Looking back at 2017 …

Looking back at 2017 …

I have to say that 2017 was pretty full on, in more ways than one. Looking back at 2017 now I can see a little more clearly the things accomplished, the goals missed and the lessons learned. Whilst a total mixed bag of emotions and events, there were things I would love to do again and things I am more than happy to be leaving in the past!

You can’t please them all!

I have to say this is probably the hardest lesson I had to learn last year. There were so many times I had set things up for my family and friends, and someone was left feeling dissatisfied or unhappy. The fact is you really can’t please everybody! No matter how hard I tried I just ended up feeling deflated and a little bit of a failure. This is no way for anyone to live. As hard as it can be sometimes we need to just ignore the sulkers and make the most of the ones who appreciate our efforts. A mindset I intend bringing into this year, where I will say no to some people more often and yes to the ones who are around because they care about me and not what they can get me to do for them. I know there will be times I am tripped up by my need to people please, but I will be doing my absolute best to try and save myself from that particular heart ache.

Trust your guts!

I am an absolute advocate (now) of trusting a mother’s instinct. So much so, that I could actually kick myself for not trusting it a lot sooner. Looking back at 2017 I wince at how bloody hard a fight it was at times. How I even fought myself over fear of being labelled ‘The Hysterical Mother’ on the playground. Oh how I would give my one year younger self a bit of a talking to if I could. I would tell her that the churning in her tummy about it not being the best school to send our boy to was spot on. How the whole Umbrella Pathways scenario would be fine, that I didn’t imagine everything I was seeing, and that the health professionals could actually see it too. I wish I could tell her to chill the heck out and put all that energy into being mentally healthy! But I can’t do that, instead I am stepping into this brand spanking new year with a determination to keep on trusting my instincts, and being brave in following them more. It won’t happen overnight, but start as you mean to go on and all that.

It’s ok to not be ok.

Anxiety has had its grips on me something terrible the last year. To the point it has prevented me from enjoying so many things. It has stopped me from posting things, from seeing people, from going places and so much more. But I have also been able to speak with my husband about it so he can understand why I sometimes freak out. It has helped others feel connected because I have been honest about where I am at that given point. I have asked for help and more importantly I have received it. It is ok to not be ok, but it is never ok to not let people in to support you during those down times. All it takes is an SOS to someone you trust, and they’ll be there to hold your hand through it. I am so thankful that I have a few people, my Phil mainly, to just hold my hand, to lend their ear or supply tissues as and when I need them. They have totally kept me sane this last year and they are the first blessings I count every day.

Hold on to your dreams!

Last year I nearly lost hold of my dreams, becoming consumed with Umbrella Pathways appointments, depression, anxiety, terminal illnesses in loved friends, and so much more. All of it trying to pull me down a very dark and isolated path. Thankfully Phil was there to keep bringing me back on track. He encouraged me to continue with my blog, to pursue some little dreams and desires again. For Christmas he treated me to a beautiful new camera so I could pursue my desires of photography. I really didn’t expect the excitement and satisfaction I would get from taking a really nice photo. I started simple with my friends in Wales, and their pooch. I even had a dabble at going manual for some sea spray shots as storm Eleanor started up. I cannot tell you how having a dream and pursuing it can reenergise your whole being. Having that camera in my hands and taking photos makes my heart so happy. This year I want to fine tune those skills because my dream now is to be able to sell my photographs. How amazing would that be?! So hold on to those dreams, put all your energy into pursuing it, because no matter how long it takes to get there you will feel so fulfilled when you do.

I am who I am.

Much in line with other lessons I have learned last year, I am who I am. My Dad taught me through his example how to people please. We called him a social chameleon because he changed his whole demeanour to fit in with whoever he was around. He didn’t need to but he never felt like he was good enough to sit at the table with people unless he did change himself to suit them. I think this last year especially I have slipped back into that very bad habit. The past few months I have cried over not feeling ‘good enough’ and quite frankly loathed myself a little for being so weak about it all. I am pretty sure I’m not the only one who has felt this way about themselves and sadly I won’t be the last either. But I don’t want to feel like that anymore, I am who I am and I won’t change to fit in with others anymore. I won’t cry over people who don’t want to make the same efforts towards friendships as I do, because I probably am not their cup of tea and perhaps they aren’t really mine either. And that’s ok, it really is ok with me. I mean if we can’t be authentic, even with ourselves, then that’s a pretty sad state of affairs then hey

And so as we reach the end of our first week in 2018, I feel more ready than usual. Looking back at 2017 has given me a moment to reflect on how far I have actually come this last year, and be thankful for all the opportunities to grow as a person.

What is one lesson you learned in 2017? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about it.

Sophie xx

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