Lessons I’ve Learnt in 2017

I had planned on bounding into 2018 content today, but I realised I hadn’t really taken a moment to reflect on the year gone by. I thought about rounding up highlights, best moments, product favourites, a whole host of things, but when it came down to it, I really want to talk about how 2017 changed me, the lessons I learned and hope to take into 2018.

I can survive more than I thought I could.

2017 was a real mixed bag of a year for me. After the sadness and grief that filled our 2016, I was excited for a fresh start. Unfortunately, we started the year in a pretty bad place, reeling from the loss of Connor’s dad and trying to deal with everything that came with it, from grief to funeral arrangements. We got through that and I found myself back in hospital, not once or twice but three times having a five and a half centimetre tumour dug out of me. It’s something I never expected to have to deal with, and yet here I am almost a year down the line, surviving.

It was a strange time for me, the whole of the Spring while I was undergoing these procedures I was told categorically that what we were dealing with wasn’t cancer, and once the tumour was out and they had studied it, they started backtracking. Suddenly I was met with lots of ifs and buts, and whilst I’m lucky to be able to proclaim myself cancer free at present, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my future will contain more hospital trips, more surgeries, more procedures. Should the tumour return, it’s unlikely to be as straightforward as last time.

But I got through it. If you’d asked me a year ago how I’d handle having four surgeries in under a year, I’d have had a meltdown at the mere thought. But now here we are, countless cannulas and anaesthetics and needles down the line and I’m okay. I got through it, and whilst I don’t relish the thought of going under again in March for my check up, I’m armed with the knowledge that I can get through it.

Say yes to opportunities, even when they scare you. 

I remember the night before I left to go to Ibiza in August SO clearly, I barely slept I was so anxious, on the verge of hopping in my car and leaving Lauren’s house in the dead of night. Travelling without either my family or Connor was SO far out of my comfort zone, especially for a trip where I hadn’t organised the flights, picked the hotel, etc, etc. I made it through the night though, got on the plane and my god am I glad I did. I had the most incredible trip, found new friends in Jess and Leigh, got closer to Lauren and Kelly, and made some amazing memories. I’m so thankful to Enterprise + Talented Talkers for the experience, and it’s made me less afraid of saying yes to things outside of my comfort zone.

To put myself first.

I got very caught up in the ‘shoulds’ during 2017. I should be back at work right now, I shouldn’t have an afternoon nap, I should be doing more, I should be feeling better. I’ve gotten a lot better at sitting back, listening to my body, and allowing it to guide me. Sometimes you need a day off, a lot of time, you need an afternoon nap, sometimes you need to cancel plans with friends to catch up on rest. If I don’t look after myself, my needs and my body, how can I expect to do my best?

Photo by Lauren Shipley.

To stop caring about what others think.

2017 was a real year of personal development for me, something I can contribute mostly to two things, an 8 week course on Yoga for Anxiety + working with a psychologist to come to terms with my diagnosis and handle my anxiety around health, hospitals and the future. In 2016 and early 2017 I got really caught up in what I thought others might think of me, for taking time off to deal with grief, for not leaving my bed for two months whilst I recovered from surgery, for a lot of things. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to shrug this off recently, but I can hand on heart tell you that the only opinions that matter to me are those of my family and close friends. Everyone else? Not bothered.

To let the little things go.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve had so many BIG things to deal with over the last two years, but I’ve found myself really letting the little stuff go in 2017. So I missed an event in London I really wanted to go to. So I’m not where I want to be with my career right now. So some guy cut me up in traffic. So the ceiling fell down in our living room two weeks before Christmas. Whatever it is, it’s not something I’m going to be worried about ten years from now, and we’re okay.

Home is where my heart is. 

For the first time since I left my parent’s house for Uni, I feel settled and really like I have a home. We bought, renovated and moved into our flat in 2017, and since then it’s become a real source of happiness for me. I’m a home bird at heart and having downtime in our space is so important to me. I make sure I have plenty of time in my schedule to just be at home and be present, because it’s where I’m most comfortable.

What have you learnt this year?