oh hey 2020

DAYUM It is 2020, and despite all of my wishful thinking at the start of 2019 I have officially written a grand total of TWO posts in one year. I want to scream SHAME (Game Of Thrones style) at myself but I am trying to learn to be less self-judgmental (which BTW is friggin' challenging) so I may as well start now, ha.

I've just re-read my Dear 2019 post and WOWSERS was I not ready for last year to swallow me up whole real nice (condiments sadly not included). All I can say is: 2019, WHAT WAS THAT?! LOL. Some of you reading this may be thinking "OMG did Cathia have a bad year?!". Well pals, I wouldn't describe it as bad per se - more a testing year. Purely because it didn't make me feel bad, but it certainly made me feel like I was being tested on all fronts. My very wise dance teacher-slash-funkjedi once said to me in passing "Cathia, it sounds like you're in a season of change" and boy did he hit the nail on the head with that one observation. There was one point last year where I genuinely thought: "Life, anything else you want to throw at me? Please go for it because I may as well take it all on". 

Working out who you are is never straightforward or easy, and this year I had to do a lot of boundary setting with a lot of people in my life - because how I felt and how I chose to act in certain situations I found myself in was not always perceived in the same way by others. Yet ironically, I had never felt clearer in my thought processes and decisions, having conviction in what I was doing or aiming to do, and the clarity to navigate it in the best way I felt I knew how. At points, the contradiction in how I felt versus how those around me perceived my actions ended up being the most complicated to navigate on a day-to-day. Just after midway through the year I decided to pause, take a step back from some key parts of my life that I had either thrown myself or been thrown into in order to hopefully make pragmatic decisions on what I wanted to genuinely move forward with. That "season of change" was never going to happen without a few tough decisions and as testing as it has been, I have learnt so much about myself, those around me, and the work-in-progress direction I'd like to steer the Cathia-boat towards.

2019 threw me a couple of tough life lessons but on reflection it also offered me a couple of big life shifts that were probably going to happen anyway - but as my natural style is to go with the flow it was not always easy taking ownership of my decisions and trusting I'd made the right one every time. Yet the reality is most choices we face and decisions we make are our own, whether we like to admit it or not, and sometimes you have to just face it head on even if the consequences initially feel unsurmountable. Everyone owes it to themselves to believe and trust in the process because if something feels right, then it probably is (for you anyway even if not for others). If at any point the uncertainty is too much, then my 2019 lesson for you is LEAP because you will be caught, and the net will be wider than you think so #NoFear as life has a way of surprising you when you least expect it. That life eh.

It therefore felt apt to close last year and last decade with three of my favourite #lifelessons, which on reflection may sound super duper cheesy so bear with me.

🔥 Lesson I ● It is what it is. By far one of my biggest lessons, culminating to its peak in 2019, is that the way to truly live life is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Sh*t happens. All of the effin' time (#pardonmyFrench) - but as we Brits say everything comes in threes like buses, you wait for ages and then three come at once. Well, three came at once for yours truly: (1) work (2) finances (3) relationships. (1) I got a new manager through a standard internal restructure - and let's just say we're both good people but we just did not click, it happens and isn't uncommon, (2) juggling many life and work balls at the same time distracted my focus from my finances eventually leading to yours truly being bailed out by my ride-or-dies including at 1am at my 32nd birthday do, and (3) a lot of my relationships (professional and personal) were pushed to their limits but eventually helping to determine which were genuine, which were amicable, and which just needed to be paused, or even ended (dun dun duuuuuun). I know, it's a lot, but I am only one hooman-bean and I only have a finite amount of time and headspace for smelly chat in my life so a lot of hard decisions had to be made and boundaries set my friends. When life hits that overwhelming stage it is tempting to just fight it all but the challenge is that sometimes that can make situations tougher to solve, hence my learning (and ultimate advice to you and me) is don't fight it, just let it be what it is.

