One of the best things about a new year is a fresh start. A chance to review the year gone by, look forward to the year that’s coming… it’s one of my favourite times.
I’m not an idiot, I know it doesn’t take a new year for a new start. After all, I make mini resolutions each and every Monday ;) But I do adore the finality of closing the door on one year and stepping into a new one with a positive frame of mind, a set of happy intentions to live by.
2016 was a bit of a shitter for many of us, and I was not immune from having my own amount of crap. I was betrayed a couple of times, both in love and in life, and I’m not going to lie: it was hard. Looking back, it was nothing of the assault on the emotions that I went through from, ooh, 2012-2015, but when you get over a certain amount of shit (i.e. those monumentally bad three years) you assume you might be due a bit of a reprieve.
Not so, eh Universe?
But, as I always like to think with parenting, it’s not that it gets any easier but that you learn how to cope better. And the same is true with life. Shit happens – a million bumper stickers say, so it must be true – but the more thrown at you the less that sticks. Which I guess is why, by the end of the year, I learned how to stress only about the small stuff. A house move? Easy peasy. A couple of broken nails? HEARTBROKEN.
And really, 2016 wasn’t all bad…
I got really good with making our small spaces at home work, we took a family jaunt to Bournemouth, I celebrated some secret single behaviours, I started celebrating my love for women (and carried on all year), I wondered how to make the holidays work as a work from home parent. I mulled over my favourite things to do in Brooklyn (and then did pretty much all of them in the summer), celebrated my brilliant friend’s book release, learned some online dating lessons, took my children abroad alone for the first time (an absolute HIGHLIGHT) and delighted over one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in. I learned lessons working for myself, found out I have to run a marathon, had a gorgeous hotel stay in Worcestershire with the kids and waved my youngest off to school. I went six months without men, talked about how tough the return to work can be, outlined the men I REALLY don’t want to date, found the perfect mum jeans and spent yet another Christmas without my children.
I was gutted about both Brexit and Trump, shocked and saddened at situations on our doorstep (Calais, and further afield Aleppo and the war in Syria) and wondered how to help. I met some incredibly inspirational people and admired a couple of friends’ successes that were really really deserved.
I had the best year ever work-wise, with November breaking records as my highest grossing month, wrote a couple of pretty popular pieces for The Telegraph and remained very much in love with my blog and my work: something I am thankful for every single day.
I said goodbye to a couple of friendships that weren’t working and re-connected to two old friends I’ve missed and love dearly, and can’t wait to spend more time with them this year.
So, what have I got planned for 2017?
Be nice: it costs nothing, and is the easiest way to make someone else happy. Stay away from the selfish, the self-obsessed, the liars and the dramas. Be peaceful, honest and consistent.
Work hard: I am the only obstacle to my own success, and I will continue to work hard with the caveat of granting myself more confidence. I deserve to know I’m good at what I do, and going into projects feeling capable and hardworking always leaves me happy. I’ll also work smart, using my time wisely.
Read. Watch documentaries. Investigate. Talk. Learn.
Last year my daily beauty ritual was one of the most important things I implemented: even if my day is a write-off, I know I have 20 minutes at the end of the day to relax and treat myself. My love for all things skincare went stratospheric this year and I’m excited to share more of that on my blog in 2017.
Relationships take work and this year I’m going to give them the time they deserve. From the wonderful women I have in my life to the budding romance hovering excitedly on the horizon, this is going to be the year to stay open and ready for these wonderful relationships.
Finish that sodding book. I’ve been ‘writing’ it for years and years, but I’m really ready to channel the last four years into words, get the thing written and represented.
Run a marathon. Oops.
Be more patient, less tired, less shouty, more loving with the kids. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to loving them.
Put the best into my blog. I’ve been writing here for six years now and I hope you know how much I love it; without readers it’d be just me shouting into an empty abyss, so you are the reason I’m here. I want to keep writing about the things I love – single parenting, relationships, divorce, beauty, work, home – and connect with more women like me. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to anyone who’s read, commented, liked, emailed… I appreciate you all.
2017: the bar has been set pretty low. Let’s do this, shall we?
PS: here’s what 2015 taught me, and looking back at January 2015 / January 2014 / January 2013 / January 2012 / January 2011.
Photos by SarahLou Francis.