It’s New Year’s Eve y’aaaaallll, we made it! I feel like I’m clinging on by the skin of my teeth (this is such a weird phrase isn’t it – we don’t even have skin on our teeth!), but alas, it’s New Year’s Eve, my absolute favourite day of the year, and we got through this weird year in one piece.
I honestly just love this day so much – and New Year’s Day as well. The prospect of a brand new year, the prospect of change, and most of all hope. Hope for what’s to come. Hope for what could be. Hope for the possibility of change. Hope for better times ahead for all.
I write one of these blog posts every year and it’s my favourite way to publicly reflect on the year past. I say publicly because I also do some private journaling as well as making some private lists of goals and intentions for the following year. I told you I really love this time of year!
When I write these posts, I always read the previous year’s post first to see what’s changed, but this year I also read my post from 2020, and I found it interesting that I was talking about never again taking for granted the ability to see my friends and do things I love like attend gigs and festivals and dance and have drinks in bars and food in restaurants. This is something that I can thankfully say to this day, throughout 2021 and 2022 and hopefully beyond, that I have been honouring in my life. I was at a gig just a few weeks back with my Dad and found myself silently thanking the higher powers that be for the ability to do this. What an absolute joy that wasn’t available to us just two years ago.
Usually I start these annual reflection posts with the highs, but without sounding too negative, this year’s kinda been mainly lows! It’s been a funny one and honestly, it’s just felt like one thing after another. So for that reason, let’s get those lows out the way so we can focus on the good!
Lows of 2022
The thing with pain is that it’s relative. What I think has been shit about 2022 might be a walk in the park for you. Or what I outline as being pretty shit might have felt even worse if it was happening to you. It’s relative and we’re all entitled to our experiences.
I think many of us sometimes feel pressure to not dwell on the hardships we face, and yes, of course it isn’t good to dwell and completely succumb to the bad stuff. It is also important to understand and remember that there is ALWAYS somebody worse off. But that doesn’t make your burden any less challenging. We need to allow ourselves the space and opportunity to acknowledge the hardships and release them. We need to allow them to flow through us and feel into them all, whilst always counting our blessings.
At the beginning of the year, someone very close to me experienced the ultimate betrayal by someone else who was also very close to me. To call it a shock would be the understatement of the century. We were left reeling, infuriated and devastated. It’s not my business to dive into details here about how anyone else felt, but what I can say is the tremor effect on the rest of us, or at least on who I can speak for – me and James – was OFF the charts. We loved this person dearly; we genuinely saw them as one of the most important people in our lives. So to see what they could do to people they were supposed to love and also the way they have treated us all since has been an incredible eyeopener at just how fucking terrible people can be. It’s crazy to think that somebody you used to love so deeply and who supposedly felt the same about you can behave so callously and just disappear from your life overnight with no more than a mouthful of horrific verbal abuse and awful behaviour. As much as I hate to give into that old cliche, I’ve learned this year that we just never can truly know someone. This person showed their true colours, and it might have taken me the entire rest of year to come to terms with it, but I am happy to be leaving this person and their abhorrent behaviour behind in 2022. Good riddance to dirty rubbish and to their little cowardly companions, too. I only hope it was all worth it.
Less than a week after the above nightmare, still reeling from the bombshell and trying to pick up the pieces of a person left completely shattered, our niece was in a terrible car accident. When I say accident, there was no accident; she was carelessly ran over. A small-framed, tiny12 year old girl – a baby in my eyes – was ran over. The driver had the audacity to say he “tapped” her, but thankfully due to the number of witnesses who actually saw what happened, and the fact that when the police rocked up to the intensive care unit where she had been rushed, they saw the extent of her injuries including the tyre marks across her chest, the broken ribs, the punctured lung, the internal bleeding and the rest of the horrific injuries never should have been faced by a child, they knew this guy was lying and didn’t let him get away with it. He wasn’t punished nearly as severely as we would have liked, but he is facing some repercussions, so that’s something. The main thing is our niece survived the trauma and has bounced back in an astonishing way. I have been so inspired by her and how she has handled all that’s been thrown at her, the resiliency of a 12 year old child coming out the other side as gorgeous, fabulous and sassy as ever has been phenomenal.
