13 super easy ways to make your life a little simpler

make-life-simpler

 

A year or so ago I watched theMinimalism documentary. And from that point on I have become increasingly more aware of my consumption habits. To be honest, after watching the film I felt terribly ashamed and embarrassed about the way I had been carelessly allowing clutter to fill up my home and life.

 

I was in this continuous cycle of purchasing and discarding. Searching for newer and better things to replace the perfectly good items I already owned.

 

It is really easy to make shopping into a sport. A social activity. An outlet for stress. A way of taking control.

 

But it is that mindset which left my bookshelves overflowing, my closet heaving and myself still feeling empty.

 

A part of me wished I could do it better. If only I could make my life a little simpler. I wished I could find contentment with what I already had.

 


 

Then I came across another documentary, “Before the Flood.” In which Leonardo DiCaprio urges us to become aware of the impact we are having on the planet and to take action to prevent further harm.

 

With any emotive film, book or TV series, I am quick to jump on board their crusade. I want to do my bit. I want to take charge of my destiny. I want to feel like I have a teensy tiny bit of control or a say in how these things pan out.

 

So I felt the crushing weight of responsibility for my actions. I recognised my bad habits were impacting more than just myself but also the planet I called home and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing about it.

 

I am not one who subscribes to the ‘this job is too big for me so I won’t do anything at all’ philosophy. No way. If I can make a change, no matter how small, you bet I will.

 

So first of all I got thinking about what is most important to me. These things would be the focus for my simple living goals, the hooks I would prop my coat on.

 

The things I value:

 

People. The relationships I have in my own life but also the indirect ones I am a part of as a consumer.

I wanted to be more intentional about who I spent time with, who I bought products from and who I followed on social media.

 

The planet. I love nature and being outdoors. I love that the country I live in is so beautiful and that we have the opportunity to appreciate forests, lakes and mountains that people travel from all around the world to see.

I wanted to be mindful of the products I purchased and the way they were processed so that I could help prevent further damage to our precious planet.

 

My health. I have spent a long time fighting against my body and I finally am in a place where I appreciate it for all of the marvelous ways it enables me to live.

I wanted to do more of what makes me feel good. I wanted to take care of myself so that I could live life to the fullest.

 

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With those things in mind I decided I needed to take action and make some changes. Thus my new philosophy for life was formed.

 

My simple living philosophy…

 

“To be intentional about the way I live in order to minimise my impact on the planet and others. To sacrifice convenience for the benefit of quality time, compassion and overall well-being. To live in a way that makes me so excited about the now that I forget about the not yet.”

 

Making tiny changes to my lifestyle has had a huge impact on the way I feel. I believe that when we live authentically, in a way that remains true to our core beliefs, we can stop fighting ourselves and find contentment.

 

So these are a few super easy things I have done to incorporate my simple living philosophy into my everyday life. Perhaps these are things you might like to try also…

 

How to make your life a little bit simpler:

 

Start composting-

I just started gathering food scraps and heaping them in a pile in our backyard. Then I would take that compost and return the nutrients to the soil in my garden. From nature to nature.

A lot of people think that food will decompose in the landfill but that isn’t actually true. Food scraps are trapped among the rubbish and unable to get enough oxygen to biodegrade.

 

Buy sustainable beauty products-

I’ve been working on buying products without palm oil and that come in recyclable packaging. I already have a strong appreciation for bar soap and I am keen to try out solid shampoo and conditioner bars.

 

Unfollow people who make you feel icky-

Stop comparing yourself to others. Only follow people who uplift you, inspire you or bring you joy.

 

Eat less meat- 

The agricultural industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and there is some speculation as to whether we should be eating as much animal protein as we currently do. I’m trying to include at least one vegetarian meal per week and when I do eat meat, I want it to be better quality.

 

Try growing your own vegetables-

I started this in order to better appreciate the effort required to get food onto my plate. I also wanted to become reacquainted with the lost art of preparing all elements of a meal by hand.

 

Buy secondhand first-

I absolutely love a bargain. But I also love that shopping secondhand first means less waste is created. We simply use what already exists.

