Well, it's a good job my New Years Resolution wasn't to be more timely, because here I am rolling up with a New Year post more than a week after the new year began. I've been trying to avoid the extremely large, obnoxious elephant that's been sat in the room for weeks, but it's finally gotten to the point where I feel embarrassed not talking about it. I know - I know I practically abandoned this blog throughout November and December. I promise I didn't mean to. In fact it was quite the opposite - the idea was to blog more once I finished full time education, not less. But I'm back - if that's any consolation - and I feel like I'm finally inspired to start writing again. Despite all of the amazing things that came out of 2016, I think a lot of us can agree that the past twelve months were, well, interesting, to say the least. It wasn't the best year of my life but - looking back - it was definitely a year of lessons learned.
1. You can't control everything
I'm a control freak. I've never been good with spontaneity. In fact an impromptu trip to Macdonalds is probably about as spontaneous as I get - and even then I always pick the same things. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit and I like it that way. But no matter how hard I try to control certain things around me, this year I've come to terms with the fact that it is, ultimately (to my dismay) completely impossible. In fact, I think I've actually started to embrace it. Don't expect me to hop on a last minute flight to the other side of the world any time soon, but hey - you never know.
2. No one knows what they're doing
At 24, I thought I would be at the height of my career now. You know, my own house (maybe one in the South of France), money in the bank, a fridge full of food that isn't (a) out of date or (b) cheese that comes out of a squeezy tube. I mean, I'd at least thought I'd have known which compartment fabric softener goes into in the washing machine. But alas, I do not. And 2016 was the year that I realized (unless they're superhuman) no one really knows what they're doing either. We're all walking around blind, looking at our phones and praying people think we're answering important emails (when really we're playing level 378 of Candy Crush), walking into supermarkets with the intent of detoxing, and coming out with eight bags of sweets and a bag of Doritos. None of us know what we're doing, we've just learnt to make it look to everyone else like we know what we're doing.
3. It's okay to love yourself
Earlier in 2016 I wrote a post all about why I chose to change myself in order to love myself. To this day people still question why I made the decision to change myself so drastically, and to this day I still believe it's one of the best things I ever did, because - for probably the first time in my life - I actually love who I am, both on the inside and outside. But - oddly enough - a lot of people tend to think there's something wrong with that, and so throughout the majority of the year I felt embarrassed about finally feeling good about who I was. But at the end of the day, you are the only person that you'll always, without a doubt, have in your life. You can achieve a lot more when you love and believe in yourself.
4. You are your own worst enemy
With all of the above in mind, sometimes your mind does just decide to turn on you, and whilst you should always believe in yourself, sometimes you should always believe yourself - or at least the thoughts you're thinking. Does that person on the street care if your liner is uneven? No, they don't. Does your boyfriend care if you put on a few pounds over Christmas? Chances are, he probably likes it. When you're feeling low, it's easier said than done to just snap out of it, or believe in yourself. Instead, look to the people around you and take comfort in how they see you. I realised this year that none of us have ever seen what we actually look like - we've only seen reflections or images. Therefore, we can't accurately comment on how we look or who we are. The people around you think you're amazing - and they know best.
5. It's okay to take time out
I'm not just saying this because I've been so MIA with the blog recently, but in all honesty, sometimes it is good to take time out. I'll never, ever feel ungrateful about having this as my job, but unlike most careers, bloggers don't tend to the same time off as someone who works a 9 to 5. Of course, the perks outweigh that, but this year I realised exactly how important it is to switch off sometimes. I actually took time off at Christmas for once. I stayed off social media (for the most part) on my birthday a few days ago and I intend on doing the same in the upcoming holidays. Sometimes, a day in bed watching TV does wonders.
6. Your boyfriend can be your best friend
'Boys come and go, but friends are forever' - I've always hated that saying. That whole 'bros before hoes' sentiment is an interesting one, but for me that 'hoe' (AKA my boyfriend) comes before everyone. I've learnt over the years that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having your boyfriend as your best friend. Sure, who knows if you'll be together forever, but the same can be said about any friendship. I'm not one for soul mates, but I do think that when you know, you just know. That doesn't mean you can sack off any other person in your life because you've got a brand new boyfriend, but it also doesn't mean you have to feel obliged to have a separate best friend. Sometimes, they can be both.
7. After low lows come high highs
Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it's happened far too often for me to not take note, and actually, it's taught me to be more hopeful in situations that, well, seem a little hopeless. Whenever I've had one of those weeks from hell, I used to sit there and wallow about how my life was never going to get good again. Of course, it always did. And it always will do. So now, whenever I'm going through a rough patch I've learnt to just wait it out. I've also learnt that wine is a great way to help get through said rough patches.
