The Pressure of a New Year
Updated: Jan 8
Being Unrealistic -
Each year, we find ourselves with people we care about, waiting for the bell to strike midnight. Whether that be partying or spending it at home, many of us begin mapping out what we would like to change in the New Year. We strive to create the 'best' version of ourselves each year.
Not happy with my weight... I will join a gym and start dieting tomorrow!
I need to get fitter... I am going to start running tomorrow!
I spend too much time on my phone... I will place a specific limit on my phone tomorrow!
Quit smoking... I will stop tomorrow!
The list can go on and on and most of the time, these goals are completely achievable. However, I don't know about you but change takes time... goals take time. When I set goals for myself, I break them down into bite size chunks. It is easy to become overwhelmed by a challenge when we face it as a whole, but when it is smaller, we are able to manage it far easier.
Time can be your worst enemy or your best friend, we can sit at home and speak of the change we want to make with little action, watching time pass by. In contrast, we can sit at home, speaking of the change we want to make and create an action plan with regular milestones and begin moving forward to achieve these goals we have set ourselves.
Over my lifetime, I have faced many challenges and these challenges I have seen as goals. If my Orthodontist told me at the very beginning of my journey, "Nathan, you're going to have braces for 9 years, a handful of surgery and then some restorative Dentistry before you'll have the smile you want", I probably would have never bothered to be brutally honest.
Instead, I would wake up each day and I focused on appreciating the journey I was going on in the moment, I tried to create milestones, each appointment I saw as one step closer to the finish line. An approach that I believe people should use when aiming to achieve their goals in 2020. Be kind to yourself, be patient and be positive, if you want to achieve something in 3 months and it takes you 6, that is completely fine. Make a plan that suits you and stick to it, you will be amazed what you can do.
A New Nathan in 2020 -
I had an incredibly difficult and great year in 2019, I underwent my final three operations. This meant after 22 years, I had finally finished my cleft journey with 36 operations, 1000's appointments and 9 years of Orthodontics all done, forever.
Abbe Flap (Stage 1 & 2) (Image 1 & 2)
Septorhinoplasty (Image 3)
Surgery occupied much of my waking thoughts and even my dreams, a life time of waiting for the next big thing to mentally prepare myself for. The hours I would sit and imagine what I would feel like when I woke up from an operation. Would I be in pain? Will I be angry? Upset? How will it feel?
I sat with my family watching the New Year countdown, I grabbed my Mum's hand tightly and we both knew it was a shared moment of, "We did it". That journey I started when I had my first operation at 4 days old is now history. All the years I have been alive, surgery has defined many of the moments. However, 2020 brings a year in which surgery is no longer a part of my life. Instead, I am able to focus on developing myself as a person and make an impact on the world around me with nothing to hold me back.
The Smile of Wight
This year marks 7 years of fundraising with Freestyle 4 Smile, the one main thing I wanted to do since I started was swim around the Isle of Wight, a distance of approximately 68 miles. However, surgery made this difficult since I would be unable to go in water for a large period of time which would have impacted on my training.
This year, I have been released from those chains and decided to make it happen with the incredible support of HUUB Design and the Royal Yacht Squadron who have provided me with the knowledge and yacht to get me around the Island on the 3rd of September 2020. Logistically, I will be swimming for 6 hours followed by a 6 hour break (on the yacht), rinse, repeat!
The Smile of Wight is a colossal goal, one that has required multiple action plans, not only do I require the fitness to swim around the Island, but also the mental strength. I believe the challenges I have already overcome will be a huge advantage in this area. To be able to keep going when your body is broken is incredibly difficult which is why I have huge admiration for those who put themselves through endurance challenges.
This is a swim primarily for Smile Train, an incredible charity that help provide and fund free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to over 85 countries. This provides vital support to cleft children and their families who may otherwise be left untreated in the shadows of society, struggling to eat, breathe and speak. Every £150 raised in this swim will give a child, a second chance to smile. The very chance I was given here in the UK thanks to the NHS.
The main driving force behind the difficult times of this swim will be the thought of these children and how their lives will be changed for my momentary pain and craziness. I have seen first-hand the impact Smile Train has on these children's lives and I am excited to see the difference we can make supporting the cause together.
September isn't too far away and I will be swimming hundreds of miles in the lead-up to the swim. So keep up to date, see how the training unfolds, join me in achieving the goals set for 2020!
If you wish to donate, you can do so using the link below
The next blog will be uploaded on the 13th of January, I will keep everyone up to date.