 

Spend less time online- 

Find joy in being present wherever you are. Take less photos and spend more time actually enjoying the moment.

 

Buy quality products-

If I do purchase something new then I usually will spend a little more in order to get something of better quality. Because in the long run, quality products tend to last longer.

 

Reduce your plastic use-

The amount of plastic we produce is insane. Especially for products that get used once and then thrown away. So anything that can be used in place of plastic and reused is brilliant.

 

De-clutter your physical spaces-

Clear out your closet, your pantry or the backseat of your car. Make space so that you can actually breathe. This means you will also know what you have/what you need and can avoid over purchasing.

 

Be intentional with relationships-

Put down your phone when you are with someone. Make time to see old friends. Call or message often. Be the one who makes the first move.

 

Eat seasonally-

Learn what foods are in season then shop around for the best deals. Eating seasonally saves you money and means less environmental cost due to shipping from the other side of the world.

 

Support decent brands- 

If possible, make purchases from smaller, local businesses. Support brands that do good, and care about their workers and their environmental impact.

 

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And this is just the start of it. There are so many more things we can do to make our lives simpler and more intentional. If you want a little help getting started then check out the 7 days to mindful living challenge I released just last week.

 

Basically, it all comes back to awareness. Being aware of the impact, positive and negative, that you have on everyone and everything around you.

What little things do you do to make your life simpler?

Simple living: the secret to thriving in a society obsessed with the hustle

secret-to-simple-living

 

Sometimes things only become glaringly obvious to you days, weeks or years after they should.

 

Like the fact that leggings under shorts is not a good look. Or swimming in an outdoor pool without sunscreen is a bad idea.

 

Or how draining living in a big city can be on your soul.

 

At first, I didn’t notice the subtle ways the latter was true for me. The nights I couldn’t sleep. The tears I would sometimes shed in the car. The clawing feeling of wanting to escape that I kept ignoring.

 

I thought it was just the stress of trying to find a job right out of college. Or the helpless way I kept falling in love and getting my heart broken. Or my perpetual fear of an uncertain future.

 

Only now I am out of the city I can see the way it utterly depleted me.

 

I wasn’t happy. At least not the kind of happy that stretches deep beneath the surface, that bubbles away inside of you, giving you the energy you need to keep going.

 

The big city and all of its ways abraded me. It felt jarring, consuming and arduous to be a part of.

 

Being in the city felt like everyone and everything was taken in, chewed up and spat out into the same stressed out, discontented state.

 

There was something within me that knew I could never be happy there and when I finally listened to that voice, I got out.

 

I bravely packed up and moved home. To a city, several hundred thousand people fewer. To a place I feared would bore me. To a life that seemed slow and dull but in reality was the very thing I needed most.

 

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We live in a society that deems slow to be boring. We want things NOW. We want the biggest and the best. We want what everyone else has and more.

 

We live to consume. To outdo each other. To obtain more and more.

 

But this way of living is exhausting. The effort is futile and totally unsustainable. The ‘hustle harder’ mentality is not something we can maintain long term, eventually we just burn out.

 

That’s what happened to me.

 

I was so weary I could hardly summon the strength to get myself out of bed and go back to work.

 

I couldn’t face another day of squishing in between people on the train ride, running late and rushing through the crowds down the street or having to take so many coffee orders that I hardly had the time to look up and greet a person as they entered the café.

 

Every part of me felt suffocated by the way rushing had become the new norm. 

 

I wanted to have space again. I wanted to walk down the street without being swept up in the current of people moving forwards. I wanted to have room and time to actually breathe.

 

When you are constantly busy you don’t even notice the length of your days. Weeks fly by in a matter of minutes. I was terribly afraid that if I kept this up, my whole life could flash by and I wouldn’t even have lived it.

 

Simple living is about slowing down and realising what’s most important in our lives.

 

It’s about finding peace and contentment in the here and now. Being mindful of the way we consume and being aware of others around us.

 

I’ve seen a drastic change in myself over the past few months. Now I am out of the city and no longer a part of the hustle.

