So the end of 2015 is upon us, and whilst I have wrap up blogs and resolutions up my sleeve, I also have something which is something a little different. It's great to reflect on the year and your achievements, but learning things is just as important and I thought it might be interesting for some of you to see some of the things that I have learnt over the course of 2015.
Family doesn't always equal blood
This year was a difficult one, as many of you are aware, as I cut my biological father and thus part of my family out of my life in July 2015 after having gotten to know him again for the past year (I tracked him down the previous April after no contact since I was 5). Making the decision (which wasn't made alone, I will add) was one of the toughest ones I've ever had to make but ultimately was done for me and was done to protect myself and to not try and satisfy anyone else. Family is a complicated business, but I've found that trying to attach myself to someone just because they're blood related to me doesn't necessarily mean they class as family.
Stop watching the news. It does nothing for you but install fear. Fear does not mean that I have to stop living
I stepped beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone many times this year in relation to my anxiety. Travelling to Budapest with my best friend in October was definitely the highlight of that and it really outlined just how the years I spent trying to protect myself from the world was wasted. I became more adventurous this year and realised just how much I want to live while I still can. If I die tomorrow, so be it. I don't want to waste a day knowing that I didn't make the most of opportunities that I could have had.
Gaining weight is less scary than you realise, in fact, it's comforting
As of today, I'm the highest weight I've ever been. It feels weird, and at times I'm quick to criticise myself, but my relationship with my body has never been stronger and I'm really to kick start 2016 with building a stronger bond with my body through exercise and watching over what I eat in a productive way.
Don't be scared of making bold changes with your appearance
A few years ago, if you'd told me I was going to dye my hair blonde, I would have laughed in your face. But in September this year, I did just that. I'm now technically a half blonde (I had ombre put in my hair!) but I realised how much more confidence I could have if I dared to be a little different. So let 2016 be the year for a little bit more experimentation and a little less of wanting to look like somebody I'm not.
Travel is fun. Let's do more of that, please!
This year I got to visit Italy and Budapest and there are so many more countries and places on my radar to visit. Austria, Germany, Iceland, New York, Dublin, and many many more. As someone who never travelled as a kid I'm really thrilled to be able to experience the joy of it as an adult and I never want it to stop.
Not knowing entirely what you want to do with your life is totally okay
I turned 23 this year and I can firmly say that 2015 was the year where I started figuring out a life and a career beyond graduation. I've said this a million times over on this blog but as youngsters we are essentially categorised by our schooling timeline, which is always expected to be followed on by University and a job. I'm sole proof that you don't have to fall quite into that timeline and I'm also proof of how fluid career ideas and changes can be. What I want to do now may not and probably will not be what I want to do in five years time - and I'm totally okay with that. Let's embrace the unpredictability and embrace the unknown - it can actually be quite fun.
It's great to say yes, but it's also okay to say no
One of my goals for this year was to say yes to more things this year, and I did, but I also found that saying no if I didn't want to do something was also okay. I shouldn't feel as if I should accept things I'm not comfortable with and should also accept that I'm not always a person that others want me to be and thats okay!
Rejection can be a strengthener, not a curse
The experience with my father this year has really taught me how to make the best of a bad situation. I've used his rejection as a way of determining how I can become the person that is not him, and learning to shape my life in a way in which I don't allow myself to fall into the trap of being like my father. Likewise, an internship rejection in May that I received felt like the biggest blow in the world at the time, but I somewhere in my heart got the strength to reapply for a different internship with a different organisation that I felt passionate about and not only did I get the position, I learnt so much and ended up having the best summer of my life. Rejection can only lead to bigger and brighter things, and I'm starting to see that a little more now.
More people appreciate you than you think they do
I'm used to people walking away, and without a doubt, a lot of them do, but I do have a few people who are extremely close to my heart who I know won't walk away and who have stuck by me through some of my most difficult times and complicated moments. I sometimes need to sit and remind myself that the world isn't out to get me, that I am loved and am appreciated and people do care.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
Three days ago, I handed in my notice at my retail job I've had for three and a half years, and two days ago, I begun working for a old fashioned sweet shop closer to home. Yes, it's still retail, but the debilitation I had about handing my notice in for fear of what others thought of me was immense and I soon realised that the best thing I could do for myself was to step outside of my comfort zone and to just take life as it comes. I did, and two days in my new job with better customers, a nicer area and a wonderful atmosphere means that going to work makes me smiley and not miserable. Taking a risk can be worth it, sometimes.