Highlights of 2017
I’m a sucker for New Year. Even as a kid I loved heading out to my aunt and uncle’s house for an evening of cheesy music and an even cheesier buffet. There has always been something so alluring about the turn from one year to another, even if it is just a construct to mark the passing of manmade time.
This year the New Year cheer is stronger than ever as I gear up for more “Fuck yeah!” and less “Fuck That” in 2018. But instead of racing forward with resolutions left right and centre, I looked back on the past 12 months in order to get a better sense of direction for the next 12.
With the help of The Dear Diary and One Step Outside by Anna Lundberg, I took some time out to pick the highlights of 2017 and how they made me feel. Not only did this bring back quite a lot I had forgotten (a year is a pretty long time) but it also showed me how much I’d grown and how far I’d come. My biggest learning is that I am blessed beyond belief to have too many moments of joy for a single blog post, but here are some highlights that made the cut:
I’m a Millennial, meaning it is increasingly difficult for me to balance independent living with the freedom to follow my heart. For a few years I have been stuck in a cycle of ‘Travel. Spend. Bankruptcy. Back to the ‘rent’s house’. Luckily this is something 2017 addressed. In late January, I moved into a seaside flat of my own.
For all the joy living solo afforded (three hour long baths, Neil Gaiman audiobooks on loop, art supplies EVERYWHERE), living solo served the purpose of showing me what I didn’t truly want. I came back from a surf trip just two months later and broke down in my little flat for one, realising it trapped me in a place that I didn’t want to be. It made my job a chore because, you know, I now needed the money. It drained my savings and I spent less and less time in love with the place and more time resenting it. It was someone’s dream, but not mine.
Five months later, after a battle involving both the local council and the mouse mafia of Southsea, I handed back the keys and jumped on a plane to Portugal.
‘I Quit My Job to go Surfing’
This phrase is something possible grandchildren will hear me say and may be my proudest moment of the year. After a week in Sagres, Portugal meeting people who simply blew my mind with how creative, driven and fun they were, I realised I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. Halfway through the week I rang my boss and handed in my notice. Then I went surfing, had a vegan bbq held in my honour and jumped in the back of a van to spend the night star gazing and drinking bad wine with good people on Beliche beach. I couldn’t believe people lived like that but, seven days later I was back in Faro airport for a month in Portugal with CoWorkSurf. It definitely wasn’t a holiday and there were growth opportunities left, right and centre but would I do it all again? Hell. Yes. To all the people I met and all those inspired me, from those who just passed through to those I founded solid, authentic friendships with, I salute you and am grateful our paths crossed.
Starting A Business
After coming back from a month in Cornwall in October, I faced the bleak prospect of an empty bank account and the UK winter setting in. Taking the skills I had been quietly developing over the past few years I decided to amp up my freelancing marketing venture by adding web and graphic design to the mix. The plan was to just ‘make do’ until the next thing comes along. Three month later I have awesome clients for every aspect of my offering, a pretty lovely stream of income and finally, finally, the belief that maybe I could do this after all. So as 2017 comes to a close, I’m proud to say I stood up to the panic than nearly saw me move back to a London office in favour of setting myself up for a life I love living.
I’m done with drowning in doubt when I know I can swim, fuck it, after 2017 I can even surf (sort of, ha!).
Questions or Answers?
Here’s a question I heard on Lola Hoad’s One Girl Band podcast that can help you reflect on 2017:
For me, it was answers found through asking the questions and following the fun. It’s not been a year without mistakes but, as Frankie S once so eloquently put it, that’s life! As long as you’re willing to learn the lessons, mistakes are actually your biggest sign posts that you’re on the right path, or not.
So, before you head out and run head first into 2018, what are you grateful to 2017 for?
PS other highlights include: Seeing A Blaze of Feather live, Stone Sour blowing my mind in Brighton, helping out people I care about with my skills, working out my value and refusing to lose it ever again. Launching Seafox Creative. Being brave enough to travel solo, surfing surfing and more surfing, bbqs with hairdryers, learning to skate, working out the direction i shouldn't be going in, being vegan for 12 months, every single person that I met because this year has truly provided who I needed - when I needed them, another year with my Nan, friends old and new who gave even when I was afraid to receive, my batshit crazy, impulsive and wonderful parents and my nieces who make me question if having children is really so bad.