As an empath, I’ve really struggled this year to cope with the trauma happening to my loved ones. James always jokes that I can’t separate myself from what a loved one is going through, but I think I could be a Highly Sensitive Person (it’s a thing!!!) so I find it really really difficult. I’ve had friends go through lifechanging operations. I’ve helplessly tried to support friends through nervous breakdowns. I’ve lost a friend who was just 10 years older than me and attended their funeral. I’ve watched friends go through gruelling chemotherapy treatments. I’ve watched people I love lose people they love and try to come to terms with the grief. Loved ones have lost jobs. Me, James and the dog have all had a heavy dose of ongoing health issues, and I’m finishing the year on a weirdly horrible chemotherapy cream treatment for the skin cancer I discovered I had, while I wait for further surgery on something I’ve already had surgery on. The dog has cost a fortune in vet bills and mental energy. I’ve had more mental health dips this year than I’ve probably had in the several years prior combined, and the stress of selling our house and buying a new build is up there with one of the most exhausting experiences I’ve had this year. But we made it!!!!! We got to the other side. And of course, there’s been the good. So enough reflecting on the downsides, and time to pay attention to the good!
Highs of 2022
I’ve survived my first full year solely freelance! I quit my part-time job at the wine bar this time last year and I went fully solo. It’s been… interesting. I love the flexibility and freedom it brings, and it has been a godsend with the amount of time I’ve had to spend in the vets this year with Riley. I’m making enough money to enjoy life and pay the bills, and I mainly enjoy my work! But it’s been tough, and I haven’t quite learned how to balance work, finances, and time off. Even when I go on holiday, I work, and I don’t really ever truly switch off. Toward the back end of the year though, I’ve been trying to get better at taking weekends and evenings off where possible, and saying no to work when I just don’t have the capacity to take on more. So I’m pretty proud of myself for getting to this point, and I’m classing this as a 2022 win!
We moved house! The feeling when we finally made it was next to none – we honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. This has hands down been the most wonderful thing this year (aside from my niece making a full recovery OBVS!) and we absolutely ADORE our new house and town. It is so different to what we’ve been used to for the last 10+ years, but I go to bed grateful and wake up every day grateful. I thrive from being around so much greenery and nature and the daily doggy walks are 1000 times more pleasant. I’m closer to my family, there are little country pubs within walking distance and the whole entire move has been a gamechanger. It feels absolutely incredible to love where you live, and I’m so excited to enjoy it more in 2023.
All these personal development, coaching and self-help podcasts I work on have done a number on me, because I’ve done a shit-ton of work on myself. I feel excited and hopeful about what’s to come in 2023, and to start implementing the personal changes, boundaries and habits that I’ve been thinking about this year. Things can always get better, but they can also always get worse, and living in the present is something I’ll be focusing on in 2023. It’s time to take each day as it comes and be grateful for it all.
2022 has brought trips and travels, gigs and festivals, and lots of fun times with friends. There’s been great food and wine and deep chats with loved ones, and there has been 4 – yes 4 – !!!!! Trips to Spain. What more could I want?
Something important I’ve learned this year is that we actively need to create opportunity for joy in our lives. So to start off the year as I mean to go on, next week I’m embarking on my WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, for no other reason than it brings me great joy to study (and drink!) wine. I honestly cannot wait.
I’ve been listening to the Feel Good, Live More podcast with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee as well as reading his books and exploring more of his work. He has inspired me to make some incredibly positive changes in my life, and not only have I lost a stone in weight this year, I have also been journalling more often than ever, something that benefits me greatly. Thanks to him, I have a goal for 2023 to write every day. This may be in blog form, journal form, or any other type of form (the only one that doesn’t count is work – because that’s work!), but you will for sure be hearing from me a lot more in 2023!
I’m so looking forward to seeing the results of this endeavor on this day in exactly one year’s time.
Life is painful. People are shit.
But life is also wonderful, and people are beautiful.
We all have shit going on. But the only thing we can ever truly control is ourselves, our thoughts and our actions. In 2023, I’m prioritising kindness, compassion, and the active cultivation of joy. But I’ll also be prioritising rest, balance, boundaries, and my own needs – even when I know it will ruffle feathers and piss people off. It’s overdue, it’s happening. 2023 will be the year.
As always, if 2022 was the last time you saw someone you loved, if it was the last year that life as you knew it was normal, if it was painful, and awful, and the year that everything changed and not in a good way, I’m toasting to you at midnight. If 2022 ripped the ground from under you and left you completely traumatized and unsure how you’ll continue, or if you’re ending the year feeling bewildered and just plain unsure what the hell you’re doing with your life, I’m toasting to you. And if 2022 was the absolute best year ever, you experienced nothing but joy and happiness and you had the most wonderful time of your life, I hope 2023 is even better for you.
May your 2023 be filled with endless joy, kindness, sunshine and light. May your suffering be minimal, the good times be abundant, and the gratitude be flowing. Nothing is permanent, everything is temporary, let’s grab those moments of joy where we can.
Here’s welcoming a brand new, hopeful, wonderful year. Happy New Year dear reader, cheers!