Oh hello February. ● It has been three months since my last post and do I have any regrets? Nope. I did miss writing but ultimately I needed a hot minute to breathe because LIFE. Post Madagascar, the last few months have been all about re-adjusting to London life, unintentionally spending time offline so that I didn't lose that sense of being grounded, and let's be honest - actually chilling out. November was my birthday month - and for the first time that I can remember, I didn't put pressure on myself to organise "a party" (oh hello 30s) and ended up having a lovely month of 121 dinners and outings instead with pals who reached out. December was, well, you know, Christmas-on-steroids as per usual - Christmas catch-ups, shopping, planning plans, parties, etc. Post-Christmas, there was a glorious moment of calm where time and day lost meaning and I could hole up doing life admin while watching movies, all with the aim to start another new year fresh. January started off slow, but ramped up very quickly - particularly at work, not helped by whatever horrid bug which took yours truly out for about two and a half weeks, ideal. It's raced by, and here we are - it's now February. How are you all holding up? Oh, and how did those 2019 resolutions go?
💡 Does it ever stop?! ● Crikey, we're fully into 2019 now aren't we. I don't know if you are as goal orientated as I am (thanking you British schooling) but I've spent a fair bit of time over-analysing that I didn't do enough last year, and then realising that I had (probably too much in retrospect), and then planning for more for this year. It fascinates me how the end of a year has this ability to totally freak people out (me included) - as if, in order to be allowed this clean 2019 slate, we have to review our achievements over the last year. I sometimes envy those who just wake up on the 1st of January feeling it is just another day - which it is, but I never get a satisfaction from that, because I always feel like I have to move forward (whatever that means). Mid freak-out on the 31st December 2018, a good friend suggested I write down a list of everything I'd done over the year - not for show, just for me. Maybe everyone does this already and I'm just late to the party, but what a light bulb moment.
📒 I am 100% not a list person. ● Believe me. I have many friends who are - to the point where it scares me just how "together" they come across. I tend to be more of a creavitely-organised-chaos kind of gal - I'll get whatever it is done, but the steps that feel logical to me aren't always the same step-by-step guide of those around me. Having said that, ever since the 31st December list I feel so much calmer, clearer, and connected with what I want to actually get out of my day-to-day (cross fingers 2019). It is so easy to get lost in the goal chasing, goal comparing with others, and goal achieving way of life - and I'm not knocking it, it's what got me through many years of studying and good grades (you're welcome mumma-bear and pops-chops). But I've realised that there comes a point when you have to get out of that cycle because each person's experience is genuinely non-comparable - their outputs (like if they are doing the same task) sure, but the way they approach it, the time it takes them, what they define as an achievement is highly personal. My 2018 "Things I Did" list (Personal) inspired me to also make one for Work (ideal timing, hello end of year review), and my next list is... People (watch out now, haha). There's something about seeing these things written down on paper that helps me to semi-guide my "what next". It is actually quite therapeutic, so list-loving people I feel you now.
🥂 Closing off 2018 ● I started off last year with a new blawg, and two posts in I stated my three (relatively more realistic) stepping-stone goals for the year ahead so I could keep myself accountable (full read here). As a little reminder, they were:
- 💃 i want to keep dancing
- 🛁 i want to give myself more breaks
- 📝 i want to write again, and a lot more
So how did I do? I would say Green, Amber and Green/Amber.
- 💚 Dance ● I continued to religiously turn up, I shared my progress with those who were interested, and I actually feel like I got more comfortable in my own skin and style. I also finally attempted to lead (eek) - when I was feeling up for it. There's still room for growth, and I love how dancing makes me feel, so this is staying put.
- 🧡 Have a Break ● I set this goal because I had spent few years not taking a break all year to then go back to Madagascar for 5 weeks, and ironically I found myself doing the complete opposite in 2018 - travelling somewhere every month. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but coming out of it in November I was exhausted and needed a break (LOL classic). That "I need a holiday after my holiday" feeling hit me a fair few times last year, and I am determined to find a middle ground. Lesson learnt and accepted.
- 💚🧡 Write again. ● Albeit not as much as I would have wanted to (LIFE and the impact of my literal interpretation of have more breaks), I have started writing again - and more importantly writing about things that actually matter to me, including topics that have hopefully sparked conversations that wouldn't have otherwise happened, for the good.
✔️ Dear 2019 ● I want this to be a year rich in conversation and laughter. But specifically:
- 💃 i want to keep dancing ● I said it last year, and I'll say it again. Dancing is my happy place, and it brings me more benefits than I can count - so 2019 is more of the same. Plus, I miss house, will be kicking myself in the butt to go.
- 🎧 i want to hear more ● This is a cheeky two-fold goal: music and audio-books. I would like to enrich my mind with new music and impactful stories. Firstly, music - I realised that I don't explicitly talk about it that much and yet it is a core part of my being and personality thanks to the parentals, so here's to actively pursuing more of it. Second, audio-books - I am not a bookworm, mainly because I am a veeery slow reader and get distracted easily, but I have joined a book club (eek) and I have recently learnt that I love audiobooks (who knew!) so time to give it a go.
- 🎞 i want to physically capture moments ● Another cheeky two-fold goal - first, to be fully present when I am with others (reduced phone time taking 100 pictures of my food, one or two will do) and second, take the time to turn some of my pictures into physical photo albums. More energy on the latter as my 2018 list made me realise just how fast moments come and go without me properly acknowledging it. Also, scrolling through thousands of digital snaps on my phone isn't satisfying, and I actually miss being able to pick up a proper photo album and look through it with friends and family.
🧘♀️ Actively present ● You can probably tell that it's been a reflective few months. I needed it. I think we all need a time-out sometimes but life has a way of distracting us - and it can be hard when it feels like a luxury, or even selfish to stop - pause and reflect. But the truth is, everyone has got their own sh*t going on and in order for us to stay relatively sane in a world where we can't control everything it's ok to be a little selfish sometimes. It's a hard and still on-going lesson for me personally, and I can't count the number of times I've had friends say to me "gosh, that holiday was great - gave me time to think and reset" whether they are parents, carers, self-employed, (new) entrepreneurs, corporate go-getters, creatives or even retired. The reality is, we're all in the same boat and we sometimes forget that even a two minute reflection on our commutes, or over our morning coffees, or over lunch with colleagues, are all respites and we shouldn't feel guilty for them. We deserve a respite whenever we can get them, and we don't need expensive holidays to allow us that moment of selfish luxury.
On a final thought-note, I'm curious to see where my writing goes on this blawg this year. I am trying to alleviate the pressure of writing every week by mantra'ing quality over quantity in my head. It's so easy to focus on the number of posts posted, and not what's actually in them. I have so many topics racing through my mind - from gender equality, to empowering ethnic minorities, to life lessons learnt (millennials and beyond). If you have any thoughts and ideas you'd like me to talk about, please send them my way too - I am always all ears!
Happy 2019 team ● I hope it brings good health, wealth and happiness to all of you.
🙆♀️ see y'all soon!