🌈 Lesson II ● There is zero shame in asking for help or for forgiveness. This one took me a while to learn, but I have had to ask for a lot of help this year - in various forms, and from various people in my life, be it work advice, money to hold me over, boys-to-men experience, and beyond. Here's another Brit phrase for y'all: no man or woman is an island. Just make sure you choose wisely on who you want on your island, because you won't be able to fit everyone on so think it through. Trust your instinct - even if it feels hella awkward. Don't be afraid to get it wrong either, because EVERYTHING IS A LESSON. Some are small, some are big, but ultimately once learnt you've learnt it (hopefully, ha). I got some very wise advice around May time. It was simple but highly effective in getting me through the last few months of this year "Cathia, you know what to do so just do it. Stop banging your head against a wall, do it, and ask for forgiveness later." I don't know about you lot but self-conviction does not come naturally to me, so someone giving me the permission (even though technically I didn't need it) to just do me is not only refreshing but a huge relief. Fast forward a few months and a good pal at work surprised me with a book called You Do You (A No F*cks Given Guide) because he'd heard about it on a podcast and thought of me. It's amazing how people, many unexpected, rallied to my side when I gave off that "any thoughts?" vibe. I think a lot of us worry about owning our vulnerabilities, it's natural, yet being open about mine has opened my eyes and heart up immeasurably in 2019, from building more trusting relationships where it mattered to selfishly having comfort in knowing that I am not alone in some of my thoughts or experiences. Our contexts may be different but as humans our stories are interconnected and extremely relatable if expressed genuinely.

Lesson III ● Fully face into sh*t and move on. Ah, my favourite - the not so fine art of letting go. An art which I believe comes with some stellar sayings like "don't sweat the small stuff" or another Brit phrase "don't make a mountain out of a molehill". I believe they mean the same thing but who knows at this rate, I am still assimilating so forgive me. It has been eye-opening just how many people around me are afraid of facing into sh*t, to the point where relatively easy to solve problems/conflicts/challenges in that moment get ignored to then just build up and snowball until everyone is miserable. Misery 100% loves company, it's human nature, but so is laziness. Sometimes, we can't help it because it feels easier to sit in the comfort of feeling sorry for ourselves or those around us. Don't get me wrong, I love a pity-party or a self-wallow as much as the next person but we have all got to find a bit more resilience, inner strength and positivity in the everyday otherwise we will all spiral into darkness (I've been there, and trust me it sucks big hairy balls so I hope the majority of you never get there, but if you please do talk about it to whoever whenever however best suits). If you start to feel that spiralling feeling, try your best to catch it before it feels like an uncontrollable tornado. If difficult to spot and you've woken up already IN the tornado, best believe me that that tornado can be broken up into manageable pieces that will slow down over time. Yes, it requires a lot of energy, a lot of courage, and a lot of belief that everything will work out but it will work itself out. It just is what it is, and if you're like me trust that everything happens for a reason.

Following blog-tradition, I do have to give a nod to last year's aims, how I got on, and what I'd like to commit to this year LIFE PERMITTING haha. As a reminder ● 2019 looked a lil something like:
  1. 💃 i want to keep dancing ● I danced, but I did not re-pick up House (woopsies).
  2. 🎧 i want to hear more ● Music wise, 2019 was my last year attending one of my favourite festivals as a reviewer, WOMAD, where I had an ace time with one of my besties Nicole before she jetted off for a year in NYC and heard some truly soul-shifting history-making sounds. Audiobook-wise, I am 100% SOLD. I hope to continue to feed my brain this year via Audible because it is genuinely ace, especially during mundane life/adult admin time.
  3. 🎞 i want to physically capture moments ● This barely took flight in 2019. I could reattempt in 2020 but it's a lot of pressure on my already limited time and energy and clearly currently not top of my priority list. Sorry memories, you'll just have to remain in my brain for a little longer, my bad. 

✔️ Dear 2020 ● Let's get back to the basics, with three hopefully manageable goals this coming year.
  1. 💪 keep active and get strong(er) ● Dancing has become my bread-and-butter exercise, and recently I've been trying to get strong again via boxing / muay thai training. Cross-fingers I can balance them both out in my schedule.
  2. 🚗 learn something new or get a new skill ● I don't know if y'all have any mental or physical lists of "things I'd like to do if I could make the time" - classic chat, I know. Well, I do and I hope this year I tick off at least one of them... like learning how to drive!
  3. 📚 finally get around to those books ● Whether it's physical or audio, I bought a load of books last year that I need to just crack on with. I tried a book club, but soon got kicked out because the accountability got a bit much and let's be honest I am a loner when I read because I take forever to do it. Plus, the topics I choose tend to not be escapism encouraging LOL.
All in all, whilst it's been both a testing and ace 2019, I am very ready for 2020 and the new decade ahead. Whatever it brings, I am ready to grab it fully by the horns and I hope you all are too. 

H A P P Y 2 0 2 0 ● Wishing us all a good one, and whatever it throws at us let's ride it unapologetically, shamelessly putting our real selves forward, because we all deserve to live our best lives 😉 

🙆‍♀️ see y'all soon!


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