Last year I wrote a post about the lessons that 2016 had taught me and I thought, let’s make this an annual tradition so here are the lessons that 2017 has taught me. I think this quote sums up 2017 brilliantly, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” – Mark Twain…especially due to a certain president who is armed with his own twitter account!
Be Kind To Your Yourself and Others
Last year I wrote about how you can be your harshest critic and while I know I still am (it’s a hard lesson to learn)...2017 taught me to be kind to myself in many different ways…from looking after my body due to operations through to relying on others to look after me. As someone who is rather independent, it was hard letting others look after me and I punished myself and the ones I loved over how useless I was when suffering from exhaustion.
At the beginning of the year I wrote a post on my Hopes, Dreams & Wishes for 2017 and my mantra for this year is “Kindness Never Goes Out of Fashion”. We live in a very fractured world and never have we needed more kindness in this world than now. Try and help others in need; check out www.crisis.org.uk this winter season…donations of money or clothing are always required (and how many unworn winter coats do you have sitting in your wardrobe) or take the time to chat to someone, loneliness is real for many.
^^Don’t take yourself too seriously…sent the photo of me to my mum and sister and this was their response…giggles galore!
Armchair Travel is Just as Good as Jumping on a Plane
While I was grounded, I really fell in love with my travel magazines more and more (I have subscriptions to so many!)…they transported me to beautiful and wild destinations and there is something about turning a page of a magazine to a new destination while holding a cup of tea (it was probably more water with a crap load of ice than a tea…pica is fun!) that is truly relaxing rather than scrolling through a website with pop ups flashing at you to join a social media profile.
If I’m going to be really honest; I have fallen out of love with blogs more than ever this year…some feel so materialistic, the writing feels forced on others or the journey just doesn’t feel very authentic…the worst is when it comes across as they didn’t really want to be there. I still love these bloggers…they are normal folks with normal holiday entitlements who travel where they love and it shows in their writing and their happy photos. Unfollowing is hard but it’s better to follow folks that you love rather than what makes you feel frustrated.
Armchair travel is great…what works for me as inspiration doesn’t mean will work for you.
Choose What Makes You Happy
2016 and 2017 really were the years of listicles telling us all where you MUST and NEED to visit and do…I’m a firm believer that you should do things that you want to do…don’t be a sheep. I’ve always kept a list at the back of my diary of places that I want to visit…some of these destinations sit on that list for years (I need to plant a few more money trees!)…the last few years I haven’t written this list or focussed on it but this year, I started my list again and I’ve had fun ticking of places that have interested me including Moscow, Blackpool and Toledo…sit down and write a list of places you want to visit or things that you really want to do; without any distractions i.e. the internet and then make some plans…the no distractions helps in working out where you really want to go personally rather than where people are telling you to go.
^^I loved Moscow!
^^One day I will share the funny story about the gun range in Moscow that G and I visited…we thought we were going to die however looking at G’s skills, I didn’t have to worry! While I was studying for my ACCA qualification, G was studying his playstation…it paid off in the end obviously.
Cancer is a Very Scary Word and it Doesn’t Discriminate
Last year, G’s dad was diagnosed with cancer and died less than 2 weeks later…it was a horrible time and it’s terrifying how many folks have told me similar stories this past year. I didn’t want to hear the C word at all in 2017 but in June I was diagnosed with Serrated Polyposis Syndrome which is a genetic colon disease…a week after my second fibroid operation, I had no idea that I would be sitting down with a Professor and receiving this diagnosis…or that I am likely to get diagnosed with colon cancer before I turn 45 (or maybe never…who knows…I’m hoping I will be lucky).
After my second colonoscopy this year; they found cancer cells but thankfully they were found early and removed prior to becoming a tumour.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate! Don’t let your GP fob you off…you know your body better than anyone…push especially when you see blood in your poo, don’t be afraid, it’s better to know the reason why and to have treatment early.
There Are Some Good Eggs Working on the NHS and Some Bad Ones
I won’t lie, I’m not a fan of the NHS (personally I think it’s time for a major overhaul)…but I will agree there are some good eggs working on the NHS, unfortunately I’ve had a few rotten eggs in the past treat me and these folks wreck it for everyone else. Yes there are folks that are trying to make money out of the NHS by not operating on you (they get paid not to operate / treat at times to meet targets) hence they don’t treat you when you’re ill…this is what I fell foul of and I’ve got specialists that are very annoyed that I wasn’t treated years ago.
Recently Luton & Dunstable Hospital was named one of the best hospitals in the UK and they’re right. I received amazing treatment there, two operations later and no complaints…their Women’s Clinic is amazing. If you have trouble at Bedford Hospital, ask for a second opinion at L&D Hospital…apparently this is becoming a common occurrence…sadly…Bedford needs a hospital but for fucks sake it, it needs to pull up it’s socks so we can keep it…what I’ve seen in the past 10 days at Bedford Hospital with G’s mum treatment really tells me that the NHS is in a complete shambles in some areas!
