The life-changing year that was 2018

young woman in maroon jumper looking into the distance, blog about the life-changing year that was 2018
Photo credit: Alex Ivory

Sounds kind of dramatic to describe my 2018 as a life-changing year, but I can honestly say that it was! To use that clichéd word, it’s been a total rollercoaster, so I thought it’d be good to take stock and reflect a bit on what went well and what didn’t, as well as what I’ve learnt…

The bad

My anxiety was the worst it’s ever been. I started the year in a job I’d got just a couple of months earlier, back in November 2017. Leading up to Christmas, I’d struggled with it but put it down to beginner’s nerves I suppose, since there’s always 101 new things to learn in a new place of work.

Unfortunately the new year didn’t turn out to be the settling in period I’d hoped for; I really liked my team and my boss, but something just wasn’t clicking. If you read my post about anxiety earlier in the year, then you’ll know that I was waking up feeling sick in the pit of my stomach, regularly on the verge of tears and overwhelmed by normally simple tasks. It got to the point where something definitely had to give.

My dad got really ill. At the start of the year my dad’s health quickly deteriorated and he found himself in hospital for a few weeks with an auto-immune condition. He showed incredible courage and positivity through the whole thing, and I’m so glad to say that he’s fine now, with the condition totally under control.

Someone I loved, died. If anyone had told me a year ago that this was going to happen, I would not have believed them. But cancer is an evil killer and last month took the most beautiful of souls in my mum’s best friend Jenny. I’m still trying to compute this now, and recently wrote a post with my thoughts on working through grief, as it’s certainly an ongoing thing.

The good

I changed careers. With Aaron’s encouragement I left my job in marketing to take some time out. As lots of you will already know, I started volunteering at a primary school and subsequently got a job as a teaching assistant at the school I’m at now.

It was one of the single best things I’ve ever done and has totally transformed my happiness and outlook on life. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to have ended up at an amazing place of work, which I don’t dread on a Sunday night.

Of course it’s not all rainbows and unicorns; working in a school is physically and emotionally exhausting! But so totally worth it. You can read more about my career switch-up in this post I wrote back in July.

My physical health was a lot better. Not that it was ever particularly bad, but this year I didn’t get properly ill once and I’m so grateful for that. No tonsillitis, and no bad back which was amazing. Seeing an osteo and doing some yoga after the back problems I experienced last year have both really helped.

I got to see my friends get married. This year I went to five weddings and three hen do’s, and had the most incredible time at all of them! It was a total honour to celebrate some of my bestest friends getting married and see them so happy.

I transformed this blog! I started my blog back in 2012 and it had got to the point where I wrote so sporadically that I only had one post to show for myself in all of 2017.

Inspired by a colleague at my old work, and subsequently the hundreds of amazing bloggers I’ve discovered online since then, I set about buying a domain name and a template, and vowing to make my blog into a serious, regular thing this year.

This post is my 84th of the year in contrast to the 21 posts I wrote in all of 2012-2017 so you could say I got into it! It’s been absolutely amazing to connect with so many different people on social media that I’d never come across before, and be inspired by their words and images. Thank you SO much for being part of this online community because I cannot tell you enough how much it has all meant – and does mean – to me. To have you read my words is a total honour and privilege.

What I learnt

In a nutshell, so much! But in an attempt not to waffle on for several more paragraphs, here’s a few things which I hope might also serve to inspire you…

  • Happiness is so much more important than money (something we all know in theory, but which very much hit home this year)
  • Nothing matters more than the health of people you care about. Don’t bury your head in the sand because you could regret it later, but seize every opportunity to tell that person how wonderful they are (something I need to keep getting better at)
  • I know embarrassingly little about the struggle of so many, and I live in a bubble of privilege. It’s up to me to break out of that and educate myself
  • The wobbles in my body are beautiful
  • You are never alone in your struggles. Every time I’ve shared something vulnerable, other people have been able to relate, and honestly I think we can help each other so much just by being open
  • Sensitivity is not a weakness but a strength

That brings me to the end of my 2018 review, a year of the lowest lows but also highest highs. Thank you so much for reading. What’s been the good and bad for you? What have you learnt? Here’s to a 2019 that’s full of good things and joy to come.

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