 

For the first time in a long time I am actually sleeping well. My mind switches off at night instead of worrying about all the things I have/haven’t done.

I finally feel positive and excited about life again. Once again I am actually looking for the beauty in every day. I’m no longer dreading and avoiding hard work. I’m even choosing to exercise because it makes me feel good!


 

But all around me I see people stuck in that same trap I was. Hustling endlessly each day, wishing for the weekend and burning themselves out.

 

I wish I could make them see that there is more to life than this constant competition for the flashiest Instagram photos. Or the addition of more belongings which clutter our homes. Or the mindless consumption of food wrapped in plastic, completely unrecognisable from its original form.

 

Simple living brings everything into perspective.

 

I thought slowing down would leave me feeling bored and irritable but instead, learning patience and practicing gratitude has made me so much happier.

 

I want that for other people, I want that for you.

 

So I decided to create a little challenge in order to do that.

 

And here it is…

 

Each day I’ve covered a different topic such as how to use social media cautiously or eat mindfully.

I’ve gone into detail to explain the importance of mindfulness in each area of our lives and then set a challenge for each day. This way you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

 

Often I find that starting is the hardest part. It can be daunting and confusing to figure out where to begin. So this challenge will hopefully make it easy for you. 7 days and 7 ways to make your life a little more simple.

 

I’m super excited to share this challenge with you. If you are feeling overwhelmed and burntout and you’re keen to find more peace and contentment then join me by signing up below…

 

 

I hope you’ll slow down a little today and remember what is truly important in your life. It’s not all the THINGS you own or accomplish, it’s people. PEOPLE are what matter most.

 

One of the biggest struggles I have faced with living simply is making time for people. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting things done that I miss out on opportunities to build relationships.

 

So I’m interested to know your thoughts on this…

What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to simple living?

The power of vulnerability: having the courage to say how we really feel

the-power-of-vulnerability

 

I never really grasped the power of vulnerability until I started dating.

 

The effort required to put yourself out there and meet someone in the first place is immense. And this only compounds once you are actually in a relationship and forced to share so much of yourself with another person.

 

I had no idea how difficult it would be to articulate my frustration or the depth of my affection. But both things are equally challenging.

 

Both require a level of vulnerability I was completely unprepared for.

 

Even for someone who loves words as much as me, finding the right ones to say can be nearly impossible. It’s like my mouth dries up and the ability to formulate a sentence disappears.

 

One of the biggest lessons I am learning is that withdrawing from vulnerability and bottling up emotions is a surefire way to cause trouble in a relationship. And when broken people try to build relationships, trouble is already present in spades.

 

When I was doing a spot of gardening this week I found a perfect metaphor for this phenomenon.

 

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I’ve recently come to learn that walnut trees are prolific and tenacious in their pursuit of complete, garden domination.

 

They grow up into these ginormous, towering trees which look absolutely magnificent but are really just huge, leafy pests. Every autumn they drop hundreds of walnuts beneath their canopy and an army of shoots sprout before your very eyes.

 

I was given the critical task of removing the excess shoots from beneath one of the trees before they got out of control and created a backyard platoon.

 

Due to my lack of gardening experience, I foolishly predicted the work would be easy.

 

At first, I found that the small, immature plants were easy to pull out. They only required a gentle tug and the entire shoot and roots would be in my hands.

 

The larger plants were a different story however. Their roots were well established, their stems were thicker and so they were tougher to remove from the ground.

 

And as I huffed and puffed under the shade of that grand old, walnut tree I thought about how similar these shoots are to our bottled up emotions.


 

We start out with a little niggling frustration, a slight undiagnosed sadness, there will be something that upsets us and we will refuse to figure out why.

 

Then little by little, the frustrations mount, the anger seethes, the sadness deepens.

What once was a small shoot becomes a fully developed plant. With roots spanning deep and wide. We find it is impossible to remove with a simple, gentle tug, instead we must cut off the stem and dig out the roots.

 

The problem with avoiding vulnerability is that our issues never get resolved.

