Another 31st and another year ends… And so it’s time to get introspective and take a look over 2016… This year has been an odd one and absolutely full of change and I think that is what has defined this year to be honest. This year I’ve made life changing decisions, I questioned the hell out of my choices and I’m still considering a lot of things but when I look at what I want from my future I believe I’m making the right choices for me. I hope at least.
I think the world in general has made some terrible, terrible decisions (hello Brexit & Trump) because of fear and greed which aren’t really the best foundations for decisions imho. However, I am choosing to see these disappointing majorities as an opportunity: for us who believe in cultivating a more open and inclusive future for everyone to build and educate, while even more importantly doing good things to benefit all… An opportunity to create things that add to culture. Because as Dumbledore said ‘While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one’.
I watched this video last year in 2015 called The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon to Patagonia where a chap called Jedidiah Jenkins goes cycling for a year and a half with the aim of extending how he remembered time and to experience more of it, shaking up his daily living because ‘routine is the enemy of time’. That’s pretty much how this year has been for me in a way and I’m finding it really hard to look back because I feel like so much has happened but it feels like no time has passed at all since I stopped my routine clock. Which I think is a good thing because I’ve loved almost every moment of it, so instead of the usual overview I’ve found some questions which I’m just going to answer.
What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
The single best thing and most terrifying thing was quitting my job and starting freelancing. It’s changed everything. It’s not gone as imagined as anything but it’s working differently and better than I anticipated.
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Seeing loved ones and people I care about struggle with work and unexpected life problems and not being able to do anything to help them other than to talk and listen.
What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Making connections with more people than I expected to because I finally had time to spend with them. Over the last few years I’ve been working so hard with day job work and freelancing in the evening I have lost out on doing things I like with people I like just because I knew this was where I wanted to be so I needed to put the work in. This year I’ve made such an effort to be there more for friends, to meet up, talk and hang out because I’ve given myself time now that my side hustle has become my main hustle.
What was an unexpected obstacle?
Time management has been a funny one. I am very committed to doing what I do and I can work from home very easily, the trouble I have is telling myself to start and stop at reasonable hours. Some days I have done nothing because I didn’t feel like doing anything, others I’ve worked from 9:30am till 4am the following morning. It’s great having the luxury but it should be more balanced.
Pick three words to describe this past year.
Independent. Bright. Gamble.
What was the best thing you read this year?
It’s not a book, or an article. I love Beau Taplin’s Instagram. There are such beautifully written words: It’s like reading Conor Oberst’s lysrics that speak unlimited truths just they’re not lyrics.
Who were your most valuable relationships with?
All my standard relationships and friendships all stood strong but the ones that stand out are…
- Juliette, who has consistently been there when I’ve needed someone to talk to and who would just be supportive and interested.
- Sabine, who has been a pleasure to work with again and who has helped keep me sane when I’ve had no one to talk to all week. It’s been and will continue to be such an adventure and I feel I have more to bring to the table this around.
- And lastly working with Audrey and Olly-Fleur, who I was only blessed with the presence of for two months, but the process was a bit like going through hardcore boot-camp and it felt like having allies and felt like making genuine friends who have your back.
What were your favourite moments spent with your friends & family?
