“I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realising stuff” – Kylie Jenner

Did I ever think I’d start a blog post with a quote from Kylie Jenner? Nu-uh *shakes finger very sassily* but the girl was right. I think we can all describe 2016 as a pretty weird year. Like come on, Brexit happened, Donald Trump is soon to be president, Brangelina broke up and we lost some pretty notable legends like Mr David Bowie, Prince and George Michael. 2016 was proof that anything could happen. When I’ve been lurking on social media, 2016 been pretty split. It’s either been the best year of people’s lives or a disaster – there seems to be no in between. I started this year full of ambition and hope that this would be “my year” but come April I hit the realisation that this year would be a big old rollercoaster and FYI, I don’t do rollercoasters. But sometimes having a bit of a shit year makes you more aware of things. You’re not going through life with the rose tinted glasses on thinking everything is ‘totes amazing’. You start to analysis things. You start to learn more about yourself. You start to realise who deserves a place in your life. You get emotionally challenged and rather than call your mum and do a big “people aren’t being nice to me” tantrum down the phone, you’ve got to put your big girl boots on and deal with it. Although I’m coming out of 2016 with one major goal ticked off, what I’ve gained from a personal point of view has been more valuable than anything else I could of asked for. I actually feel like I’ve went from this super naive young girl to a strong, 25 year old woman who knows exactly what she wants. A fully fledged independent woman/girl boss/insert other cliche here.  So just exactly what did I realise?

First and foremost, 2016 has been the year where I’ve truly realised that I do not care what anyone thinks of me. Apart from my family and other half. I think we’ve all said this at some point in our lives as a flippant remark to make ourselves seem strong but really you know if you wound up in some group chat being slaughtered you’d be teary eyed thinking ‘WHY ME?’ but this time round, I mean it. I’m so over letting other basic bitches opinions or thoughts enter my mind or prevent me from being the person I want to be which is why I went full steam ahead and let everyone and their granny in my town know about my blog. I kept it a secret for so long, holding onto these thoughts of “oh but what if people slag me off?” before one day, I sat on my couch laughing at myself thinking AND WHAT? If these nobodies want to come give me some traffic and have a laugh at my expense, then come on over. Come screenshot me, come slate my outfit, come watch my channel and sneer at me because at the end of the day – views are views. I was so tired of living life in a little bubble, scared of what people thought of me and you know what, having this attitude has changed my outlook on life. I’m more carefree, I don’t filter how I speak. I feel like a total pretentious idiot for even contemplating this next phrase but I do feel liberated. If you’re someone who struggles with taking this approach in life but want to, my best advice would be don’t force it. It’ll come eventually. They say the older you get, the less you care and I believe that statement to be 100% correct. Figure out who you are and then OWN it. You owe nobody nothing and if you want to live your life not being you’re own authentic self, then you’re going to look back later on in life and wish you really did. I wish this is something I’d adapted much earlier in my life but it is what it is.

Friendships were a BIG part of my 2016. My mum used to always use the cliche phrase that friends where like stars; just because you didn’t see them didn’t mean they weren’t there and it’s now something I preach. For once in my life, I can hand on heart say I have the most incredible, crazy, supportive and positive circle around me that I’ve ever had. People who are truly rooting for me. My family have always been there for me but this year, I felt it more than ever. I felt like 2016 threw some shit at me and they made me feel like I was invincible. My boyfriend has been my rock. Even as I write this, I’m sitting smiling feeling so thankful to have this super amazing guy that I’m punching for in my life who I get to wake up beside every day and call my best friend. This last year has taught me so much about my friends too; that it doesn’t matter how long someone has been in your life, whether it be 10 years or 10 months or if you don’t see each other for 4 months or 4 weeks, that true friends are always there and I’m extremely thankful for mine. I’ve never been a super popular person. I’ve had some friends who have did me wrong. I’ve had some friends who I’ve drifted away from. I’ve had friends I’ve just kept around because I’ve known them since forever, despite having nothing in common with them. But when I look at my friendship circle right now, I’m blessed. These girls (and boys) I have met over the years have motivated me in my time of need, made me laugh while doing an ugly Kim K cry and reconnected with me even though our lives took totally different directions. If you’re one of my friends reading this and let’s not lie, you’ll know fine well because I will of send a link saying “YOU’RE IN MY NEW BLOG POST” then thank you and I love you. 2016 has made me realise that it’s not about the number of friends you have but the ones who you can count on to lift you up and make you laugh and I’m glad to end the year knowing I have some complete gems in my life. 

