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29.12.17

Lessons 2017 Has Taught Me

As we come to the end of what has been, shall we say, a tumultuous year for me both professionally and personally, I've found myself thinking about how I've changed over the course of this year, and the lessons I've learnt.

I started the year as a very different person from the person who sits here now writing this blog post. A lot of things remain the same, but I've also learnt an awful lot about myself, and about other people.

I've been waiting for 2017 to end for a long time, but as we come to the end of the year, I've found myself making peace with a lot of the things which have happened to date. Some of them felt pretty horrendous at the time, but had they not happened, I doubt very much that the positive changes I've made since would have occurred, and for that I'm very grateful.

Without any further ado, let's crack on.

CHANGE, ALTHOUGH SCARY, CAN BE A POSITIVE THING

If you watch my YouTube channel, you'll know things have changed a LOT for me this year professionally. You're probably sick of hearing about this so I won't go on about it, but I now work from home every single day (Monday to Friday) and I love it. 

Before I changed jobs, I was finding it very difficult to keep things together, and I would come home every day and rant to Harvey about the state of affairs and about how much I wanted to change things. Eventually I made a decision, probably the biggest decision I've made in my life to date, and I stuck with it.

Post-job change, despite thinking a weight would be lifted instantly, I spent the first 3 months worrying that I'd made the wrong decision and ruined my career. 6 months in, I can quite confidently say that it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life; my work life balance is much improved, as is my mental health, although admittedly there are other forces at work in that department. 

With any luck, that sentiment will continue for the foreseeable future and professionally, my career will continue to go from strength to strength. I was incredibly apprehensive about such a major change, and the risks that it entailed, but it's turned out to be a very positive experience. I wonder what changes 2018 will bring... 

THERE'S NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT 

In the early part of 2017 several events occurred which highlighted to me that there were issues from my past which I hadn't dealt with sufficiently, despite thinking previously that I'd been doing a good job. 

I come from a 'broken home' and when everything else in my personal life started to fall into place, out of nowhere I started to struggle with the longer lasting effects of my parents' divorce and the way things had occurred. Other issues became particularly prevalent as a result, including my incessant need to control everything and issues regarding rejection. Things boiled over in February, and it was at that point I approached MIND, a mental health charity, for some assistance. 

I was assigned a talk therapist, and over a period of many months, I attended weekly sessions, during the course of which it became apparent there were also other things that I needed to deal with. In July, I attended my final session, having a) realised what it was about my parents' divorce which was preventing me from getting closure, and b) having understood how significant events in my life had affected the way I viewed situations and rationalised them. 

Things make a lot more sense to me now, and I'm capable of handling situations much better than I ever had been able to previously. Before I started going to therapy/counselling, I felt ashamed that I couldn't cope with things on my own, but now I'd go back in a heartbeat if I ever needed counselling again, and recommend MIND all the time. This was, without a doubt, the best thing to come out of 2017 and hard as it was, it was totally worthwhile. 

I LIKE MY OWN COMPANY 

As the girlfriend of someone who frequently works evening and weekend shifts, I know how it feels to struggle with spending time on your own and coping with the loneliness associated with that. 

This has been a hard earned lesson for me, and one which has taken time, but I've come to accept that time on my own is a good thing. For one thing, it means I can edit videos and write blog posts guilt-free, work late if I want, and watch all of the YouTube videos under the sun without having to convince Harvey to watch them with me. It's also given me time to reflect, and time to learn to love myself, time to be selfish and time to satisfy my cravings for food Harvey hates. 

I never thought I'd be the kind of person to say this, but if you're struggling with similar circumstances, please try to embrace me-time, and make the absolute best out of it that you possibly can. After all, it matters not what situations you find yourself in, but what you choose to do with those situations, right? 

TAKING OUTFIT PHOTOS IS FUN 

For this one, I very much have Laura and Shelley to thank. 

2017 has brought with it an amazing friendship with these girls, and so much support and blogging confidence. Taking outfit photos in the freezing cold has actually been great fun, and through practice, I've come to know what kind of photos I like and actually want to share on my social media. We've got it down to a fine art these days, and a quick hour and a half can yield weeks' worth of content for each of us. 

Roll on 2018 and roll on Summer; I can't wait to shoot without rain, goosebumps and umbrellas!

IT'S OKAY TO NOT ALWAYS BE OKAY 

This is a classic, but it really is okay to have a down day every once in a while. 

I've had my fair share of those days in 2017. I've felt demotivated, I've felt like giving things up, I've felt worthless and I've felt like pushing people away would be the best course of action. Instead of beating myself up and forcing myself to 'power through', I've allowed myself to feel those feelings, I've taken time out to be kind to myself when necessary, I've cried things out and I've opened up to those around me when I felt able to do so. 

It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this ever changing and fast-paced world we live in without taking the time to dedicate to ourselves. It's easy to become disillusioned with the 'perfect' lives we see on screens, and to scrutinise the aspects of our own lives which don't match up. This year I've tried to take positives from every negative, and to celebrate the smaller things in life when the big things have gotten me down. 

I'll be doing more of that next year so I'll ask you in advance to forgive the excessively comfortable clothing and potential oversharing of those smaller successes on Instagram stories. 

I COULD NEVER BE A DAILY VLOGGER

A bit of a lighthearted one to end, but filming every day of 2017 and editing those days into weekly vlogs has taught me a LOT. This has been a huge challenge at times for me, and my videos and uploading schedule have been by no means perfect, but I'm so happy to have tried it. I won't be continuing through 2018, but I'll be uploading a video soon on my channel explaining this decision so keep an eye out if you're interested. 

Hats off to the daily vloggers of the YouTube world, you guys are killing it! 

Bring on 2018; I've a sneaking suspicion it's going to be a good one. 

All images taken by Thom Law

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