Step one: set the timer for 5 minutes and write down as many answers as you can think of to the question: ‘When and how was I brave in 2014?’ Note: remember the private, intimate and small ways in which you were brave as well as the big public ways.
– came out to a group of evangelical Christians
– submitted a novel to an agent (several agents, in fact)
– moved back in with my partner after six months enforced separation
– went for and moved into the flat we fell in love with
– gave up alcohol
– told people about my mental health, or lack of it
– submitted other writing for consideration elsewhere
– applied for a job above my current level, and was interviewed for it
– spent a weekend with people from a long way back, whom I feared I’d no longer have anything in common with
– went to the post office
– decided that I’d got to where I needed to be
Step two: Choose one of more of those moments of bravery and write a letter yourself back at the beginning of 2014, letting you know how brave you are going to be that year.
You know that this is going to be a big year, even if all that happens is the move, because that’s big enough to occupy all your attention for at least the first half of it. As it happens, there is a lot more.
You will put some roots down, and begin to grow. You will knock at all sorts of doors and, although none of them have opened, yet, you will have the courage to keep knocking, or, at least, to know that you will knock again.
You will behave for one glorious, awful, terrifying, moment, with almost complete integrity, and you will, for once, make no apology for who you are.
You will smile at them all afterwards, knowing that they know.
You know it’s going to be big. You don’t realise how big it’s going to be, or, once you’ve gone through it, how inevitable it will have seemed.
Step three: Write yourself a short reminder to tuck into your wallet or post above your desk of just how brave you can and will be in 2015.
2015 is an excellent fun year; it is the first year of being grown up. And by ‘grown up’ I mean ‘isn’t waiting for anything else to happen’ and ‘doesn’t give a damn what anybody else thinks anyway’. Go bravely on.