2017 and looking ahead
I hope you all had a lovely and peaceful Christmas!
We are kind of in that blur between Christmas and the New year, holding on to the slower days but also ready for the fresh start and plans to be put into action.
I am lucky that I have never really felt like I'm ready to see the back of a year. I think that if I have spent it with my family and loved ones around us, with a roof over our heads and food in our tummies then it's been pretty damn good. If anything I feel more apprehensive for the year that's to come, I know I sound like an over-thinker but I always wonder what's around the corner and am so aware of how life as we know it can change in a blink.
I've been gathering together what I've learnt from this year and how I'm going to bring it into 2018. I am sharing some aims of mine for the new year including the more personal and honest ones. The term 'resolutions' always remind me of added pressure, my aim is to do the opposite.
This year for me was filled with lots of milestones including being appointed temporarily into a role I have been working towards for years and then getting my permanent position in October.
I made a lot of sacrifices for it, got questioned many times why I was clocking in all the hours when my babies were just that, babies, and putting the pressure on not only myself but as our family as a unit.
It wasn't for money or status but instead for the ability to say 'yes'. This Christmas I reaped the rewards when I had the flexibility to say 'yes' to going to Bellas school play on a Friday so close to Christmas and even on the Saturday morning before Christmas I was there to watch her perform all 2 minutes 42seconds of her first ballet performance.
When the teacher asked 'before we start is everyone's mummies and daddies in?' Bella nodded. That right there was my prize.
Then I left for work because supermarkets at Christmas don't slow down for anyone but I also have always wanted to show my girls that careers don't have to slow down when babies come along. Yes, by goodness it will be hard but Bella on Christmas Eve said to me 'I am very proud of how hard you work mummy, you make me happy.' Colin looked at me as my eyes glazed but that right there meant the world to me and the hard moments worth it all.
In 2017 I had more surgery for endo after a dodgy and worrying set of smear results (I ask that that's on everyone's resolutions, to ensure it's up to date) but thankfully all worked out well. I don't know what's in store for the years to come with my dodgy ovaries but I just know that this year even more than before I am super thankful to have two little girls of my own. I was blown away this year on the reaction to my post about endometriosis, I couldn't reply to everyone but couldn't believe how many related and suffered from it and how long I was so scared to voice what I was going through. Early this year I plan to share more on the random effects of this disease including clocking what colour your chair is in your new office (only someone that suffers this will get the relevance 🤦🏻♀️).
Brings me on to another point. This year I hope to do more of what I want and not worrying what others may or may not think. Of course it will be nothing that could potentially upset people but I always wonder what others think of me, when blogging, in work, what I'm wearing, doing, you name it, I do over think! But then it's one of two things... I'm either flattering myself and they don't really give two hoots or that actually, what others think of me is really none of my business! Either way, I need to get over it and move on.
I wrote a blog a few weeks back on getting over my worries of what others think but when I actually read it back it sounded more like I was justifying myself... for reducing my hours in work, for taking on sponsored blog content, for getting my nails done every 3 weeks (yes I actually got rude comments before for getting my nails done and trying to maintain a tidy home because I have children). I hope to attempt that blog again and be confident on why I'm growing a little thicker skin as I get older.
This year I am going to stop worrying about engagement on Instagram/ social media and blogs, especially when posting ads. I understand why some people don't like them but they are the same people that will private mail me 5 times a week asking for details on things (like detailed measurements of bunk beds or the code of a certain lipstick, it's time consuming) which I'm happy to respond to. Of course it would be nice for support in return but I'm not going to win them all. I hope in time that sponsored content is seen for what it is, essentially a small business that works hours each day on building their brand a content getting a little reward in between. Not to bend anyone's arm into purchasing Pedigree Chum even if they don't have a dog.
Instead I'm going to take on sponsored content that is relative to my brand and be proud that companies are wanting to work with me, after all they have an amazing pick of fabulous and very talented writers and content producers. I want to worry less what Britney from Brighton (made up random name and location) thinks and be more concerned with how it helps Bella from Ballymena (not using today's favourite child, it just flowed better than 'Bella and Annie').
This year I hope to look after myself better, I am not saying I'm going to go back to running the roads every night (which I'd love the time and energy to do), I probably won't eat kale and drink green tea everyday but I do aim to look after myself better. Be that exercise, switching off from social media some evenings, accepting that all emails won't be cleared every day or taking a long soak in the bath for headspace, that's what I plan to do.
From October with changing jobs, juggling blogging (it is really my hobby and I love how creative it allows me to be but it can also be pretty full on and intense responding to everyone) the girls, running a home, renovating and trying to squeeze in an appropriate level of personal hygiene I felt exhausted, anxious and pretty touched out.
In the midst of all of this I also felt the need to say yes to every coffee date request even when they may have fell on one of my only days off. Too scared to let someone down I would schedule and then stay up late at night sorting washing at 11.30pm, prepping for work the next day and realising that as I was catching up with friends I never truly engaged with Bella and Annie so I'd go to bed thinking 'I'll try harder next time.' I know my true friends wouldn't want me to feel so under pressure or miss time with the kids so this year when I need to I will confidently respond 'I'd love to catch up, but maybe not this week as I'm catching up with the kids and catching my breath.' I will allow myself to hold days to be busy doing 'nothing' and just being. Sometimes it's harder to say 'no' to adults than children but they need us more. It's a phase of life, 'this too shall pass' and you will always remember the friends that ride that wave with you.
I feel that even though my resolution list seems extensive it focuses more on relieving pressure than adding it but I don't underestimate how hard some of these commitments may be. I hope you can follow along too, share tips and experiences of nailing some of these things as I am always open to advise.
I may blog but I've nailed nothing, I am winging it as much as the next person. Just trying to maintain my marbles (or what's left of them) along the way.
Thank you all for your support, for reading, for liking, commenting along with the laughs and the priceless advise! I/ we really appreciate it! Happy new year 2018, I wish you all the best year!
Anna xx (and the rest of the Blossomingbirds Crew)