8. There are no shortcuts to success
I've been doing this blogging/internet thing for a while now. Years, even. I've tried just about every trick in the book to build my audience and push myself further. I've tried dissecting algorithms, tactical posting, networking, everything - and whilst some of these things do work over time, no one thing is going to push you to where you want to be over night. I learnt this mostly through Youtube. I was posting at certain times, about certain things, and I was being consistent. My stats just didn't seem to shift. That is, until one of my old videos went semi-viral (viral for me, anyway). It wasn't the best video I'd ever made, nor was it the most interesting or controversial, but for some reason it got picked up, and in just a a few weeks I had amassed a whopping 40,000 subscribers. There were no tricks, it was just a case of luck after working at something for so long. Whatever you're doing, keep at it - it'll pay off soon enough.
9. SOME FRIENDSHIPS JUST WEREN'T MEANT TO BE
This makes me a little sad, but it's still very true. I remember when I was younger everyone would have huge groups of friends that they'd hang out with, and I'd often wonder why my parents only saw the same few people every so often. But, as you get older, you do lose ties with people. There doesn't have to be any bad blood, you can simply just drift apart. It's no ones fault - it's just how it happens as you get older.
10. Comparison is the thief of joy
It really, truly is. The second you start comparing yourself to someone else is the second you've lost. No matter how hard you try, you will never be that person nor be in the same situation as them. I get it - sometimes you look at others and you think why, why do they have *insert here* and I don't? It sucks - I get it. But just because you've acknowledged that doesn't mean you'll suddenly get it. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is your. Improve on your self day after day and after a while you won't even notice what everyone else has.
11. Things very rarely go to plan
It's no news that I like to plan. I mean, I made the Blogger Journal - a book that is literally dedicated to planning and organisation. I can write down all of the millions of blog posts I plan on doing but, when it comes down to it, there's never enough time. I wake up each morning and I make a list the length of my arm, and then at 5pm wonder why I've only ticked four things off of that list. Life gets in the way, distractions happen, and sometimes you just can't be assed. In 2016 I learnt to c
12. Being yourself is the best thing to be
This is something a lot of you guys taught me - especially over on my Youtube channel. 2016 was a year of pretty big change for me - mostly on the outside - but it was also the year that I learnt to accept myself and who I was as a person. When I started out my blog and channel I felt like I had to act a certain way to fit in with what everyone else wanted. I had to take myself seriously - otherwise no one else would. Or at least, that's what I've thought.
13. There is a thing as too much sleep
In 2016 I was exhausted. Or at least, I thought I was. And when you feel tired, the obvious answer is to sleep more. However last year I came to the conclusion that too much sleep can be just as detrimental as not enough. I would get nine hours of sleep and find myself exhausted up until dinner time. After countless all nighters completing this years Blogger Journal I took the Christmas break as an opportunity to sleep. Some days, I would sleep up to fourteen hours a night and spend the rest of the day over-tired and uninspired. I then remembered my College and Uni days where I would get just four or five hours of sleep a night, and - despite the bags under my eyes - I was still a fairly well functioning human being. This year it's my goal to find a happy medium. And a good under eye concealer..
14. Hard work always pays off
It's not 'being lucky' it's working hard. Being lucky is when you buy a scratch card and win twenty quid. Working hard is getting your dream job, or saving up to travel the world. It's not something that is ever just handed to you. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Hard work is exactly that - hard. It's not something you do for a week and then you find yourself in your dream career, it's a complete lifestyle change. It takes time, and it takes effort. But think about it, how many people - real, hard working people - have you heard about that never made it? I can't name one.
15. You can't do it all
I'm the kind of person that feels like a failure unless I'm constantly achieving something, which is why I always make sure I'm busy. My mum always used to tell me that I was 'burning the candle at both ends' - which, in normal person language meant I was doing too much and that I was going to burn out after a while. It took 23 years, but I finally did do just that, and in turn it left me unable to fathom doing practically anything - hence my eventual return today! Will I stop taking on too much at once? Probably not. But will I know my limit a little more? Absolutely.
16. A lot can change in a year
I realised this just as I was typing up this blog post. I remember the post I made last year about my resolutions and goals, and after reading it back I realised just how far I've come in the past 365 days. We tend to compare ourselves to how we were a short while ago, as opposed to the grand scheme of things. Sure, maybe you haven't progressed in your job since last month - but why not try looking back to when you first started, or a year ago to this day? You're achieving a lot more than you think. Bring on the next year!