Have you missed me?
I know it’s been a little while since we last spoke, so I’m back with a mid-year recap to fill you in on what you might have missed! I don’t wanna be ‘that person’ but I truly cannot believe how quickly this year is whizzing by. From my career to my personal life, we’ve got a lot to talk about and this is definitely going to be a long one so grab yourself a cuppa and then let’s catch up.
2017 started with me questioning a lot of things. I’m never usually one to get caught up in the ‘new year new me’ cliche, but this year it seemed more relevant to me than ever. I was definitely in a state of flux and was desperately looking for some answers. I was struggling with my self esteem which led to me considering a lot of big life decisions like, where did I want to live? Was I actually truly happy in my chosen profession? Were the friends I had genuine? Honestly, I’ve always been one to smirk at people who get triggered by certain dates or times of the year but actually I get it now. It makes complete sense that a new year could make you want a new start in life and a clean slate, and this was definitely the root of a lot of soul searching for me…
This was a theme that continued throughout the first part of the year, but I’m happy to say that as we head into August I am feeling so much more settled now. I have had a few lightbulb moments already so far this year and perhaps the one that’s stuck with me the most is just how important it is to talk about your feelings and to surround yourself with a great support network. I’m truly lucky to have this in both a personal and a professional sense and I know that can be uncommon so is definitely not something I take for granted at all. Talking through my jumbled thoughts with people has shown me that, right now, I’m absolutely confident in my decisions and I’m happy.
Career wise I am so much happier than I was at the start of the year. I’m having loads of great opportunities at work which are really challenging me and are pushing me in the best possible way. It may be crazy busy and even stressful at times, but it’s developing me every day as a professional and beyond that, just as a person. The coolest thing about it is that by being open with the people who could affect change, I was kinda able to help to make these opportunities for myself. And being able to take a bit of ownership like that has absolutely been key to helping me feel a bit more settled and in control on a day-to-day basis.
Personally there have been a lot of ups and downs so far this year. The biggest down was losing my Gan Gan to cancer in May and a close friend of the family shortly after. It’s probably the most grief I’ve ever experienced in such a short space of time and has been an interesting one to deal with emotionally. I’m one of those people who loves to psycho-analyse. My friends constantly laugh at me because one of my most used catch phrases is, ‘mhm, okay… and how do you feel about that?’ (don’t worry, I don’t make them lie down on a couch while they tell me), but when it comes to my own feelings I tend to hit a bit of a blocker. Grief can do funny things to you – if you’re not sad you ask yourself why and chastise yourself for it and if you are sad, you tell yourself to stop it, to pick yourself back up and move on. Ultimately, I guess just like with any emotions, you’re going to have good days and you’re going to have bad days. For me, the loss of my Grandpa has kinda marked an end to a lot of immediate suffering for a lot of people and whilst it’s obviously so sad that he’s not here with us anymore to share in our experiences, it can only be a good thing that he and the rest of my family are now out of pain. It has, however, made me realise how important it is to make the most of people while they’re still here and has led to me wanting to spend a lot more time at home with my family, particularly my Mum.
On the whole, mentally it’s been an interesting few months. I’ve felt a lot more deeply about things than I ever have before and I’ve been a lot more aware of my own mental health. Like I said at the beginning of the post I’ve been struggling a bit with my self esteem, and in particular, my body image. My weight has fluctuated rapidly since I was at school, I’ve yo-yo’d from a size 12 down to a 6 and back up again and down again etc etc and it’s never really bothered me until recently, but so far this year I’ve been struggling a bit. I think this probably deserves a blog post in it’s own right but I’m always wary to talk about body image online because I know it can be so hugely triggering for so many people. There is absolutely no right or wrong weight / shape / size to be and I have been happy at both ends of my weight spectrum, but I think it’s just when you notice a change in yourself that it can make you feel a little uneasy or out of control. This also has knock on effects for so many other areas of life, the way that you feel in your own skin can affect so many things, from your work to your friendships. Most notably for me, dating & relationships, and how I have felt about ‘putting myself out there’ and letting other people in. This is something I’m still trying to resolve in my brain, but I’ve definitely made a bit of a mental shift over the past few months. I’ve still got some way to go until my confidence is back up to where it has been in the past, but we’re getting there and I’m feeling happier.
In terms of the ups, I’ve had so many fun times so far this year already. I’ve been to some great gigs, I’ve had loads of fun with my family, I’ve spent countless days hanging out with friends… also, my family got a fricking puppy! You absolutely can’t beat that for a positive lifestyle change. Stanley has changed our life so much for the better, he’s given me a reason to get up and moving at the weekends and has given us all a much needed (very time consuming) distraction!
One of my friends from work actually said to me that recently that he’d really like to read some happier blog posts from me and it’s definitely true that I only really feel compelled to write when I’m sad or reflecting on something, so I want to make a concerted effort to talk about the good times on here too throughout the rest of the year. Fingers crossed there’s loads to come!
I’m by no means an expert, but I don’t think it’d be right to do a mid-year recap without making any kind of reference to the current political climate too. There have been some major events over the past six months or so that have affected society in so many ways; the rise & fall of Trump, a general election, ongoing Brexit negotiations, the refugee crisis, major events in gender politics (most recently the BBC pay gap). In addition to this the world has also been overwhelmed by a number of really shocking & truly devastating terrorist events. I’m not gonna preach at you, but it’s fair to say that these things have been truly worrying for us as a society and have inspired me to want to take action and stand up for what I believe in. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the next 6 months or so pan out for us as a country.
It’ll also be interesting to see what the rest of 2017 brings for me. I’m looking forward to writing my annual end of year roundup and seeing how much of this still rings true.
Until then, I’ll speak to you again very soon! ❤️