 

That’s what we are doing every time we fear vulnerability and say “I’m fine” even though we are not.

 

This is what happens when someone upsets us but we choose to not make waves or confront the problem.

 

And this is what we allow to fester when we refrain from doing the difficult work of dealing with our emotions through self-reflection.


 

I’m guilty of this as much as anyone.

 

I have a terrible propensity for believing people can and should read my mind. That they should be aware when I am upset and they should know exactly what I need them to do to make things right.

 

This doesn’t bode well in relationships. People can hardly ever read my mind. Most of the time I just go quiet and no one will be any the wiser that what they did upset me.

 

Sometimes I get lazy and prefer to avoid dwelling on my negative emotions. Instead of asking myself why I am feeling upset and working out what I can do about it, I numb myself. I run in the other direction. I shut out those feelings.

 

But staying silent doesn’t make the problem go away. Numbing ourselves or pushing the negative emotion down deep doesn’t allow us to heal.

 

The problem just simmers away in the background, waiting dormant, ready to pop back up at any moment.

 

the-power-of-vulnerability

What we need is to understand the power of vulnerability.

 

Choosing to say how we really feel. Laying our cards on the table. Opening up and allowing ourselves to heal.

 

Daring to be vulnerable is a terrifying feeling. Like losing control of the car you are driving. Like being a bug under a microscope. Like leaning dangerously over the edge of a cliff.

 

There is no easy way to wander into vulnerability. It takes a great deal of work.

 

But the rewards of vulnerability are countless. The power of vulnerability is incredible.

 

When we find the courage to say how we really feel, we create an opportunity for real connection with others.

When we allow people to see our weaknesses, our fears and our biggest needs, we allow them to step into those places and help us mend ourselves.

 

If we learn to process our emotions, to express our feelings, to release instead of bottling them up, we can find a deeper sense of belonging.


 

We have to be braver about this.

 

We need to start tackling those shoots when they are still small. Instead of just brushing things off, we need to start dealing with our emotions.

 

We need to become more self aware so that we know our strengths and weaknesses. So we know what makes us so very frustrated or absolutely delighted. We have to take the time to get to know ourselves first.

 

And we need to ask for help when we feel sad or confused or lonely. It isn’t fair to expect people to read our minds and determine our needs.

 

I think now I realise the power of vulnerability. To be vulnerable is not to show weakness but to recognise our strength. To understand that saying how we really feel is one of the bravest and best things we can do.

How to be confident even when you feel afraid and unsure of yourself

how-to-be-confident

 

I wish I was one of those people who boldly jumped at the chance to try something new. I wish I felt the thrill of adrenaline and chased rampantly after adventure. I wish was braver, brighter and more exciting. I wish I knew how to be confident.

 

But time and time again, I am reminded that I’m not a thrill-seeker and confidence doesn’t come naturally to me.

 

The other day I went mountain biking for the very first time. I jiggled and bounced my way along the tracks, gripping onto the handlebars for dear life. The entire time, telling myself I was going to fall off or my brakes would fail and I’d be grievously hurt.

 

I felt ridiculous for going so slowly and even more ridiculous for having to stick to the kiddie track because the others sounded too terrifying.


 

It seems that whenever I try to do something new or scary, my mind is flooded with insecurities and I feel so awfully ashamed.

 

I feel frustrated with myself for being so afraid of everything. I feel guilty for slowing everyone else down. I feel stupid for needing to stop or for crying when I feel overwhelmed.

 

I churn these thoughts over and over in my head until I feel totally battered and bruised. As soon as I find the confidence to step out, shame pulls me right back.

This shame is so deeply entrenched in me I don’t even know where to look to begin excavating it.

 

I watch other people stride confidently through life and I wonder why I can’t do the same.

 

Why do I hold myself back and hinder my own progress? Why do I believe I am always going to fail? Why do I whisper the worst possible outcome to myself so that I walk in trembles rather than strides?

 

I’ve considered that maybe this is just a part of my personality or the way that I was raised. Always cautious and much happier to observe than participate.