As we edge closer to the end of 2017…I feel that I’m actually getting stronger day by day as my fibroids are now removed and I have so many more answers now to some pretty dreadful symptoms that I’ve suffered with over the past few years. Over 7 years in the making but I think we may have finally got to the bottom of things!
It’s Okay to Start Again
It sure is…I’m at a point where I’m questioning everything in my life…especially around my career…do I want to be an Accountant, do I enjoy it? And no, I would never become a full time blogger as that’s just not me…I like this blog to be my release and where I share my photos with my family and friends around the world. I believe things happen for a reason so lets see what happens…
Tastes Change With Time and Experience
Sara popped up to see me a few months back and we had a great chat about how travel can change you…there are certain destinations that make you see life very differently and you return a very different person. I’m not talking about a trip to Europe or staying at a fancy hotel in Africa…I know that Sara will understand what I’m trying to say here…when you travel through somewhere like Africa on an Overland trip you see the real Africa, warts and all…where poverty is in your face and you realise how devastating HIV really is…it took me 2 days driving through Malawi to realise that the boxes on the side of the road for sale were coffins.
I have become very materialistic over the past few years…I’ve gotten into some really bad habits…I joined the throw away society…where it’s okay to buy something to wear once and never wear again because it was so cheap…I don’t shop at Primark…that place makes me sneeze…I’m guessing I’m allergic to their code of ethics…but saying that, are my Gap jeans or Boden clothes any better?
Africa taught me so much; folks had so little but their generosity was overwhelming. My tastes have changed…I don’t need much in my life to be happy…I don’t need to be told what I need to buy…I have so much, why do I need more.
Due to this, I’ve really changed what I’m consuming but also what I’m reading and watching…targeted advertisements are shocking when you start to open your eyes to them and my eyes were wide open in 2017. I may have told Instagram that the Jeremy Corbyn photo that popped up in my Instagram feed as sponsored during the election this year was offensive and reported the ad (I don’t agree to political sponsored posts on social media…that’s just me though!)…and then he popped up even more…so I made a decision to spend less time on the ‘gram as I didn’t need the stress of seeing more adhoc sponsored or ad bullshit in my life…yeap you can fuck off with you #ad hashtag, thank you very much…I don’t need it!
Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
Accountants are notorious for having shocking personal finances…we know what is there but what am I spending it on…dunno! I got my finances under control this year and it was amazing to track my spending for a few months to see my spending habits…shoes weren’t the problem, it was clothing…goodbye shopping phone apps!
Rachel gave me a heads up to Dave Ramsey and I now listen to his podcast, he has a distinctive voice that when I’m about to buy something I just imagine him yelling at me…it doesn’t work all the time and I tell him at times to royally fuck off as I do need that new Boden Jumper for Christmas.
When you start tracking (this isn’t budgeting); you start to see your bad habits and it’s an eye opener. I changed a number of my shopping habits; from service providers to also using topcashback.com where I’ve received over £500 back so far this year…you can ask for cash or avios or a number of different vouchers.
Once you start, you can’t stop…I then got into reading Personal Finance books…oh my goodness, there are some really good books and some rather sad ones. Overall I feel in a much better frame of mind about my personal finances now and have stopped a lot of unnecessary spending.
Get your money under control and understand your spending habits; with so many problems in the world at the moment, it’s better to be financially prepared for whatever is around the corner…our folks probably remember the 15% interest rates…this could be a hard lesson for some to learn if this ever happens again especially in the UK and New Zealand. Be prepared when you start tracking…it’s scary and you need smelling salts when you see your bad habits right in front of you but it’s totally worth it.
^^Let’s pretend these are money trees!
Cutting All Your Hair Off Gives You Confidence!
When I say cutting all your hair off…I mean going really short…not just a few inches. There is something about going really short that makes you feel more confident; a lot of women hide behind their hair, it’s like a security blanket and I feel like I’ve let mine go. I don’t feel less of a women because I have short hair, I actually feel more like a women as I feel stronger and more confident that I took the leap.
If you have fancied short hair for a while, do it! It’s a total revelation…you end up standing a few inches taller for some reason. Strangely, the guys in the office all chat to me about how great my hair is now…apparently I look very French and chic…they also comment on my lipstick choice (When I wear red lippy, they find it rather distracting…I like to make them blush as I call red lips, Red Blow Job Lips…sorry mummy…you know what I’m like, I’m definitely my fathers daughter!)
^^I’m now shorter than this…my hair, not my height…I’m still 5’11!
So there you go; these are some of the big lessons that 2017 has taught me…I’m sure there are still so many life lessons to learn and each year you learn a few more…time is a blessing and curse in so many different ways, you realise this when you get a bit older. I will be honest and say I’m once again rather happy to see the end of 2017, drawing a line underneath it…new beginnings and I have my fingers crossed for a stronger body and mind in 2018.
What lessons has 2017 taught you?
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