It’s nearly New Year, that time where everybody posts about all the awesome things they did in 2022. The social media ‘my year’ summaries are both great (because genuinely it’s pretty cool to see people had such a great year and accomplished their goals or did amazing things). But it can also be a good old kick to the self-esteem. Because no matter how great your year was, it can look like people are living a way better life than you are. 

The negative psychological effects of social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram in particular) are well documented

One of the biggest impacting elements is FOMO. That fear that we’re missing out on a positive experience someone else is experiencing, or that somebody is doing something we wanted to do, but can’t (or we just weren’t invited along). Another is unrealistic expectations, that it all looks so great on the surface, that we believe it really is just that, constantly great for someone. Creating unrealistic expectations of life and friendships, and becoming hugely surface level. Whilst there are millions of influencers who make money from being inauthentic, bedazzling us with their wonderous online lifestyles, this probably isn’t going to end anytime soon.

So just before we all get steamrollered with a truck load of social media posts reminiscing this past year. Here’s your little reminder that social media tends to showcase the successes only, the failures are often muted

Maybe to balance the scales a bit, it might be just as important to share the lows? Not for pity, not to put a downer on things, but because that’s the truth of what every persons year has been – the highlights we share, and the bits we failed at or that didn’t go so well, that we don’t tend to talk about online. And it’s a good reminder that social media isn’t real, there’s so much more going on behind those pretty pictures and witty captions.

Generally as a whole, I had a good year. I got to travel again at last. Didn’t go broke. I’ve got my health. Moved closer to my friends and family. And running wise (something I’ve grown a new passion for over the past few years) I got a half marathon in the bag which I’m super proud of myself for (because that shits hard to keep going). All in all, I’ve got a lot to be grateful for. But here’s the things that I didn’t do well, just went wrong, or I totally failed at. 

Once again, I didn’t get my work-life balance right

I’ve tried really hard at this for years. But working from home and living on my own has brought with it a whole new load of challenges. It’s been hard to switch off, and not let the stress of the 9-5 seep into my personal life. Sometimes, I’ve let it completely overwhelm me. I won’t say ‘2023 is my year to crack this’. I’m just going to continue to be mindful that I do need to work on balance. And try to remember that a job is just a job. 

I didn’t finish the book I’ve been working on

It’s pretty tough accepting that I didn’t meet this goal, as it’s one I really wanted to complete. I’m a fair way into it, but that work-life balance hasn’t helped put me mentally in the right place to tackle it at times. I need to find a way to put aside time for it, the blogs on here, my actual job, and seeing people I care about. I know I’ll get it done, because it’s something I’m really passionate about. But 2022 just wasn’t the year. 

I over-committed. Like, way over-committed myself

Post-Covid, being able to travel again, I embraced the travel freedom and was fortunate enough to visit some different places this year. From the UK, Europe to the US, so I’m certainly not complaining. But in reality, more often than not I spent my year stressing about affording these things, leaving the dogs once again and feeling like I wasn’t taking enough time to stop and relax. Travel is a wonderful thing, but I need to not over-commit so much that it ends up being a burden, rather than the amazing thing it is. 

I’ve got a really negative bias towards dating and romantic relationships nowadays

You may have noticed from the blogs 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, there’s valid reasons for that. But it has definitely spilled over into relationships this year. I’ve let past experiences impact how I do present situations. There’s a continuous negative narrative that I’m trying hard to combat, and not doing very well at it. And it’s just something I’m going to need to be aware of and keep working on. 

My levels of stress have been off the Richter scale in 2022

Whether it was work related, moving house, or just generally not coping with change or the things I have going on very well. I struggled. It’s made me feel quite low at times. And because of it, I also haven’t slept well. Insomnia is something I struggle with regularly (this little piece is being written at 4am on a cold Friday morning). But it doesn’t help that I’ve not got to bed at a decent time. Haven’t really tried ways to switch my brain off, nor prioritized sleep as a way to get my body enough rest to handle everything else. I’ve basically totally failed at what sounds like the simplest thing – rest.

I didn’t spend enough time with the people I love

And I didn’t make that time as meaningful as it could have been. Even though Covid feels like a lifetime ago, it feels somehow like I’m totally still stuck in that mental zone of not wanting to see as many people. This is something I’m concentrating on doing differently in 2023. Living closer to friends and family now will really help. I just have to get my shit together and not be so much of a hermit. 

I don’t do the whole New Year’s resolutions thing anymore because I found it actually made me feel a bit crap when I was just moving things over again for another year. So I won’t say some of these things are goals. They are just things I’m going to keep working on. Now, next year and beyond.

Sure, I failed at these things, but what I do know is guaranteed is that I’ll get something wrong and fail at more stuff in 2023. Some aspect of my life will go to total shit, whilst another does okay. And all I can do is try to learn from my mistakes and identify how I can do things better. Not at the start of each year, but at any time of the year. 

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.