Would you believe it, it’s 2014! Happy New Year everyone! While I plan for 2014 to be a year of great things, I wanted to take a moment to look back on 2013 and the lessons it brought me. So here are 13 great and valuable things that I learnt in 2013…
- My parents are pretty much my best friends – I spent a little while thinking that I just couldn’t wait until I moved out and got my own place. At 23 I thought it was about time I became a ‘grown up’ and left my parents’ house, but the reality is that I love it here! My parents are the coolest, my Mum’s been a creative inspiration from when I was little and my Dad is practically a genius. Hanging out with them is the best thing. They’re interesting and totally hilarious and I can’t have as much fun, or be as openly myself, with anyone else in the world. My favourite thing to do on a Saturday night is to spend the evening in with my parents watching crappy TV and stuffing my face with a takeaway – family traditions at their finest! I’m literally going to be so sad when I do finally move out, I don’t know what I’ll do when I don’t spend every single day with them!
- It’s OK to not know what you want – What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? What is your next career step? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know! These are the kinds of questions I get asked all the time. After stressing about my future for a good few months, rushing into a life plan that I hadn’t thought through and consequently failing epically, I decided to stop panicking and accept the fact that I just didn’t now. And hey, that’s OK! Once I let go of all that stress/panic/fear I was able to accept that, while I didn’t have my future set in stone, my present was pretty damn good and in the now I was totally happy!
- I’m not good at projects that require consistent, frequent and ongoing attention – I started off the year with a list of goals and a Project Life scrapbook. I was all set to make a new recipe every week, spend time outdoors, make an effort to learn new skills, meet new people, and document all of my amazing achievements in my weekly Project Life scrapbook. I have met new people, I’ve done courses in Equality & Diversity and Business & Administration and I’ve taught myself new sewing/knitting/crochet skills. I also made more effort to take long walks and just sit out in the garden on Summer days. I did not, however, succeed in making a new recipe every week, nor did I maintain my weekly scrapbook. I’ve realised that projects that don’t take long to reach completion are way more my cup of tea, and that if I have to return to something every week I eventually get bored and stop bothering. Though hopefully this blog will prove to be the exception to that rule!
- People are both my most and least favourite thing about the world – Every day I see or hear or read something that makes me feel sad to be human. It hurts to see the way my fellow humans behave, how they express hate toward one another, how they can be so disrespectful and spread so much negativity. Sometimes I despair. Luckily though, I can just as often find the good in the world. I can read stories of thousands of people who come together to make a little boy’s wish come true, or watch videos of men demanding their fellows take responsibility for their own actions. For every douchebag I encounter, I know that there is someone out there doing good, fighting for what’s right and just being a generally great soul, and that always gives me hope.
- I can’t fix everything – I am a self-confessed fixer. If something’s wrong I want to come up with an action plan of how to fix. I can probably get all up in other people’s business with my advice, and I definitely want to take control when I feel like other people aren’t doing so. This year, though, I’ve learnt that I can’t always help, or save the day with my thought-out solutions. I’ve learnt to take a step back and let other people deal with their own business. They will come to me if they need me, and to be honest it’s pretty exhausting trying to take on everyone else’s problems as well as your own.
- I can complete a half marathon – I signed up on impulse and spent the following 3 months ‘training’ and telling everyone I encountered that I was probably going to pass out half way through and never make it round. By the time race day came I’m not sure that I had even run 13 miles combined in all of my training sessions (which consisted of intervals with a high walking to running ratio!). I’d never run 1 mile without stopping and I was probably really unprepared. It was a struggle. I walked a large majority and limped part of it, but I did it. And I ran a whole mile without stopping! For me, that’s a massive achievement and I’m so proud of myself. It just goes to show what perseverance can get you!
- I sort of can cook – I always referred to myself as ‘a baker, not a cook’. Sweet treats have forever been my specialty and for years I’ve claimed that I can’t really cook. That, however, is not strictly true. This year I’ve made plenty of good dinners from scratch, and while I’m not a flavour connoisseur I think I’m good enough to get by. And hey, I can always learn more!
- Moments make the best memories – I think it’s only really recently that I’ve realised that the most important thing is the time you spend with the people you love, and the great memories you create. Everything else in life can seem so important and so urgent, but happiness really comes from the moments you have. It could be your Dad helping you through your first half marathon training session, or trying to teach your boyfriend how to knit. Whatever it is, it’s those moments that stick in your mind to create the best memories, and that is what’s important!
- I’m better than I think I am – Whenever I talk about my love of all things creative and handmade, I always tend to put myself down. “Yes, I did make it myself but it’s not very good!”. This year I’ve learnt that, while there is always room for improvement, I should be proud of what I accomplish. Whether I’m crocheting some cushion covers or trying a recipe for the first time, I’m doing something creative and producing something from scratch, and that’s really cool! So no more telling people I’m not that good, and instead I shall show pride and confidence in my own abilities!
- I can choose how to feel – I never used to think I was an emotional person. That was until someone told me that they could tell the mood I was in by the way I said hello in the morning. I think I would often react to the situations I was in, and the uncontrollable factors around me, in a negative way. I would stress and complain and continue to carry the negativity around with me. I’ve learnt that I can control those feelings and acknowledge that if things aren’t going well, that’s ohkay. There’s not point getting in a tizz about it, and a positive reaction will go a long way in making the situation better.
- I need to put my organisational skills to better use – I love organising. I love having systems and for everything to have, and stay in, its proper place. I could go to my sister’s house and re-organise everything. I’m pretty much Monica. But I feel that I could be way more organised with how I manage my time. There’s a lot of minutes in the day don’t you know, and I find that I end up wasting a lot of mine, so I want to use my borderline OCD organisational skills to give my time-management an overhaul!
- You really do only get out what you put in – Having worked on lots of projects this year (some successful and some not so much!) I have definitely seen first hand that you really only reap as much reward as the amount of effort that you put into something. This has taught me to really just let go, dive in and give something your all. How else is it going to be the best it could be?
- Hindsight is a wonderful thing – Throughout 2013 I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do pretty much anything I want. I’ve recharged my batteries to maximum capacity and I’ve had time to think through all of the decisions I’ve made in the past. It’s wonderful to be able to look back on the more difficult times in my life and understand that, while I stick by my own decisions and believe that I did what was right at the time, I can now see where I might have gone wrong. I’ve been able to learn about myself and use that knowledge to make myself an even better version of me!
Though it may have had its ups and downs, 2013 has been great, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!