Wednesday, 28 December 2016

What 2016 has taught me

Now that Christmas has just about been and gone (I'll be sad when the Heroes and Celebrations finally run out!) I feel like this is as good a time as any to reflect on the past 362-ish days. Brexit and Trump aside, for me personally this year as been the hardest yet. From a difficult living situation to being diagnosed with painful dry eye syndrome, to my work relocating and struggling with my mental health, I won't be sad to see the back of 2016.

BUT, in the business of trying to be balanced, there have been a lot of highlights. Three amazing getaways to the Isle of Wight, Amsterdam and Turkey really helped me learn to relax a bit, countless shenanigans with friends have reminded me of what's actually important, and I've somehow despite all the stress going on managed to build my self confidence up quite a bit!

Here's what I've learned:

Looking after yourself is important

Being in pain 90% of the time changes you. I have a new found respect for people that live with far more serious health conditions and disabilities and still manage to absolutely smash life. Since being diagnosed with a chronic condition I really have to take care of my eyes and body. There are days when my eyes burn so much I hate to even open them, when I want to cry but when I do it stings like acid. I'm still working on it but getting enough rest, the right diet, fresh air and keeping my stress down are all very important in managing flare-ups. It's time consuming, but it's also helped my mental state to no end to just shut off for a day every now and again to look after number one and chill.

Hobbies should be fun

That probably shouldn't be much of a revelation to most, but mid-way through the year keeping up this blog began to feel like a chore and an obligation - it just wasn't enjoyable anymore. I realised though that not being so hard on myself for not posting to a strict schedule and taking the odd week off actually left my mind free to dream up more creative post ideas, and posting slightly less often means the content is better quality. It's fun again, and more of you are reading my posts. It's a win-win!

Sometimes you just need to sling it in the 'Fuck It' bucket

This year I realised that the little niggling voice in my head holds me back sometimes. Whether that's through lack of confidence, fear of being judged, of upsetting someone or getting hate, I was keeping my own valid opinions bottled up inside. And that's not just in a personal respect, but a professional one too. I've learned to say 'Oh, fuck it' more often and just say what I'm thinking. As a result I think I'm more self-assured, people actually respect me more and others have a better idea of who I am.

I don't need the latest blogger 'must haves' to be happy

Last year I spent way too much money on fad products and trend-led fashion pieces. The thing is I was never satisfied with my purchases, because they were right for someone else but not for me. This year I spent more time researching my purchases first and only investing where I actually wanted to. That also involved choosing more classic makeup and clothing so that the stuff I spend my hard-earned cash on will stand the test of time.

I am actually capable of talking to strangers

I've been to quite a few blogging/PR events and meetups this year and I can safely say it's helped me massively with my fear of talking to people I don't know in a social setting. In pushing myself to talk to people outside of my usual bubble I've made some lovely new friends and become genuinely excited to chat with new faces at these things. Who would've thought?

Comparing yourself to others is a complete waste of time

The moment I realised I'll never be able to wear eye makeup again hit me quite hard. I've always been very into eyeliner and eyeshadow and I felt like overnight a piece of my identity had been stolen from me. I would break down if I stumbled upon makeup tutorials, hoard mascara 'just in case' things got better, stare intently at other people's eyeliner out of jealousy. But then I realised that this is just something I have to work with. You have your cat flicks, I have my lipstick instead. That doesn't mean I can't own it just as much. Now I finally feel at home in my own skin. You can apply this to literally any aspect of your life. Everyone is different, and comparison is the thief of joy - don't let it steal your happiness or self confidence.

I feel like I've learned more in the last year than in the 23 that came before it, and I've come out slightly battered and bruised but all the more stronger for it. Here's to looking after number one and owning the things that make me different in 2017!

What did 2016 teach you?



  1. I love this post. You spoke so eloquently about the issues you've had but not come across as self involved. I foresee good things for you in 2017.

    1. Thanks so much Alice!! I flippin hope so haha

  2. Lovely post! 2016 taught me that no matter how bad things are, they will get better in time. I went through a lot this year so I can't wait to start afresh in 2017. x


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