Life lessons: a 2017 tale

Life unfortunately has no rule book, no set of instructions, and no guarantees... well, maybe death and taxes.

 I’ve started 2018 in a very different situation to where I was when 2017 began.

Although for most 2017  was a tough year, my year had some really high highs. I got a job I enjoyed, in an industry I'm passionate about, using skills that were otherwise going to waste... I got experience I needed to move on, I was just not expecting to have to move on so soon.

For nine months 2017 was all smooth sailing, personally and professionally. I created more art than I have done in years, collaborated on multiple writing projects and progressed the novel I've been working on for the past 15 months... (more on that to come)

The final three months of the year felt a bit more like skidding on my knees over gravel. Good things came of that too though... I will always try to find the silver lining in any situation. Things I learned last year:

1. Digital art

It was something I had been putting off for a while (longer than I'm willing to admit to!). I had all the books, all the software and all the gadgets to go with it, I just never put aside time to learn. I found that the perfect thing to do when your professional life changes is get creative and tackle something that will enrich your life in another way. If my communications role hadn't ended after 12 months, would I have learned how to create digital art? Of course, just maybe not as soon as I did.

2. I can be brave!

When it comes to socialising I'm worse than my scaredy cat, who hides when someone knocks on the front door. At work I talk to anyone and everyone, I'll be nervous about it, but it's my job so I jump in with both feet. When it comes to my personal life I'm a bit more of an emotional hermit. I don't date, I don't try to make new friends... I suffer with crippling anxiety and hate being vulnerable, so opening up to people does not feel normal to me.

But last year I decided I needed to stop being that person. I've spent years working on myself, to be the person I aspired to be, to be the best version of me. And while that's an ongoing project, I feel more me than I ever have, happier with who I am and what I could bring to a relationship. So, I made new friends (who are fantastic) and decided to start dating. It felt terrifying, surprising, fun... and it reminded me that sometimes you're the best version of you when you're around someone who appreciates you...

3. I will work hard for a new job

For a long while I suffered with depression, the kind that just about let me go to work but killed any ambitions for my future career. Working on myself has helped me overcome a lot, including the creepy voice in the back of my mind that would tell me that I wasn't enough, that I couldn't aspire to more and that I was useless. The voice still tries it on sometimes, but I'm now in a place where I can acknowledge it isn't real and tell it to f*ck off...

I know that if I can work that hard on myself, I can work hard to get a new job... because I'm worth it. I wish that didn't sound as cheesy as it does. But for the first time in my life I know I deserve better, because I can do more, because I will work hard for it, the same as I have worked hard for everything I have in life.

So for 2018, what do I hope for?

The door is wide open and the right opportunity is out there just waiting for me to find it... Am I scared? Of course, if I've learned nothing else in life, I know this: "If you aren't scared your dreams aren't big enough". If it doesn't scare you, it's not worth it. And it's a good fear, a fear of the unknown but it's filled with anticipation and possibilities. This could be the best thing to ever happen to me... it could be anything. If life offers you something worth having grab it with both hands... because you never know how long you might have to wait for your next opportunity.


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