Life

An independent life: 2018 review

12.21.18
a 2018 reflection: inspire and enjoy. tea, cake and Chasing Slow book.

Getting my brain into gear to write this, I took a look back at my 2016 review post. Revisiting that year brought up a funny mix of emotions – some jealousy at all the places I visited that year; pride at all the additional writing I was doing and generally at how life was moving along. But I also feel disappointment: this year and last have not seen that much output from me writing-wise. It seems as though I was really at the start of something good career-wise a few years ago: a blog I loved writing on regularly and magazines I contributed to with ease. Is it ok to compare myself to 2016 Verity and feel 2018 me lacking?

2016 Verity was also feeling the comparison of marriage and babies. If my life were a movie, the narrator would now be commenting: ‘Little did Verity know that just two months after writing this post she too would be pregnant; and eight months later, would be married herself…’

It’s therefore obvious why there was no 2017 review post. It was a hectic year: pregnancy, engagement followed by our wedding (pulled together in just 8 weeks!); leaving my job; leaving London; moving back to my home county of Suffolk; meeting new people; having a baby…I could never have summed up 2017 easily!

tattoo wedding photo, Hampstead Heath, London. weddingsbyhelen.photography
2018 word of the year

And so to this year. After the hecticness of 2017, the word which summarises 2018 to me is: inactivity. We moved out of our home in Ipswich in June to move in with my parents for ‘a few months‘ whilst our cabin was finished. We finally moved in a week ago. For six months it felt like our life was on hold: living in spaces not designed for a family of three, surrounded by mountains of both my family’s things; no way of having friends to stay; of putting our mark on a place; of having any privacy. I’ve always got on well with my parents, we rarely argue, and we didn’t really in this situation (some frustration here and there of course but rarely actively voiced). But we survived and now we have our own space again and can look ahead to the next year knowing our independence is back.

So, whilst 2018 has mainly felt inactive due to this literal lack of movement, once I start digging below the surface I can start to see other perspectives on this word. There was actually a lot going on internally for me, my brain taking in lots of new things and slowly plotting for a more progressive 2019.

A year of learning

As has become a bit of an obsession, I did a number of online courses to keep me informed, inspired and part of a community. I learnt about SEO; overcoming my fear of visibility online; alternative methods of education (E’s only one but I’m thinking ahead!); money and manifesting; a short business and mindset course and sharing my stories through photos and words. I showed up for a lot of Facebook live videos and completed a lot of worksheets and shared bits of my story in various ways through private Facebook groups. I met new people online and truly feel that I have a small but perfect-for-me community out there. I’ll admit I’ve not completed 100% of 100% of the courses but the resources are there as I need them and I’m planning to cut down on online courses next year in order to CREATE and not CONSUME so much. Because after a while, my brain became a bit overwhelmed by all the amazing information and it stops me being able to create. Anyway, I’ll go into this more in another post….

I rounded off November with the pinnacle of my course obsession by going on a two day Magic Activation Mastermind retreat in Spain, run by the gorgeous Sophie French. It was all the tears and all the laughter and all the planning and all the magic. A month later I’m still implementing lots of little things which came up through the weekend and am really happy I invested in myself so wisely.

Where the magic happened
a little work

Work-wise, I’ve been doing some copywriting for a handful of clients which I am proud of myself for. Getting paid to write is my dream and it felt really special to be acknowledged for that. However, with a one year old my time is limited and I have been feeling that writing for me (blogging and pitching magazines) has had to take a step back in favour of this paid work. I’ve felt a lot of frustration about this, to be honest. (Reading this back I appreciate how spoilt this sounds – I simply have a lot of words I want to share from my own thoughts). Fighting to find time to write for me has become exhausting and upsetting.

Now, of course, amongst the copywriting and the house situation, I have been successfully raising a very happy and healthy little boy. Watching him as he first smiled, learnt to crawl, took his first steps and is now walking has been phenomenal. PHENOMENAL. He is the magic of the year, really. I want to spend 90% of my time with him – but it’s so important to me that the other 10% is filled with things for me. I’ve always needed alone time, always needed my own projects to be working on – and now that NCT friends are back at work and people to spend time with day to day is dwindling, I need more places to go, people to see and things to do to stop me feeling lonely and unmotivated. Because I can see how easily that could happen for me.

more than just reflecting

When I set out to write this post, I’m not sure I realised quite how reflective this 2018 refection would be! Very insular, reading it back. So I’ll finish with some other things I’ve done this year:

  • Going on a hen & spending a night away from E at 10 weeks old (nothing like hand-pumping expressed milk with a group of women you’ve never met).
  • Taking on my first copywriting client, also when E was just 10 weeks old.
  • Spent a night at Alde Garden – a gorgeous retreat-like campsite in Suffolk – in exchange for a blog post (coming in the new year). It’s the first thing I’ve done like this and I was really excited and proud to be given the opportunity. I feel a lot of guilt I’ve not written the post yet but I know it will be worth it when I do).
  • Taking a family trip to New York in September to stay with my brother and sister-in-law as well as attending the Connecticut wedding of a friend I made whilst living in Korea 8 years ago (proud I’ve kept this friendship).
  • Starting a fitness course in the summer (not that I feel I’ve kept it up but I do have the tools and knowledge to get back to it in the new year).
  • Made it to 5 weddings, some with a baby in tow.
  • Made more new friends and spent time with old ones. I celebrated 20 years of friendship with my girls from school with a weekend at Center Parcs a few months ago which was wonderful.
  • Learnt more about things of the soul I’d never considered before: manifesting, visualising, oracle cards, setting intentions. All good stuff I’m excited to keep learning about.
Mystic, Connecticut
a short letter to the year

All in all, 2018 – you were good to me. You were slow at a time when I needed slow. You gave me the space to drop off the radar online somewhat with no guilt. You’ve gifted me the journey of raising our wonderful little boy and the appreciation for having a home of our own. I’ll look back on you as a year where my brain started fitting itself together in new ways – I’m excited to discover what this rewiring and waiting will bring into fruition in 2019…

3 comments on “An independent life: 2018 review”

  1. So proud of you my darling, I know wherever you live in the world you will always be fabulous. I miss living with you in Korea on a weekly basis. Those were the glory years indeed! Although we both have so many fabulous things happening now, it’s easy to look back on the past and see only the golden memories and happy times, and to forget the groans, arguments and hangovers that we all suffered. Here’s hoping that 2019 is the best for all of us, where ever we all may be, and that hopefully we get to reunite for a drink in the pub this year! xoxo

    1. Ah Gem, so lovely to read this – thank you lovely one <3 I cannot believe it was almost 7 years since I left Korea. The hangovers! Always epic. Literally the time of my life living there and meeting so many incredible people. I miss it a lot. But yes to 2019 and our lives now. Let me know next time you're over sweetheart xx

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