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February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE


New year, new hopes

February 01 2023
Thanks to Krysia for this colourful star-filled landscape, titled New Beginnings © Krysia Thanks to Krysia for this colourful star-filled landscape, titled New Beginnings © Krysia

What’s in a New Year’s resolution? How do we deal with the first day on a new path? Leon Eckford attempts to make sense of it all

It's 2023, what’s on the agenda? Turning over a new leaf? Starting a new career? Family? Relationship? Lifestyle? It’s never too late for new beginnings. Doing something new in life can be frightening or exciting with so much potential. No matter where you are in your journey, life can bring expected or unexpected opportunities for a fresh start.

This is the pathway into the forest of life. You have VIP access to it, so ask yourself: How are you going to improve and build on what your Mother gave you?

If you’re embarking on unknown territory right now, you may be looking for wise words to help you look forward to this magical new journey. You might feel nervous about letting go of the familiar, but think of the possibilities and opportunities you can look forward to. There’s only one thing holding you back… Look in the mirror.

As I watch my kids get older and wiser, and I develop a unique brand of abstract Dad joke flavours, New Year brings out that mirror, helping us reflect on self, the year that's ended and why we are, where we are, thinking of decisions made, opportunities maximised, missing the target completely, etc.

And as your level of responsibility increases, so does the multitude of choices you have to make. It's estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. Each decision, of course, carries certain consequences with it that are both good and bad. We’ll leave the unconscious decisions for another time, as this would offer a whole chapter dedicated to debate and analysis in this regard.

In terms of society and where we are right now, what the fuck is going on?

Our collective neurosis in terms of wider society is really quite challenging when we look at our infrastructure creaking with an active cost of living crisis, sky-rocketing inflation and a government unable to deal with any of it. Ambulances, trains, buses, NHS, supporting services all striking in the vague hope that anyone in power can change this current trajectory.

Professionally, we have budget cuts coming. Our sector is already exposed to cries for tightening purse strings and demands of restraint to support people living under the spectre of a housing and homelessness crisis. This is when we will need our creativity and innovation to drive forward our street community in the face of multi-variable psychosocial crises.

I ponder as Hogmanay approaches like a large haggis, set to explode over my thinking and rationale. Is everything going to change in just 24 hours?

We always plan for diets, stopping this, stopping that, moving onwards and upwards with no expectations of hangovers from years gone by. Is this realistic?

Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing.  Even if that involves starting all over again, you have that potential in the palm of your hands. Sometimes we need to get out of our own way to begin that journey.

First, accept that change, new chapters and fresh perspective are central and inevitable facts of human existence.

Everyone faces their unique perspective in their own individual way. There are no right/wrong answers in this game.

Admit that not everything is in our control, though we will try to push forward regardless of incoming storms.

Regret nothing. This is our one shot at this negotiated reality, so remove the FEAR and watch yourself fly.

  • Leon Eckford works in homeless outreach in London