 

But I think there is something more to it than that.

 

I think what I need to learn is how to be confident. How to hold onto that steadfast belief that I CAN do it if only I try. Shame has taken every smidgen of self-belief and squeezed it out of me.

 

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The reason my friends zoomed out on to the ice this past weekend when we went skating, while I held on fiercely to the railing is because they believed in themselves, and I didn’t.

 

They’ve done it before and they knew that they could do it again. They weren’t afraid of falling because they knew they were perfectly capable of composing themselves and getting right back up again if they did.

 

They had confidence in themselves.

 

I, on the other hand, saw the slippery ice and felt the thin blade on my shoes wobble beneath me and I was absolutely certain that I would fall straight on my face and make a spectacle of myself.

 

Every time, what trips me up is that little lingering voice of negativity. The one that tells me I can’t do it, that I’m not safe and if I try, I’m going to fail. It is the fear of falling that terrifies me and stops me from jumping in.

 

The bravest thing I can do is hear that voice but go anyway. Give it my best effort, show up even though I’m afraid, try even though I might fail.

 

I think that’s what we often get wrong about courage.

 

Confidence might be flashy, impressive or pretty to look at but courage usually isn’t. Most often, courage looks like simply showing up. Actually doing the brave thing, even though it scares us.

 

It reminds me of the lyrics from a song in ‘The Sound of Music’…

 

“I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again!
Besides, which you see
I have confidence in me!”

 

I want that so very much. Even if I look from the outside like I’m shaking. Even if I’m quiet as a mouse and the last to jump on my bike. Besides what you see, I want to have confidence in me.

 

I want to back myself. I want to give myself the credit I deserve. I want to feel proud of who I am and what I do.

 

I don’t want shame to cloud my vision or make me feel inferior anymore.


 

So I’m learning how to be confident…

 

I’m starting with working on my mindset. Replacing those negative thoughts with brighter ones. Telling myself that I CAN do it and I AM strong enough and I’m brave even just for trying.

 

Then I’m going to push myself to do even more. I’ll fill my life with more adventure, more excitement, more of the things that make me feel a little bit shaky but incredibly alive afterwards.

 

So that shame finally realises that I am not one to be messed with. I won’t let it stop me from living fully.

 

And lastly, no matter what, I won’t give up.

Even if it takes me three times around the ice rink holding onto the sides before I let go. Even if I have to hold someone’s hand the entire time or if I have to stick to the kiddie track and cry a little bit because I’m afraid.

 

I’ll keep on trying until eventually, I succeed. Until at last I find that confidence that’s buried deep within me.


 

I’ve let shame get the best of me for too long.

 

I have allowed it to throw shadows over my dreams and batter my self esteem until I’m too afraid to even try.

 

Regardless of how many times someone might tell you, you are brilliant or lovely or wonderfully talented, there is still that one voice which tells you otherwise.

 

But I think it’s time we start believing what everyone else says about us. We are brave, we are strong and we CAN do it if we will only try.

 

Besides what you see…I have confidence in me. 

Reasons for living: looking for the beauty in a messy world

looking-for-the-beauty

 

I’ve been feeling haunted lately. Overwhelmed by the frequent visits of the ghosts of anxiety and depression.

 

I’ve unlatched the windows and left the doors wide open. I’ve welcomed them in and made them tea. We’ve curled up on the couch together and I’ve let them talk me into the same old habits.

 

The moping. The dreading. The hiding.


 

I have always liked the quote by Rumi…

 

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

 

In this bittersweet world of heartbreak, delight, suffering and awe, finding this balance becomes a matter of survival.

 

I need to hold on to the sweet, the good, the lovely and the joyful. These things are like a life raft, the only barrier between me and the freezing waters below.

I must let go of the bitter, the sad, the unfair and the awful. Because holding them too long scorches my hands, blinds my sight and cripples my whole being.

 

It sometimes seems cruel to me that we were created with such inquisitive minds, yet left with so many unanswered and unanswerable questions.

 

I so often wonder why… but I am old enough to know now that there are somethings we don’t know.