I learned so much from my career this year. I feel like a proper adult saying the word career but after hard graft for the last 2 years and ending the year on a high note that I’m officially a permanent Project Manager, I feel like I can use that word. It hasn’t been an easy ride but the main thing I’m taking away from a year on secondment is that if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is. In April this year, I went off on secondment and I truly thought “wow, this opportunity sounds incredible”. I would be working in Digital, something my inner geek was freaking out about, I would be exposed to so much new experience and best of all, I’d get to work from home the majority of my week. To compensate for the days I’d be out travelling, I’d get to work from my little humble abode, have zero commute, get to stay in my onesie and basically, live the dream. Working from home is a perk people instantly think is amazing and don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s great especially when you have to be super productive but it just wasn’t for me. It’s not the ‘dream’, it’s not staying in your PJs, it’s not relaxing. It’s lonely, isolating and at times, a little unhealthy. There are days I remember switching my laptop on at 07:00, nailing my to do list and before I knew it, I’d look at the clock at it would be 3pm. I’d of had no breakfast, no lunch, no tea break and most important, no social interaction. I wouldn’t have spoken to or seen another person. I’d end up holding off making food until dinner time and then feel like when my partner came home and we’d have a chat about our day, i’d have nothing to share. Nada. Then on the days when I was travelling, people in other offices would be so rude to me that home almost became a safety blanket. Instead of using the secondment to grow my people skills, I was introverting. I was reluctant to get out there because as lonely as my home seemed, I knew nobody would cross me or make me feel uncomfortable and thats exactly where it became unhealthy and I knew it had to stop. I could feel myself almost anxious to communicate and get out there. I had to, for my own sake, say enough is enough and gradually start to build my confidence up in dealing with people again. It’s taken a few months to get back to where I was but I’m finally back to my old, approachable self where I don’t let anyone make me feel uncomfortable and if anything, I’m really sad I tolerated the treatment I did for such a long time without opening my mouth. But onwards and upwards. The experience has paid off but I’ve learned the importance of work, not just from a financial/growth point of view but from a social element in my everyday life too. 

Lastly and probably most importantly, I feel like 2016 is the year where I’ve become a fully fledged adult and you know what? I like it. Sure I might not have it nailed; I reward myself with jaffa cakes for an hour of cleaning, I don’t know how to work and have broken multiple tin openers but I do have ‘good towels’ that are only for display and I will scorn you with my eyes if you dare put a cup on my coffee table without a coaster. I think the internet is very pro ‘let’s all pretend we don’t know what we’re doing and it’s cool to be winging it‘ when the reality is, being an adult isn’t all doom and gloom. Life is what you make it. Sure, it’s tough and there are times I wish my mum could still phone things on my behalf but I like watching myself grow. I like the fact that last year my signature dish was a Chicken & Sweetcorn pot noodle and this year I can knock up a good 3 course meal from scratch. I like learning new things. I like going to bed early. I like taking the car to places rather than get drunk because not waiting on a taxi and being able to get a McDonalds at 1am is much more appealing. Maybe i’m boring but maybe it’s just a sign that I’m growing into a woman.  It’s also the year were I’ve learned that just because you grow up, doesn’t mean everyone else has. I learned this at a social event were I went and broke the ice with someone who did me wrong a number of years ago to save awkwardness and be civil and instead, they couldn’t look me in the eye to talk to me and threw a helluva lotta sass back at me and that’s when it hit me. I didn’t walk away angry or upset; I walked away proud of myself. Proud that I could let go of pettiness, proud that rather than have a big massive elephant be in the room, I could acknowledge it and try to correct it and proud that I had the courage to approach the situation in that way. It made me realise that you know what, I am a bigger and better person than I used to be. 

I may have started 2016 with a list of goals and a meaty bucket list that was disbanded halfway through the year but when I read what I’ve just written back, I’ve realised I’ve accomplished more than I thought and instead of it being material milestones or places I can say I’ve been, it’s been genuine life lessons that will make me a stronger and better person. Lessons that I can adapt to my life no matter what it decides to throw at me. That when I get down because I can’t afford a ridiculously priced handbag despite working my arse off that you know what, I have things around me that money can’t buy and now, a belief in myself that I never had before. This post has turned into a giant slice of Edam but it’s true. Sometimes when things don’t go according to plan, it happens for a good reason. So peace out 2016. Thanks for all the life lessons and I hope when I read this back next year, I can still feel the sense of pride I do right now .. and have learned how to master opening a tin.