Lessons I Learnt in 2018

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2017 was the year of glandular fever and CFS. 2019 will be the year I become a Mum.

And what of 2018? What were the lessons that I learned and what am I taking into 2019 with me? How have I grown as a person, and what has the year taught me?

I’m always in a reflective mood at this time of the year and this year is no exception. Here are a few of the main things.

I can do anything, but not everything

When I started my life coach training in March, it was a real slog. My energy levels were still very low, and I found concentrating on tasks very difficult, but as I fell in love with the work and the client sessions, I realised that it is something I am good at. I chose to put my energy into creating something new, and at times that has meant saying “no” to social engagements, new projects and my own ideas.

I have taken time to include other things in my year, of course. I have been writing and I wanted to launch a podcast too, but I’ve had to go easy on myself when things haven’t worked out. I can’t work on every thing every month. I haven’t been able to launch my podcast, which will wait until the New Year, and that’s OK. I can’t do everything.

I can find something difficult and still get it done

That writing I mentioned? Well I wrote the first draft of a novel this year. Writing is the biggest test to my self confidence I’ve ever faced, because day to day my opinion of the writing and my ability changes so much. I’ve learnt that I need to put that to one side, and keep going regardless if I want to achieve difficult things.

In pushing on, doing it regardless and seeing what I’m capable of, I have naturally become a bit more confident about it anyway (on a good day anyway!) and have been able to talk about. Other people’s interest and support are enormously helpful to me so I’m glad I’ve let people in a bit.

I think this lesson bodes really well for future projects and my business. Change is uncomfortable and awkward sometimes, but keeping going through the difficult times is essential.

When I don’t speak my mind, it become poison

OK, this sounds a bit dramatic, but let me explain. There have been a few occasions in the last few months where I’ve had to speak uncomfortably honestly with people about situations it would have been easier to ignore. I suspect that hormonal changes have prompted this honesty but it has been a weight off my mind.

By keeping things to myself, I have been feeding some nasty, judgemental thoughts that I do not wish to have. I have felt as though my thoughts were poisonous and destructive. By being honest, I can clear the air. It is definitely the harder option, and I realise now that taking the more difficult path is a common theme of mine in 2018, but I will continue to practice being more honest in 2019.

Life is precious

My friend Polly has, my her own admission, had a shocking year. A miscarriage, a cancer diagnosis and a redundancy have meant that 2018 is a year that she’ll be happy to see the back of. We speak regularly and I am in awe of how she’s handled things. She might not always agree with me that she is handling things brilliantly, but I am honoured to have her as a friend and only wish that she lived closer so that we could have some of our voice note based chat in person, with a cuppa in hand.

We may all know that life is precious, but sometimes circumstances remind us of that, and the sentiment has never been far from my mind in 2018.

90% of being a good friend is just showing up

When people don’t reply to messages or ask how we are, it can be hurtful. When they do show up, even virtually, it can feel as though everything is right in the world. It’s simple.

As I say, I can’t be there in person to help Polly right now, so I show up in voice note after voice note and we chat, laugh, cry, everything. When I had a stomach bug last month, and my friend Peta asked if there was anything she could help out with work wise, I felt so cared for!

Make the call, send a card, reply to that text (or better still, send a voice note) and just connect. It goes such a long way.

My patience will be rewarded

I’m ending on a really personal one here. On 23rd March, I posted a photo on Instagram, where I was holding our neighbours’ newborn baby and I spoke about how much we hoped that a baby would be in our future. Well, I came across that post the other day and realised that I posted it almost exactly one year before our due date will fall in 2019. I may very well be holding our own baby in my arms by 23rd March 2019.

Sometimes the things that we want take time and a lot of patience. We have wanted this little baby for so long, and I feel so grateful that our wish is being fulfilled.

It’s been a testing year, but on the whole a good one. I’m healthier and happier than I was in 2017, more able to fulfil my own wishes and desires and optimistic about the future too. It hasn’t been easy at times, and I have a long way to go to achieve things I have my eye on, but it’s done me good to look back over my year and see what I’ve learnt. Sometimes the lessons that we needed to learn don’t feel good in the moment, and so much of what I’ve learnt in 2018 has been difficult in some way, but I know that I needed it.

What have you learnt in 2018? Please share your lessons in the comments!