has made a difference to them.
Women on Instagram tell me they bought a dress because I wore it.
I can always count on my Mum for advice and to be my confidante.
My husband supports me fully.
And I’m so grateful for everyone. I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who hold me close, even when we aren’t in close physical proximity.
Yet I feel a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – not from me not being there or doing something, but from others not being there for me. At big events, I look around for those who I expected to be there but didn’t make it. I keep trying with people who have let me down time and time again. I get fixated on those who didn’t come, rather than paying full attention to those who did. I notice those who are interacting with others on social media instead of me.
And I still notice those who bully me. Who speak badly of me when they think no one is looking. Who don’t support my work. Who are jealous. Who don’t approve of me or my work. I screenshot and analyse their commentary, and get really upset and angry.
I need to stop giving time and space to the people who treat me badly.
I think this is a hang up from school – where I just wanted to be liked, and have people come to my party. It is also about my high expectations – of myself and of others – of making time for friendship, and of treating people with kindness. But they’re not going to change, And as an online writer, it can be easy to focus on the few negative comments rather than the thousands upon thousands of lovely ones,
Over the break I felt really flat after seeing an old friend who has drifted away. Conversation was difficult and I resented her for not making it to one of my recent events. And the next day, I saw some other old friends by chance. We laughed and talked and hugged like no time has passed. I immediately felt better, and realised these are the people who I need to keep close.
I have beautiful friends and colleagues, and a wonderful online community. It’s time I prioritise them. I need to quit the FOMO and revel in the joy of those who are present.
That’s my goal for 2020. Thank you to everyone who is there for me, I promise I’ll be there for you too.