The last twelve months have been a real mix of emotions. Some amazing highs, some devastating lows. Back in December, the word I chose to describe 2016 was growth. It was an easy decision. But I’ve been sat here for the past 15 minutes trying to sum up 2017 in just one word. Going backwards and forwards, wondering how I feel as we draw closer to the end of another 365 days.
2017 changed me. In so many ways.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced emotion like I did for the victims of the Manchester bombings. I wasn’t involved, I didn’t know anyone involved and I don’t live in Manchester. Yet I was overcome with this immense grief. Like so many others were. For weeks I would cry all the way to work and back again in the car when I was by myself and my mind had time to wander. I would cry at night. I would cry randomly in the toilet at work. And I felt guilty for grieving for people I didn’t know. But it was the innocence of the lives lost that we all struggled to comprehend and the feeling of being scared of what to expect next. I became anxious about leaving the flat and travelling for work, and I pulled away from social media altogether for a little while – a hard thing to do when you earn your living from being online. I stopped watching the news and reading newspapers. I think we all wanted to bury our heads in the sand, especially when just a week later the London Borough Market terror attack took place. But from the dark came kindness. Kindness and resilience. I felt a shift in people’s attitudes. It sounds silly but just offering someone a smile in the shop, or holding the door open, buying someone a coffee, or volunteering somewhere were all little ways I’ve tried to be a kinder person. And it’s something we need more than ever. Be kind.
I’ve already discussed in a previous post how the Law of Attraction changed my life. But what I will say is that whether you believe in a higher being or not, the power of positive thinking can’t be denied. Positive thinking changed my whole life during the second half of the year, and although it sounds like an easy shift to make, it really did take some work. I’ve achieved so many goals that I set at the start of 2017 and have even surpassed what I thought I could achieve career-wise. Today my happiness is down to the change in mindset I had back in July of this year. Everything got a little easier, and it was so clear to see how negative I’d become up until that point. Once a negative thought entered my brain, I stopped it in its tracks. I didn’t even allow it to reside in my head space. Of course, there are times when I’m feeling down and struggle to be positive – thats only natural – but my secret weapon? Motivational Ted Talks and speeches on Youtube. Don’t laugh, they’re a game changer on down days and I’ll often listen to one of a morning when getting ready for the day ahead.
Onto a slightly lighter note, 2017 was the year I finally tested my willpower and won. I’m a huge sugar addict and would have a can of Coke, a chocolate bar and some sweets at least once every day. Seriously. I was a walking, talking advert for diabetes. For Lent, however, I decided to cut out refined sugar from my diet for 6 weeks. The results were amazing, including clear skin, masses of energy and a massive 21lbs in weight loss. But more importantly, it showed me that if I put my mind to something, I really do have the willpower to make a positive change in my life. And until that point, I thought I’d lost the concept of willpower completely. I believed I was missing the gene. That it had gone AWOL. It hadn’t. It was just hiding behind my tenth can of coke that week.
Realising My Worth
Can I tell you a tale that not many people know? In October last year I met a guy. We hit it off instantly. We dated for two months, seeing each other around three times a week. Not many people knew about him because I’m very cagey when it comes to my love life. I’ll share everything from my smear test results to my morning routine, but when it comes to love, I keep those details to myself. Everything was going swimmingly. We were even talking about booking a holiday together. Big moves huh? The week before Christmas – yes, seven days before Christmas – we planned to go to the cinema, him offering to pick me up at 3pm. 3pm came and went. He didn’t call. He didn’t text. After two months of dating, he just stopped contacting me. My pride didn’t let me contact him after that day. I knew from his Instagram he was still alive (even though in my head I’d decided he was basically dead) but for a good six months after that, I played every detail around in my head, trying to decipher what I could have said, what I could have done on that last night we saw each other. Except it wasn’t anything I’d done. He was the dick. He was the one who, at 32, couldn’t even end a relationship in a mature way. He was the one who told me to be ready for 3pm and instead, never picked me up. That experience very nearly changed me for the worst. But instead, I changed my mindset to one of amazing self-worth. I’m a Queen. I deserve the best. That is all.
One massive change in my life this year has been the time and effort I have invested into friendships. It became apparent throughout the last couple of years that I wasn’t spending nearly enough time with the people that I loved due to work and blogging commitments. This year I wanted to regain those friendships and really nurture those in my life. I’ve built and strengthened amazing relationships this year, some of which have kept me sane throughout certain parts of 2017. One of my best friends moved to the other side of the world in May and we still speak nearly every single day. It’s about investing time into the relationships that bring the most positive, uplifting, kind and honest vibes into your life and the women that I speak to on a regular basis certainly do that.
Determination & Drive
This year will officially be known as the year I discovered my inner girl boss. I’ve always been a hard worker but this year, something changed. I realised the potential of Apartment Number 4 and I also started to believe it could be something more than a hobby. I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade and it was only in June of this year that I decided to move from Blogger over to a self-hosted WordPress site. What a life-changing decision that was. For anyone who knows the restrictions of running your website on the Blogger platform, knows how frustrating and limiting it is. It was nerve-wracking in many ways and pushed me so far out of my comfort zone into the technical side of web design. I completely rebranded, worked with some amazing brands, launched a weekly newsletter, designed a PDF magazine, won three blog awards, went part-time at my day job and continued to grow my audience month by month. And this is me just warming up…
It’s been a funny old year, but overall, on a personal level, I’m in a great place. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s the universe. But I feel like I’m starting a new life chapter right now and I’m excited for what 2018 has in store. I’ll be writing my usual “goals” post with a twist this year so be sure to come back on the 1st January 2018 for that one. In the meantime, continue to munch your way through the selection boxes and come back tomorrow for a brand new interiors post.