15 Things I Learned in 2017

Hey end-of-2016 Em,

It’s me again, writing from the end of the year you’re about to embark on to impart a little wisdom to you that is going to help you with what’s to come. It’s going to be another interesting year, but you’ll be glad to know that after another rocky start, things are going to pick up again in a way that they haven’t done in a very long time. So hold fast through the imminent shit storm of the next two months, because you’ll thank yourself for it later.

***

1. Moving out isn’t a disaster. I know you’re afraid to leave home, but when the time comes not only do you manage to look after yourself and function like a normal human being, your confidence sky-rockets too. All those beliefs you have about not being able to go it alone and worrying about getting really bad again are proved wrong. You love your new flat, your new independence, AND you get to live with Gordon, which I guess is alright (JOKING, love you man).

2. You quit your job. After seven on and off years of working for the same company, you finally decide it’s time to move on. The circumstances aren’t really what you’d hoped for, but quite frankly it’s about time you tried something new, which just so happens to be bras and a wonderful new bunch of co-workers.

3. You start to think about what you want for the future. Another crazy-ass thing that happens this year is that you’re well enough to start thinking about the next steps. You have an idea of what you want to do but, and I’m saying this for present me too, try not rush into decisions. Take your time and think about what you really want. Consider why you’re making the choices that you’re making; does what you wanted two years ago when you were incredibly unstable reflect what your new, happy, confident self wants? We’ll see how this one pans out I suppose.

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4. No matter how much somebody means to you, if they are continuously taking advantage of you, you need to let them go. It’s the best thing you can do for both of you, even though it hurts like hell.

5. Being single is good for you. This year, you’re going to intentionally spend a fair amount of time alone. It gives you time to really think about what it is you want, not only from a relationship but for the future in general, plus it’s nice to have some time to wholly focus on yourself.

6. Start watching Jane the Virgin, right now. In the least cheesy way possible this show kind of changes your life. Seriously, get to it.

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7. Kindness is key. Learning to treat yourself with kindness has been a long and difficult journey. As an unrelenting perfectionist, it can be hard not to continuously self-criticise, but you’re getting there and finally starting to give yourself the love that you deserve.

8. Pay close attention to who is still around. On Christmas Eve Eve, you have an epiphany. You’re sat eating dinner with the Preston group and although your vision is a little more blurred than you had intended it to be, you look around the table at some of your oldest friends. You’re telling someone how two of the others helped to hold you together in one of your hardest times this year, when one of them chips in and says, “You know I’d always be there for you.” And the funny thing is, you didn’t know that for a while. When you were ill you isolated yourself from quite a few people who loved you and thought they were the ones who disappeared. In that moment you begin to realise how wrong you were and how lucky you are to have people that stick around no matter what.

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9. Recovery doesn’t have an official end date. Just like with any long term illness, sometimes you’re going to get sick again. It’s normal, so don’t freak out and spiral. Get your ass to the university counselling service as quickly as you can and don’t count getting a little extra help as failure. You got this.

10. You start to remember who you are. As your confidence builds, so do your aspirations for the future. Old dreams start to resurface, as well as personality traits that you’d totally forgotten were there. Someone tells you there’s a sparkle in your eye again. When people ask you how you are, you can truly and honestly say, “I’m great, thanks!” You’re reading four books at a time again and your social calendar is starting to fill up. Things are looking up.

11. Yoga makes you feel amazing. Classes are pricey but the pay off is worth it. Your body deserves to feel good.

12. Courage is sexy. You always cite cowardice as the personality trait you find least attractive, but you’ve never really realised how, on the flip side, that makes courage one of your favourite features in a person. If you’ve learned one thing over the past five years, it’s that courage has a tremendous amount of power. If you have courage you have the ability to face your problems head on, despite how afraid you are of what might happen. Courage makes you stand up for yourself, walk away from toxic people, tell someone you have feelings for them and chase what you want. It does not guarantee an outcome, but it absolutely ensures that you’ll learn something in the process. Courage is sexy as hell.

13. Feeling good about the way you look is not a sin. So wear something that shows off your figure, put on some mascara and do something with your hair without feeling guilty about it, for crying out loud.

14. Take time to check in with your priorities. Stress is not your friend and never has been, so remember that when it feels like the world is crashing in, take a step back and focus on what’s important. Chances are that if you’re stressed out of your mind, you’re putting your energy and time into the wrong areas of your life, so make some changes.

15. And again, don’t forget to remind yourself how far you’ve come. Even since this time last year, you’ve changed so much for the better. Keep on going, I’m so proud.

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Love,

End-of-2017 Em

 

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