At the tail end of last year, when we received some pretty shocking and bad news, I started thinking about the topic of this post. I didn’t intend for it to become a blog post. But I felt that actually, writing my thoughts on this might make more sense and allow me to actually reflect on what I feel makes a “good year”.
None of us are strangers to the phrase, “I’ve had a crap year!” or vice versa. There’s likely going to come a point in every year where we all realize that we’ve either had a pretty good year so far or it’s been utter crap. But WHAT is it exactly that makes it so? Although the answer to that question will likely differ for most of us, I thought I’d share my thoughts.
Thinking back to 2016, I always remember that as a bad year. There were no major negative life events; no deaths, no job losses, no break-ups or anything of that sort. But I remember it being a really hard year to navigate in terms of my mental health and being so affected by the negative people around me. Not helped by the fact that I am an empath.
That whole year had me feeling like I was walking on eggshells. That I was just waiting for the next thing to happen that was going to ruin my mood or make me feel low. I felt very, very fragile during 2016. Like a breeze could have blown me over and broken me. So yes, I look back on that year with not-so-fond memories.
But back then, I also had a very different idea of what makes a “good year”. I didn’t have half of the self assurance I have now. I wasn’t connected with myself, with the Universe, with my beliefs. I was just a very different person. So not doubt, my perception of what makes a good year has changed BUT I feel like there are some fundamentals we would all agree with.
So, what do you think makes a good year?
- Is it how much money you’ve made?
- Is it how many holidays you’ve been on?
- How many Instagram followers you’ve received?
- How much weight you’ve lost?
I mean sure, these might contribute towards having a good year. I certainly don’t doubt that a good financial year will ultimately make the rest of the year easier, as you won’t have to worry about paying your bills and therefore won’t be experiencing any more stress. But last year really made me think about what makes a year a “good” year and none of these things even crossed my mind.
For me, I’d say 2021 was a good year. It wasn’t spectacular, it didn’t have fireworks, there wasn’t any big announcements or dramatic life changes. But as I rattled towards the end of yet another journey around the sun, I didn’t feel bleak or disappointed. I actually felt very content. What was it about 2021 that made me feel like that?
I connected more fully with myself – and learned to LOVE my alone time
This is a biggggg reason why I felt that 2021 was a good year. I mentioned above that I’m generally an empath and that used to make things really hard for me. Almost impossible at times. I would feel SO low and depressed about it, I rang The Samaritans on multiple occasions. But this year, I worked incredibly hard to change that.
I realised that I am also important and my feelings matter too. I spent more time doing the things I wanted to do, instead of just agreeing with everyone else. I started going places by myself; the cinema, coffee shops and I even took a full solo spa break at the beginning of December, which had a profound effect on me and how much I enjoy my alone time.
I spent more quality time with friends and family
As well as time alone, I also found last year an amazing year for connection and friendships. Since my anxiety disorder, I haven’t had many friends. The friends I did have basically forgot about me but I’m totally done with dwelling on that now because last year brought with it some incredible people and really special friendships and connections that I’ll cherish for as long as I can.
I found a new sense of self and freedom
Following on from the first point about enjoying my alone time, I think this goes much deeper, in that I also discovered (or started to discover) who I was as a person. I realised that after years and years of dread at the thought of doing anything by myself and being far too reliant on others, that actually, I can cope pretty damn well on my own. I know who I am and what I want. And that’s amazing.
I stopped doing the sh*t I didn’t want to do
I mentioned this briefly above but this also extends to my work, too. I’ve mentioned it countless times before but there was a time – particularly in 2020 – where I was doing a LOT of stuff just because everyone else was. I was releasing a course and another eBook – because everyone was. I was trying affiliate marketing – because everyone was. And I bloody hated it.
In regards to my blog, this year was incredible. As soon as I STOPPED doing all the shit I hated and all the things everyone else was doing and focused on what I loved and wanted to do, which was content creation and working with brands, I found things improved tenfold. I hit my income goal over and over again, my followers grew and my Instagram grew!
I got more active – and found a new hobby
I’ve learned that exercise makes me feel really good and moving my body feels really good and I’ve tried to hone in on that as much as possible last year. In December, I even hired a coach which has motivated me a LOT and I also started to go swimming which I absolutely love and I always enjoy my mornings alone at the pool!
All those reasons (and more) allowed me to have a really good 2021. I didn’t go on any holidays, I didn’t make millions of pounds, I felt stressed at times, I went through an awful bout of depression in April and August, we had some devastating news, I had to go to the hospital for a colposcopy, my Dad had some health problems, my dog was ill for a while.
But despite all of those ebbs in the flow, everything else allowed me to approach these situations with more clarity than I’ve ever done before. And everything else that happened in 2021, far outweighed any of the negatives. No, I didn’t do anything spectacular but I did manage to:
Make two beautiful new friends who I think are friends for life, watch a wonderful firework display, attend numerous shows at the theatre, attend a number of race events and take my Dad, aunt and uncle along for the ride, went on a solo spa trip, had a number of 3k months with my blog, watched my boyfriend start a wonderful new job, got a garden office, my boyfriend bought his dream car, went to the zoo, met Kelvin Fletcher from Strictly Come Dancing, shot a gun, saw The Darkness, was invited to Silverstone’s Lap of Lights – and MUCH more.
So yeah, when it comes down to thinking about what makes a good year, it’s not always the most obvious things that are going to crop up. You might want to consider instead:
- How your mental health was during the year
- How much quality time and connection you experienced with other people
- Did you try anything you’ve never tried before? (however big or small)
- Did you learn from mistakes and experienced throughout the year?
- Were you able to be present and grateful for the little things?
So tell me, what makes a good year to you? Given everything discussed, would you saw 2021 was a good year for you? How would you like to make this year better? Let me know!
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