2019 Roundup – Mental Health, Friendship & Family

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As has become rather customary in this little corner of the internet, I’m here today with my 2019 roundup. A look back at the year that’s just gone; the pros, the cons & everything in between.

Unlike last year, I didn’t really set specific ‘resolutions’ for 2019 – I just wanted to focus on continuing to grow & moving forwards, in whatever form that took. One thing I have been working really hard at though is trying to saying ‘yes’ to more. It’s a cliche but it’s something that I know I have to work on. For too long now my instinctive response has been to turn down opportunities and say no to things for fear of, well, I don’t know what really – maybe failure, or being in a situation that isn’t immediately comfortable, or being out of my control? Whether it’s a night out with mates, driving somewhere new or trying to learn a skill, my default is often to panic and to avoid it. When I’ve mentioned this to people in person they’ve been really shocked. I think, when you present as a confident person who is always in control, it’s hard to believe that you can have these thoughts and conflicts going around in your head, but let me tell you – you can. So, this year I’ve been actively trying to squash the ‘naysayer’ in me and say yes to more. It’s been a real journey, but so far so good and, rather predictably, I’m yet to regret giving anything a try.

Speaking of which, in 2019 I found a new hobby in running, ran my first 5k with my Mum and my first park run with my best mate. I’ve been on a couple of great trips to Norwich to see my best friends, had a spontaneous weekend away in Manchester and a couple of visits to London too. Rather than recount everything again, maybe take a look at my birthday blog post where I ran through my favourite memories from this year. I just wanted to expand on a couple today.

To be honest, it’s been a fairly turbulent year, with plenty of positives, but also some trickier times too. If you’ve read my blog post from last month, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling a bit with my health throughout 2019, both mentally and physically. This is the first year that I’ve been acutely aware of my moods and my emotions and how they are being affected/triggered, and it’s been an interesting learning curve, to say the least. It’s quite strange when you’ve been lucky enough to swan through most of your early life without really paying much mind to your emotions at all, to suddenly be confronted by things in your late twenties. I know how privileged I am to be able to write this too, so I don’t want it to come across the wrong way at all, but it’s been a bit of a shock to the system. As you may have been able to guess by the theme of some of my writing this year, I’ve been very aware of my ‘singleness’ throughout 2019. I dunno what it is, but this year, more than any other, I’ve felt it. And it’s a weird one, because on the whole I’m really really fine with it! And this isn’t a Ross from F.R.I.E.N.D.S “I’m fiiiiine” moment, I genuinely am. I think. Oh god. Am I Ross? I hope not, he’s the worst. But it’s been getting me down. Anyway… As I’ve said before, I’m not a believer in ‘looking for love’; if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I know I’m a catch and would make a great companion for someone, but I’m not gonna go out searching for it and then beat myself up if it doesn’t happen. However I do think there’s something about this particular age and stage of life where all of your mates are being wifed off and you’re spending another Christmas at home with your parents that can just make you feel a bit crap. But, again, when I stop and rationalise, I know that no two people can be compared. We’re all on different timelines and that’s cool! But it’s absolutely something I’ve struggled with this year and it would be wrong to neglect mentioning it here as I’m sure it’s something that so many of us go through.

Something that has made these feelings a whole lot easier to work through has been my friends. It is much easier to work on yourself and to actually want to say yes to things and opportunities without much thought when you’re surrounded by good people. I am so lucky to have such great friends and such bloody brilliant colleagues, who have become a support network over the course of this year. I’ve developed a really close knit group of mates at work who just seem to get me and my quirks. I’ve had loads of fun hanging out with them, both in and out of the office. We’ve had nights out, shopping trips, evenings at the cinema, dinners in, sleepovers, parties, even a trip to Winter Wonderland (thanks for the pics, Sai!). They’re always there to make me smile and pick me up, and have given me a reason to get up and out of the house (without even knowing) a fair few times this year. One friend in particular has been pretty important in challenging me and keeping me going. He is absolutely not the person to go to if you just want some love and sympathy and dare I say… to wallow…but it’s been really valuable to have someone in my life who calls me out on my bullsh*t (even though he’s full of plentyyyyy of it himself 😉) and make me realise there’s always a lesson to be learnt and something to be gained from every experience.

Speaking of work, it’s been another great year spent in a fun, supportive and exciting company. I’ve had loads of good experiences this year, from public speaking events to networking. I also got a new team member this year who is a truly wonderful addition to the company! His work is great and he’s beyond lovely, a real hidden gem I think. It has been brilliant to see him getting to know my other team member (who is such an excellent human that he is 100% a highlight of every day, let alone the year as a whole), and I’m excited to get back to work and see where the team can take things in 2020. 2020 will also mark my 5 year anniversary there, which is really exciting. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun (and learning lots!)

2019 is also the year I bought my first flat! Well, I’m in the process of it, who knew it took so bloody long?! I’ve finally decided to make the move to Folkestone, to be closer to work. After almost 5 years of commuting 90 miles a day, I couldn’t be more excited for the new lifestyle this is going to give me and I’m so excited for all of the free time I’m going to have! When I was a little girl and used to fill in those ‘what will my future look like’ things in tacky girl-talk magazines, I always drew myself living by the coast, and I’m so excited to make 9 year old Lizzi’s dream a reality in 2020. I’ve found myself a lovely little 2 bed about a 4 minute walk from the office and about 10 minutes from the sea and, by pure fluke, right next door to one of my mates from work. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan and I’m in by February. I am just so excited to get there now and start this new chapter of my life. I have always found being by the coast very calming and I am hoping that the fresh air is going to do wonders for my mind, on both a mental and physical level.

As always, the migraines have been a real challenge this year, but every time I get over an attack I am reminded of how strong I am and that there’s really nothing I can’t tackle. In a funny sort of way, I feel lucky that I have experiences like this, to remind me of what my body can do, but, of course, I’d be a liar if I said I was loving life every time I find myself bed bound with crippling pain. However, we push on, because that’s all you can do, and look forward to a fresh start in 2020 where hopefully I might be able to get some relief! On the health front, towards the end of this year my Grandma has also been submitted to hospital; initially with a chest infection which turned out to be pneumonia but she remains admitted due to concerns over her mobility and her safety in her own home. Of course this has been difficult and it is hard to see her feeling poorly and sad. Spending Christmas Day & Boxing day in hospital wasn’t exactly the Christmas my family had in mind, but we have done what we do best and rallied round to support each other and get through it together. With every passing day she seems to be getting stronger and back to her cranky loveable old self, so that’s great. I hope 2020 continues to bring more good news and positive progress here.

It’s definitely been a mixed bag to say the least, and 2019 has tested me in ways that I haven’t really experienced so far in my life. But what is life if we don’t have ups and downs? You need them to provide some much needed perspective on things, particularly when it feels like the rest of the world is going a little bit loopy. It would be remiss of me to write a 2019 blog post without mentioning the current landscape; to Brexit or not to Brexit, the general election, climate change & the war against single use plastic, the resurgence in anti-semitism, DONALD BLOODY TRUMP… The list goes on. It can be hard to try and find any stability in your own life when it feels like society around you is completely up in the air.

However, there have been so so many positives along the way too, and that’s what you have to hang onto. So, another year (nearly) done – what will 2020 bring? I’m hoping for a fresh start in my lad pad in Folkestone, health & happiness for my family, continued personal growth, more time spent with friends, more holidays and last but not least, a cure for migraines (a gal can dream, eh?)

How has 2019 been for you? Share your stories & experiences with me in the comments, I’d love to chat xxx

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