A Year of Growth in Review – My First Twelve Months with You

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Twelve months ago, I had just reduced all of my possessions to five boxes, two suitcases and a car, I then moved three thousand kilometres, published my first article on this blog and began a new life.

I find I can easily get caught up in the negative—the articles I published that got it wrong, the losses I faced, new struggles, times where I could have done better and how far I still have to go to reach my dreams.

So, in reflection of this huge year of change, I will make particular note of the achievements, key moments and lessons learned for I can grow from the past rather than dwell upon it, and I will pat myself on the back for all the things I got right.

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In review…

In keeping my life simple, I managed to also reduce the car from my material possessions. City life allowed more availability of transport, and I kept questioning the need of owning the car. I did my best to keep an eye on my core satisfaction drivers and not on material possessions.

I published this blog following an internal drive, a calling that I could share something that others could relate to, be guided by and learn from. I initially shared ideas and topics in discussions and early indications were positive. Therefore, I faced my internal fears and put it online for the world to find. I spent countless hours over weekends and late weeknights reading and learning how to set up the website and blog.

To date, I have received some amazing feedback on my posts. I have been told that my words came across as the reader’s thoughts and that people didn’t feel they were reading but rather having a conversation in their head, and this has inspired others to pursue dreams. I get so excited with such feedback; every piece of feedback means the world to me. I now have included a Contact Page on the site for anyone to directly send feedback, which was another stepping stone for me.

And of course, not every article has got it right. I even had one particular guest article taken down after it was attacked by good ol’ Internet Trolls, as we refer to those who don’t seem to properly read but rather jump straight into attack mode and completely twist meanings in the process. This had me recoil internally. After a couple months of reflection, came to terms with this part of the ‘job’ and penned in reflection, How I Have Committed To Take Enough Risks To Keep Growing After Allowing Ridicule to Get to Me.

I have learned this wasn’t personal. They wouldn’t know me if they walked past me on the street; they don’t know what is in my heart, and, therefore, I learned to view this as just someone else’s outlet that crossed my path. I have learned to constructively review such feedback for ways I can improve delivering my message. I have also come to understand that if this is what I want to pursue, I best suit up as more will surely cross my path in time.

I have engaged with many other publications for the creative and those writing, and I have learned that if I am not making mistakes, I am not moving forward. I have learned to seek rejection and to embrace it. One particular reference was from a producer noting to a friend that the one winning is the one making the most mistakes. I have learned to love not only getting it right, but also getting it wrong.

I approached a couple of other blog sites to submit as a regular guest writer. I succeeded with The Good Men Project and am proud to be published on this well-known site in the U.S. with such high traffic to help promote my name to other sources.

I have a better understanding of how much I love writing. It doesn’t earn me a dime and has only cost me coin to share this with you and publish my work (this article cost approximately $45 – ouch!) I have spent many hours writing, often at home while missing out on activities, but I love this process. I have learned that part of this process is that sometimes you have to be boring and sit home alone and just write.

I struggled with taking inspiration from various other artists and letting this build a foundation for much of my work. I have done a lot of research and understand better that nothing is new; we are all influenced. Then this great book that explores such a thought process came my way; Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

I spent months lost in a broken heart. I found strength in giving myself permission to feel what I needed to feel and to have a swim in it, but also to return and grow from it. Subsequently, I found peace with all my loves lost and their contributions to my emotional growth. I have come to better understand that we are all just doing the best we can in light of the circumstances we face in our physical and mental states.

I allowed myself time to centre when my mind called for it. I bravely took myself off to Cambodia and reengaged with the inspiring work of my favourite author, Nikki Gemmell, the journey of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and I grounded my roots thanks to Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s Women Who Run with the Wolves, to name a few of the inspiring books read.

I am still deeply saddened by the awful history of Cambodia and the country’s corruption, yet, despite all of this, am amazed at the outlook of the people despite such history and poverty. I was so grateful they welcomed me and kept me safe.

I found new love most recently and had to open myself back up to the risks of love despite the many walls I had built around my heart. It came while I was in the midst of my ‘timeout’, but I opened myself to the possibilities and embraced the opportunity, allowing the timing of the universe and God to guide me. To date I am in awe of this beautiful man and his support.

I have grounded myself in the outdoors, exploring much of the new state I moved to. I cannot get enough of visiting new areas; exploring this earth.

I signed up with a publishing firm for my first book, and I am quickly approaching my set submission time; I eagerly look forward to the process and the sheer self-satisfaction of achieving it.

And, of course, I found myself drowning in the commitment of all of this. Yep, I had overcommitted, with a full-time job, writing for two blog sites, a book to finish and time needed to eat, sleep and get out. I found a way to re-evaluate my commitments and massage them to work for me. In doing so, I have learned to ask for what I need, unashamedly, and I got a little better at accepting help (as I am quite stubborn, a do-it-myself girl).

The first month of this new year has incurred much inward reflection already. I have found ways to remove habits that no longer serve me. I haven’t had a coffee this year, but I haven’t ruled it out. Also, recently, I significantly reduced the role of alcohol in my life; in fact, I don’t really care for it all that much now that I have properly reflected upon where I am directing myself.

I have decided goals are not for me—no New Year’s resolutions here. Rather, I just need to be in the right direction, functioning as best I can by removing distractions and keeping present and focused. Goals, I now recognize, are like fad diets in my mind, short lived and not sustainable. I need direction and focus, and I appreciate that this is what works for me and what works for others may be quite different.

My life significantly changed a number of times in the past 12 months. Sometimes it was by my doing and other times things naturally moved away, which is sad at times, but I am now more accepting of the bigger plan, even when I don’t quite fully understand it. I find it is okay to miss, to love and to respect rather than feel adverse to my past—these are the ingredients of who I am, and whilst people and places may move on or no longer serve me, I respect the parts of it that have helped to make me who I am and look forward to what fills those gaps.

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦

Most of all, I sincerely thank you. This process and the role you play has been one of the pivotal growth catalysts in my life to date. Whether you have come along in the past twelve months, from the first post or even just the most recent. Thank you for keeping me in the chair, for listening, for being there for me and for allowing me to be there for you. If you ever have any queries, comments or questions, feel free to drop me a line via my Contact page or through my Facebook page. I also hope that you make mistakes this year, too—I hope you make many in your journey.

Note: This method of reflection has been an amazing experience for me and one I would recommend if you are so inclined. Write it out, review it and focus on your achievements, lessons and growth and then revise it so it can sink in; let the magnitude of it really sink in. If you do, whilst done for yourself alone, let me quietly say, ‘Well done, my friend; well done’.


Photo by Jorunn Lorenzen