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I used to think that life knowledge was a finite concept. Like, you go through your teenage years a bit clueless, learn about life in your twenties and then BOOM! Thirty hits and you’re sorted. You know everything there is to know about life, the love and the universe and live out the rest of your years doing everything right.
Imagine my surprise when I realised that, as the years go on, life seems to be teaching me more. It doesn’t seem fair; when will I hit the peak of knowledge, when will I know everything there is to know about everything? Do I have to wait til 40? 50? Sort me out, universe ;)
I kid, I kid: I actually very much enjoy this feeling. Getting to the end of the year and realising you’re a better person than you were at the start, how cool is that? Recognising all these lessons that probably made you feel like crap at the time but have actually formed you into a person that is happier, healthier, nicer than you were before. Personal growth, innit.
So here it is: a run down of everything that 2015 has taught me. It’s been a difficult, lovely, lesson-full year. Bring on 2016’s lessons, I say…
Working hard feels great. But you are only human.
This year I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked before. I have gone days and days where my only time sitting down for a quiet 5 minutes has been on the loo and, come December, I felt almost ready to explode from the stress and sheer exhaustion of always being on. Finding ways to relax that help me turn my brain off have been golden – reading, yoga, meditation. And realising that sometimes you just need to stop.
Girlfriends are everything.
I never believed in the power of women friends when I was married. My relationship with my husband came before all else, and it’s been an interesting and sometimes difficult shift towards the realisation that the relationships you have with your girlfriends are essential to your wellbeing. This year I’ve realised just how many incredible inspiring women I have in my life and I’m so grateful for them all – I visited one in America for two weeks, saw another get married, met one in Bangkok. 2016 is going to continue to be the year of my warrior women.
Be who you are…
… because everyone else is taken. But seriously, as my friend Alison recently reminded me in her own 2015 round-up, comparison is the thief of joy yet Social Media makes it really hard for us to wonder why our own lives aren’t these shiny polished versions that we see online. IT’S NOT REAL, that’s why! The important thing is to live our lives in a way that makes us happy and content with the energy we’re putting out in to the universe, sod the perfect little snaps you see online.
I firmly believe that health is one thing in this world that is taken for granted – like so many things we get out only equal what we put into our bodies. If you eat crap you will generally feel like crap, if you don’t prioritise rest you won’t be on top form. Taking care of our health is a vicious circle – when you’re tired you lack the energy to look after yourself – and I’ve definitely fallen foul of this towards the end of the year. 2016 is going to be the year when my family’s health will be at the very top of my priority list.
Minimal is good.
My life is happiest when I’m without clutter, be it emotional, at work or in my wardrobe. I will continue to spend 2016 cutting out the crap in my life, at home and in my head.
Being a mum is THE BEST.
This year is the first I have felt like I’ve enjoyed motherhood – and been good at it. I’ve cherished every second of mothering in 2015 and have found myself so completely in love with the two little people I created. Not that I didn’t love them before, but I found it much more of a challenge to assimilate my old self with the mother I had become. Today those two people are one and it is just delightful.
Dreams can come true.
If you work at something hard enough and think about it long enough then it can happen – I’ve proved it this year, so has my amazing friend Laura. But it’s terrifying, debilitating, an emotional rollercoaster of feeling not good enough and stifled by your own ambition and talent.
You can get through it though. You might go a little bit mental in the meantime, but you can.
Relationships are hard.
I’m not sure when I’ll ever have a relationship that I don’t spend a lot of time fretting about. Time constraints aside, I find the balance between children and boyfriend very difficult indeed. How do I even begin to introduce a potential one true love into a life that already has two lifelong loves? I’ve solved that particular conundrum by not having any relationships this year and it seems to be working… I’m sure when the time is right it’ll happen.
You can’t control other people’s behaviour.
You just can’t. In a year when I have settled into what I think is a lovely divorced relationship with my ex-husband I have also discovered that other people in your life can disappoint you. From this I’ve come up with my own personal rule: if someone does something to upset me I either confront the issue, or let it go. Because holding on to negative feelings just breeds unhappiness, and that’s something I definitely do not want.
It’s just brilliant. Best £79 I’ve ever spent.
Detracts from a multiple of sins. Thumbs up, Clinique Matte Magenta.
Over to you: what has 2015 taught you?