Instead of making new year resolutions, I decided to put my list making urges to a different (less pressure inducing) purpose. Here are 18 things I’ve learnt in 2018.
Many of these are writing, reading and poetry related but there’s also a fair few cancer related ones. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.
- Audiobooks are amazing. I’ve become such an audiobook enthusiast this year. Audiobooks mean you can read on public transport even if passengers are noisy, you can read while walking (which I find so relaxing) and you can also fall asleep to stories.
- Slow fashion is a journey. To be honest, this year I’ve not been amazing at avoiding fast fashion. Months spent feeling ill and unhappy made me turn to online shopping. But instead of beating myself up about this, I’m moving on and have Depop ready for my next purchases.
- Sometimes you have to tell people what you need from them. When things are going wrong in my life, I sometimes forget to reach out to my support network. Having cancer is lonely but not telling people what you need from them makes it even lonelier.
- I should wear sun cream in April. I think this is the month when the sun usually catches me out because it’s still a bit cold. Not anymore! I see you, sun.
- What it means to be in pain. This sounds super dark/dramatic but I’m currently writing a novel and being able to articulate pain more vividly, more complexly is useful. Research would do the same job to be fair so it’s a very slim silver lining.
- Poetry is amazing. Like many people, I was put off poetry by school. Studying a poetry module for my MA and discovering all of the amazing modern poetry out there has been one of the most exciting parts of 2018 for me. If you want to get into poetry, I’d recommend reading a *modern poetry anthology.
- I can write poetry. For ages, I just assumed I’d be no good at poetry. Once I actually gave it a good shot earlier this year I realised I’m actually alright. I’ve got a long way to go but just being able to enjoy writing poetry is a brilliant outlet.
- Modern society’s messing with our mental health. I feel like I’m always going on about *Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig but it’s been so helpful to me this year. I think I’m already due a re-read.
- Cancer isn’t a death sentence. Of course, I already knew logically that cancer wasn’t a death sentence. But now I actually have facts, figures and personal experience to back it up. Read more about this here.
- We need to cut down on single-use plastic. This year more than ever I’ve heard horrifying examples of how plastic is damaging our planet. We all need to take action.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you
strongermore anxious. Look, it would be great if the badass “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” motto was true. But it’s not. If something crappy happens to you, you will probably feel anxious, scared, sad and vulnerable for a while. This is totally normal.
- Losing your hair is complicated. For me, it was simultaneously not a big deal and a big deal. It definitely affected my confidence, particularly out in public.
- Ed Sheeran is so good live. I was lucky enough to see Ed Sheeran live in Cardiff back in May. Of course, I knew it would be good but my expectations were exceeded.
- It’s okay to take time out for yourself. The realisation that I needed to take a big break from my Masters this year was hard to swallow and at first, I didn’t let myself relax and recover. Thankfully, with the help of a psychologist, I’ve started letting myself slow down.
- Jellyfish evaporate in the sun. They’re 98% water!
- Mindfulness requires patience. One of the best things that I’ve started doing this year is practising mindfulness. Practice is the key word here.
- Brighton is brilliant. The Lanes, the pebbly beach and the charmingly tacky pier made Brighton an ideal weekend getaway in November. I will definitely be going back.
- Life is so precious. When your future is uncertain, it’s so difficult to live in the moment and not get consumed by anxiety. But, with a lot of practice and patience, it is possible to appreciate every day. I had grand plans for 2018, which didn’t work out. But I’m finishing 2018 feeling grateful to still be here, recovering and on a journey towards mindfulness and putting less pressure on myself.
I hope you enjoyed this slightly eclectic blog post. Before I go, I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has read my blog, left thoughtful comments and shared my blog posts this year. I really appreciate it.
Happy New Year!
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