There are so, so many. Walks home along the river, weekend wandering and late night walks in the heat of summer with Mikee and Piggy – getting to see bats in the park and beautiful sunsets over the docks and walks over the downs with the dogs at home. Wandering around Barcelona with mum and walking our legs into oblivion then watching the classic film Sharknado… Airbourne, sitting on the beach getting sunburned firstly with my family then with my friends, and watching fireworks freezing on the top of Beachy Head with mum. Seeing my dad in the UK for the first time in four years and having walks around Friston forest with Sarah. Midnight & midday phone calls with Dan having the most interesting conversations about anything and everything. Multiple late evenings at work with Audrey – listening to Britney Spears, chatting about shared points of view and interests that then led to evening hang outs and a day wondering around Highgate cemetery. A picnic with bubbles and puppies with Aoife, as well as a few other catch ups that involved attempting to infiltrate the Ogilvy bar… Late night merry conversations with wonderful, interesting people. Watching films, being a bit bitchy, talking about love and crying with laughter with Aaron. Special hangouts with my fellow girl boss Antonia that have included too much wine, M&S cocktails in the park and signing a million pieces of paper for her so she could legally change her name. Conversations and meet ups with Fleur, talking about ideas and about beliefs, shared aspirations, dreams and figuring out life and how to deal with it. I had two spectacular weeks spent with Christina: we saw my grandad’s 90th and had a spa day and did our favourite London things including gigs, milkshakes and one time pamper time. A one night get together with four of my closest friends that live too far away, that somehow resulted in free dessert. Fridays making things with Cathy and talking about life. Lunches & dinners and craft days with Juliette. Skyping with Sabine righting the wrongs of the world. Hanging out with Hussain sitting in a cafe on a Tuesday afternoon and realising I’m doing the right thing. Welcoming Will back to London and seeing friends from St Martins and meeting their cute little babies. Meeting up with Megan and Sara and talking about life and creativity. And lastly being trusted by the loveliest of friends to work on their precious ventures, helping to bring them to life.
What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?
‘I trust you’ from a few people this year. It’s been my favourite thing to hear.
In what ways did you grow emotionally and physically?
Emotionally I’m more steady and confident than before although I feel I am in the process of questioning, analysing and assessing every single thing in my life. Far more than before. Physically I’m taking care of myself more, again I have more time. I take Piggy for walks, and I will frequently walk the hour and a half journey home from central London. I’ve also started doing pilates again and I really like having that hour every week to focus on breathing and moving. I’m eating better because I eat at home and I only eat when I want/need: I’ve lost a stone in weight since leaving full time which is mad.
What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
I have loved the relationships I’ve built with people over the last year. I’ve loved having the opportunity to work on new things and learn about lots of different topics and I’ve really enjoyed boosting my confidence on some aspects that were lacking. I also love that I no longer need a managers validation: I’ve realised it makes me hold myself back, waiting until someone recognises I’ve done something good but now I give that to myself while working as part a team with my clients.
What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
My work is my passion and so it becomes a massive part of my life – knowing when to stop is the hardest thing and finding things to do that are equally as interesting is actually really difficult.
What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Worrying. Worrying about stuff. Worrying about how it would go. Worrying solves nothing.
What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Changing my job and simply spending time with people I care about.
What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be?
Learning & Success.
What are you looking forward to next year?
A last minute trip to Gran Canaria in two weeks time – I have no idea what to expect. Sleeping Beauty the ballet with Aaron. Going to see Bonobo and hopefully seeing Glass Animals again. Christina & Dorian visiting in April. Visiting Verona & Lake Garda with mum in May. Spending time with amazing people. Starting Kireli (I’ll tell you later).
Who do you want to spend more time with in 2017?
Everyone I spent time with in 2016.
Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
I would love to develop the ability to talk confidently and articulately in person around people I don’t know. I can’t do it very well and it’s the one thing I’ve felt most frustrated with and that I have never been given the chance to cultivate.
What do you want your everyday life to be like?
An adventure. Full of ups and downs, sunlight and fog (not much rain though), music and dancing, reading and sleeping… Full of conversations of the deep and silly varieties with people who make me smile alongside quiet moments just spent swimming in my soup brain while sitting in a nice smelling bath in a dark room… Like it is now mostly… With maybe a little more structure.
Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
Flossing & a healthy bed time (I write at 3:51am – oops).
What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I’ve spent this last year just seeing how things go without much intention. This year I want to bring in the intention and see what can be achieved.
How do you want to remember the year 2017 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
I’ll remember it however it’s meant to be remembered. However I have a feeling it’s going to be a year full of unknowns, contemplation and changes and I have no idea where that will lead.
What is your number one goal for 2017?
My number one goal all the time, keeping positive and always seeing the bright side.
And so to end on another quote… ‘What a year this day has been. What a day this year has been’. Happy New Year my sweet peas.