So I guess for my first post in 2019 I wanted to have some sort of reflection on the year that was, but I didn’t want it to be anything like a ‘2018 in Review’ or, ‘Top Products from 2018’. This is more of a personal reflection on why I had come out a stronger person in 2018 and how my mindset towards certain things have changed as a result of the things I had learned in 2018.
2018 had many big moments. We bought our first home, I submitted my PhD thesis on emerging human DNA identification techniques, my first scientific study was published, I strengthened friendships that I now absolutely cherish, I started my first professional contract, and while I gained two incredible pets, I lost the feathered love of my life, Honey.
Blog wise, I pushed my creativity and style into something I now really enjoy, I was presented with some opportunities that were very rewarding and enjoyable to participate in, and I developed some valuable e-friendships from across Australia.
These moments, big and small, wins and failures, each taught me lessons that morphed my approach to life and way of thinking today. Some lessons were monumental, some were baby steps. Either way, I’m grateful for them for allowing me to continuously develop professionally, emotionally and socially. Here are some of the best lessons I learned in 2018.
Pick your battles wisely
This was something I struggled with this past year. There were a few situations when I felt like there was an action I really needed to take, or something I really needed to say, but I didn’t. On the other hand, there were times when I piqued up about things that ultimately had a negative effect on the outcome, and should have let them slide instead, and just ‘dealt with it’. Then there were situations when I should have said something – didn’t and regretted it – and then thanked myself later for not reacting. These situations emphasised that before reacting to anything, I need to carefully consider why I am reacting, how I will react, and if the results of this action will ultimately make my life easier – if the action will profitable. As the year got on, I was able to identify which situations really needed my attention, and those where I would be better just letting the ‘chips fall where they may’, and in the end I do think this worked in my favour.
Tough love is effective love
I usually take things to heart when it comes to opinions, critiques, and advice given. Being someone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome (you can read my previous post on it here), any form of feedback that isn’t ‘praise’ can be super detrimental to my self-confidence and my belief that I am good at what I do and that I deserve to be in the position I am in. Previously, the people around me have recognised this, and I think – to my detriment – that it resulted in them ‘holding my hand’ throughout my journey. I didn’t notice this at the time, but looking back on it, I wish they didn’t. Why? Because while at the time I felt like it was just what I needed, it didn’t allow me to reflect on my abilities and failures, and what I could have done better, how I can improve to get the job done effectively. In other words, this hand-holding didn’t allow me to develop and mature. But 2018 was definitely the year of ‘tough love’. While I struggled with it at the time, I’m super grateful of those experiences because they really did allow to drive my own work, gain more knowledge, learn better ways to work, and develop independently from anyone else’s help. This tough love also helped to really keep me accountable for my actions, and lack of action too, in order for me to complete tasks more effectively.
Getting a home loan is the easy part
This might not be the case for everyone, but we found it harder to secure a property than it was to actually get the home loan. There was so much more involved in buying a property than we thought, and we were blissfully unaware of how much competition there is in the market for the perfect home. We thought that finding and buying the home would be the easy part, and obtaining the finances leading up to the purchase would be the most difficult. Granted, we did buy within 10km from the CBD (eek), so weren’t really making it that easy for us. We missed out on places we loved and submitted maximum offers for, and still missed out because people were offering MORE than the sellers were asking for (say whaaat)! Yep, that’s how desperate people were to buy a property. But throughout our experiences I have gained so much more insight and appreciation into the world of property and I also learned that real estate agents actually do work (LOL). It also made us so much happier with what we were able to get in the end, safe to say we love our home and are glad the process is over. For now… Good luck to all those embarking on their journey to their first home this year. I hope you have an easier time than we did!
It’s okay to doubt yourself, if…
Going back to me being a total imposter in my life, self-doubt was something that really plagued me in my final year of my PhD. But with the frequency and severity of this doubt came valuable lessons. I learned to manage it better and turn this energy into another form that actually made a positive impact. It made me want to work harder to prove myself wrong. I learned that self-doubt is okay, as long as you don’t use it in a destructive way and instead harness that energy into new creative pathways, more effective work ethic or just to challenge yourself more or learn new things you didn’t know before. Instead of sitting there thinking, “I’m a fraud because I should know ‘xyz’ and I don’t. That means I’m a failure and I should quit etc…”, you should recognise that there is still something to learn, so go ahead and put your energy into a new intellectual awakening instead of just criticising yourself.
I’m spending too much time on-screen
2018 was definitely the worst for this habit, and towards the end of the year I went through sort of epiphany where I started to hate how much time that not only I was spending looking at a screen, but also those around me, instead of doing something more enriching, rewarding and constructive. It got to the point where I started to resent being on my phone, on Instagram, obsessing over my blog, and working on my laptop. I learned that I could manage my social media accounts just as effectively if I spent less time on-screen. Shorter bursts of on-screen time with more focus, that’s what I aimed for. I started to share less, both on my Instagram feed and stories, and on Facebook. Not every moment needed to be shared online, not all my visually appealing meals needed to be shared online, and not all my packages need to be shared online either. I share way less online than what I used to. Doesn’t mean I am hiding anything, doesn’t mean I am not relatable or unsociable, and it certainly doesn’t make me a bad blogger, it just means that there are more important things I feel like I should be focusing on in those moments. The whole reason the ‘digital detox’ became a thing in 2018 is because it has become unhealthy (both physically and mentally) to be spending so much time on-screen! I won’t be the first to say that hanging around on Instagram isn’t exactly the best ‘pick-me-up’…
I don’t make any New Years resolutions, but if there was one I had to make this year, it would be to be more present in life’s moments instead of being so consumed about sharing all the parts of my life with everyone else. I do not want social media taking over and controlling my life, and Mr Beauty & the Geek’s for that matter because our habits do affect those around us! Similarly, it’s okay not to stick to a social media posting schedule. Becoming stressed about posting multiple times a day (or whatever the aim was) and having to keep this up isn’t healthy either. People aren’t going to hate me or become upset if I don’t post that photo I thought of posting today… right?
I learned to care less about the numbers
Sort of an extension from above, but spending less time on screen also made me more relaxed about the way I feel about my online presence and the direction I want to take it in. I used to get so down about my follower count not climbing as fast as I want it to, or my blog views not being high enough to secure exclusive brand partnerships or PR packages for creating content for my followers. I really did learn that as long as I’m creating content that I am happy with, and I’m still interacting with the people I want to interact with, than the numbers really don’t matter to me. And plus, the social media market is so flooded with thousands of similar accounts, and the way Instagram works these days means that it’s really no wonder it’s so hard to grow your account these days, so I’m not going to stress out so much about something that is mostly out of my control.
I’m actually good at what I do
If 2018 taught me one thing, it was that I am ‘enough’. I love what I do and I am good at it, failures and everything. I live a life that I love and I deserve to because I’ve worked so bloody hard and I’m so passionate about what I do. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I was able to, and I wouldn’t have bee able to maintain a loving relationship if I wasn’t good at doing what I do best – just being me.
I think it’s important to reflect on the lessons learned each year as it passes and how you’ve progressed from where you were the year before. I also think it’s more a constructive process than trying to set resolutions for the new year. So tell me, what is the most important lesson that 2018 taught you? Let me know in the comments below!