This is totally typical – me, typing away on New Year’s Eve, desperately trying to pen a post and publish it before a self-imposed deadline.
It’s been a while since I’ve written here, so sorry to the three people who might’ve been missing me on my little corner of the internet.
I have an excuse. Sort of. Have you ever heard of the Four Burners theory? Apparently, we all have four burners: family, friends, health and career – and we can only have three of them on at a time. And if you really want to excel at something, you have to limit yourself to just two.
Now, I think this is largely bullshit (sorry). But performing a balancing act with the important things in our life is all too familiar. For the last few months, I’ve been focusing on work (as I always will), following a new diet (not an ‘I need to lose 5 pounds to fit into my bikini’ sort – don’t worry), and, most importantly, trying to relax, find joy and keep up some semblance of a social life. Blogging slipped – and that’s OK.
I can’t promise I’ll be a two posts per week kind of girl in 2019, but I’m back-ish at least.
Review of the year #1
Life is weird, isn’t it? The more I try to condense my year into neat, bite-sized morsels for you, the falser it all sounds. Real life is a beautiful mess that can’t be neatly contained. If I was feeling lazy and basic, I’d share a few select photos from Instagram, tell you my highlights and what I’d learnt that year and be done with it. But I like to think good writing is honest writing. I want to share beautiful snaps from Paris but then share the reality behind them: that I felt very anxious and panicky, and was really struggling to enjoy my photogenic holiday.
I’m not ashamed by the truth because I’ve realised: absolutely everything in life is lightness and darkness.
I could filter out the bad bits to only show joy, smiles and aesthetically-pleasing moments (but who wants to impose that ‘perfect life’ pressure on themselves?). I could dwell on the negativity and avoid out-of-my-comfort-zone situations (but that’s just sad and boring). Or I could accept that there will always be both. And as long as we’re generally dealing with like, an 80:20 ratio of good to bad, I’m fine with that.
Review of the year #2
Now I have that rather long rant out the way, here’s what I actually did in 2018:
I started bullet journalling – the most time-consuming yet satisfying way to diarise your year. I kept on top of my events and tasks, upped my art skills and found a new way to unwind and have fun.
And thanks to bullet journaling, I’ve got back into painting (hello, watercolour lunchtimes!). It’s a very relaxing hobby. Except when I concentrate so hard I forget to breathe.
And this year, I revisited Amsterdam and Paris – both in spring, both somewhat stressful due to anxiety. But y’know what, negative emotions fade – the happy memories will stick around.
I can’t forget to mention that long, hot summer which everyone loved. It was less fun to be me, as I’m always so bloody warm. I did go to the beach though, and I wore a swimsuit. IN PUBLIC. Ground-breaking. It wasn’t as horrific as I imagined, so I will be semi-nude in public more often.
In other news, I started a new diet (my friend was advised to start it – I just copied her) and it’s genuinely improved my life during the last couple of months. It stopped me feeling like my insides were inside a blender and meant I felt up for fun things like pumpkin picking and wreath-making. I get an awful lot of joy out of seasonal festivities – I was so happy not to be missing out.
My favourite thing of all? The time I spent with my friends – whether it was a low-key games night, an impromptu photoshoot or a trip somewhere.
A few things I’ve learnt
Flowers are nice. I didn’t get it before, I do now. Peonies are my favourite, lavender is soothing (even if I’m just doodling it) and a vase of sunflowers is oh so cheery.
People can surprise you – in good ways. They can be kinder, more helpful and more wonderful than you’d dare to believe.
It’s so important to take time out for a bit of self-care every week. Whether that’s cooking something delicious, lighting a candle, indulging in your favourite show without feeling the need to ‘go and be productive’, having a bubble bath or doing a bit of exercise.
Two-factor authentification is important if your friend is liable to try and hack into your iCloud. Also: change your passwords more often (a tip from my hacker).
It’s OK to say you need help. And there’s always going to be someone out there who gets you and is going through the same thing. You’re not alone!
Surround yourself with honest, kind people who give good hugs. Life is too short for shit hugs.
Taking note of three good things a day can make such a difference to your mindset and it’s a nice reminder to look back on – even if it’s just ‘had a nice hot chocolate’.
Thank you to everyone. For the ones who encouraged me to be bold. For the ones who reminded me, intentionally or inadvertently, that we’re all worthy of being loved (anxiety can make you feel like a pretty hopeless human sometimes). The ones who made me laugh and smile until my face hurt. And the ones who made me cry with underlined words in Christmas cards and continually thoughtful gestures. (Ugh, that got soppy. Sorry.)
Thanks to the ones covertly reading this, the ones skimming for quotes and pictures, and the ones who have diligently soldiered through to the end. You’re my favourites.
Have a wonderful 2019 – I know I certainly intend to!