She remembered who she was and the game changed

- Lalah Deliah

2017; the year of travelling, accomplishing many many goals and learning a lil more about myself. I somehow managed to tick off all my resolutions and goals for the year which I've never done before (!impressed!) I graduated uni, had an exhibition, got nominated for the Turner Contemporary prize, travelled to loads of beautiful places, moved to London, went to America, got my first proper job and my best friend finally came over to visit. Oh, and watched about 15 Netflix series, pretty impressive eh?

I feel like this year I really learnt a lot about myself - One of my goals was to start focusing on doing the things that I truly wanted to do and listening to my gut. Usually, I'm hopeless at this. I'm always wanting others to be happy and am forever putting them first. Doing things I don't really want to do in fear of hurting someone's feelings, listening to other people dreams and ideas and believing that they're mine, and I was especially good at neglecting myself and not letting myself have the time away that I needed. Whether it be diving into a creative project, planning my year or simply just reading and having a bit of quiet time. So for this year, I want to continue doing that whilst also working on my 'self-love & confidence'. Something I have forever struggled with and something that I no longer want to deal with. I'm so excited for this year - my first year as a proper adult where I can anything, go anywhere and accomplish anything I wanna.

So here are the 10 things that 2017 taught me.

 1. Trust your gut instinct

You know when you just feel like walking a certain way home or making a really big change in your life? And no matter how hard you try, the feeling to do it just won't go away? Well that's your gut, and your gut can help you in the hardest of times. Like a magnetic pull, it can direct you in life. It can appear in little situations or big situations, and either way it's steering you towards the right direction. When you start to trust this feeling, you're trusting yourself - I've really learnt this year that your gut feeling is always right. It can be a scary and really confusing feeling at first to have such a strong feeling within you. Especially when the thing or person you've always wanted it standing right in front of you. But if it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't. If you're struggling with a big decision, take some time to clear your mind and allow the answer to naturally surface. Mull over the questions or problems, sleep on it and let the answer come to you.

2. Put yourself first

This is something I'm still working on and something I'm really not too good at but I can tell you that since I started doing this I've noticed so many changes in not only myself but in my relationships, my outlook and my life. Putting yourself first can come in big and small sizes. It could be something as simple as turning an offer down so you can spend 20 minutes reading that book you've been meaning to start. Or, it could be something bigger like turning down a job opportunity that sounds great but just doesn't work for you. At the end of the day you've gotta do the things you want to do. 

3. Read as much as possible

There's nothing better than climbing into a mountain of blankets with your favourite book, a cup of something warm and getting completely lost in to a story. And this is especially good when it feels like life isn't on your side or you had a crappy day. Whether it be a romance, a crime, a biography or something inspirational, there's no better way to escape from your thoughts and reality. Don't neglect yourself of this beautiful thing and try give yourself 20 minutes a day to escape and forget and learn and fall in love with characters and their feelings. As George R. R. Martin once said, "a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one." 

4. It's not selfish to have 'me' time

Sometimes all you need is to just focus on yourself. It's not selfish to take a step back and allow yourself the time to get your head straight and focus on the things that YOU want to do. It's totally fine to spend a night in and decline an invitation out if all you want to do is light some candles and listen to your favourite music and enjoy your own company. If you spend all your time giving all of yourself to everyone else, and neglect yourself of that affection then you'll feel deflated and cranky. When we feel our best we can love the best. Give it a go and see how everything changes. 

5. Just because there's a plan, it doesn't have to always go that way

Ok I learnt this SO MANY TIMES this year and at the beginning it can really suck and be annoying but then you realise that, ok The Universe has a plan for me (see no.5) and this is happening for a reason and everything will work out okay. If I could go back in time and tell myself this, I would. I've spent so many times this year worrying and panicking thinking that nothing is going right and I should've done this by now or look like this by now or gone here by now... and then suddenly out of nowhere EVERYTHING fell into place. I landed my first job, I got to move to London, I was nearer my boyfriend, I was earning money, I was being creative everyday, I was connecting with like minded people, working on myself, seeing my family on weekends, having a sense of independence and it was good. I felt, and still feel happy. Trust in it, go with it. Believe in yourself. 

6. The Universe really does listen

Everything that's happened, has happened for a reason. We all have a path in life, and even if your dream didn't come true, maybe it was because it wasn't what you really truly wanted. The Universe has better plans for you, it will never give you anything you can't deal with or anything you're not ready for. Trust in it. You've just gotta manifest those dreams. Make a decision, dream about it, write about it, print it out and create a dream board, work towards the end goal, and live like you've already accomplished it... "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. Let yourself have a creative outlet, read, write, paint, draw, photography - anything that does something for you

Everyone needs an outlet; an outlet for happiness, creativity, sadness, anxiety, any sort of emotion. No matter what it is whether it's writing a book or a poem or a blog post or painting a beautiful portrait or a load of abstract scribbles or writing a song or taking  loads of pictures or learning yoga. Let yourself have that, and give yourself time to zone out and forget about the time. Sometimes we're so quick to think after work I'm going to hit the gym because it's what I should do and it will make me feel good, but think about what you really want to do. Do you really want to go to the gym? Or would you rather come home and connect to your arty side, with a glass of wine and your favourite music and clear your mind through creation. 

8. You're stronger than you think.

Think back to a time in your life where you were really struggling and felt like there was no hope or no light at the end of the tunnel. Where it felt like you couldn't get through it no matter how hard you tried, where everything was dull and hopeless and pointless. Well.. where are you now? You're here, and you got through it, and there's probably been soooooo many times where you've gotten through hard times where you told yourself time and time again you won't be able too. Give yourself credit and stop doubting yourself. My mumma has always told me that everyone has an inner strength that comes out when they least expect it. If there's anything I've learnt this year, and anything that I'm really trying to do is to believe in myself. Believe in all that I am and all the strength and powers I hold. Feel it, believe it and you'll see how much you grow. 

9. I'm good at what I do

I'm good at what I love doing and I'm doing what I love. I'm where I need to be and I got here because I'm talented and that's really hard for me to write but my words this year are self-love and confidence so I'm practising it right now and need to start believing in it and I also need to stop stressing which then leads me on too number 10 which is too...


A, x