Perhaps everything doesn’t happen for reason. Maybe some things just happen.

 

So as I’m wrestling with my confusion and trying to make sense of the mess I see around me, I have decided that I will refuse to let the darkness win. I won’t be overcome by sadness, emptiness or numbness.

 

Right now, I am choosing to live.  I am searching for beauty in the midst of this messy world, in the middle of my messy life and here’s why I think you should too…

 

Reasons to live:

 

One.

When you hold someone you love so much that you cannot help but squeeze them tightly. Willing them to never let you go. And that precious feeling of realising that they are squeezing you right back.

 

Two.

Sitting outside in the summer with clear, blue skies above you. The sun warming your back and penetrating its warmth deep down into your soul.

 

Three.

Going to the beach and feeling the salt cling to your skin. The way it leaves your hair matted and lingers on your tongue. The sand that squishes in between your toes, gathers in your towel and spreads absolutely everywhere.

 

Four.

Jumping into a bed covered with freshly washed sheets. So crisp and clean you feel like royalty.

 

Five.

Biting into a soft dinner roll that is still warm from being in the oven. Spreading butter lavishly across the bread and watching as it sinks in beautifully.

 

Six.

Staying outside to watch the dusk melt a glorious sunset into the dark night sky.

 

Seven.

Getting dressed up to go somewhere fancy. Feeling like a million dollars.

 

Seven.

Watching a delicate butterfly dancing lightly on the breeze.

 

Eight.

That fluttery, stomach-sinking feeling of talking to someone you like very much.

 

Nine.

When it’s cool in the winter and you can see your breath billow around you like smoke from a dragon.

 

Ten.

When you share a special smile with someone that only the two of you understand.

 

Eleven.

That floopy feeling you get when drinking cocktails on an empty stomach.

 

Twelve.

Bagels that are toasted, smeared with thick layers of cream cheese and boysenberry jam.

 

Thirteen.

Thawing out your fingers beside the fire after braving the icy wind outside.

 

Fourteen.

Napping in the afternoon and waking up feeling all cozy and yummy.

 

Fifteen.

Finding a cafe that makes a perfect cup of coffee. Inhaling the soothing scent and buzzing when the caffeine finally wakes you up.

 

Sixteen.

The satisfaction of eating something you grew all by yourself in your garden.

 

Seventeen.

Back rubs and side hugs.

 

Eighteen.

Coming home after a very long day and kicking your shoes off your tired feet. Putting on comfy slippers that melt beneath each step.

 

Nineteen.

Watching a thunderstorm roll in. Feeling the rumble of thunder echo in your chest. That violent terror that shakes you with every bolt of lightening.

 

Twenty.

Being out in the middle of nowhere on a crisp night and seeing millions of stars twinkling high above you.

 

Twenty one.

Finding that deliciously soft spot of fur behind a dog’s ears.

 

Twenty two.

Toasting marshmallows over a campfire so that they blister and crisp perfectly on the outside while remaining gooey through the centre.

 

Twenty three.

Fresh tomatoes that carry an earthy scent. Rosy-red cheeked and sweet to eat.

 

Twenty four.

Kisses that almost stop time. Making you forget where and who you are for a teensy tiny second.

 

Twenty five.

The fresh start of a new day, a new month and a new year. A blank page full of possibilities.

 

looking for beauty, life is beautiful, finding happiness, how to be happier, looking for the good, loving life, appreciating beauty, reasons for living, encouragement,

 

And on and on I go, counting my blessings and remembering the reasons for living. Remembering all the wonderful moments sprinkled throughout the mundane in my every day.

 

This world is vast.

 

It stretches on further than our minds can grasp.

There is so much to explore, so much to experience, so much to beauty we have yet to see.

 

I know that the bitter is very real. Burning our throats as it goes down. Pulling the curtains and blocking the sunlight. Turning our whole world upside down.

 

But let us not forget the sweet. Let us not become numb to its gentle caress. It is the sweet that makes life worth living.


 

There are so many resolutions we could make this year. So many promises to ourselves and to others.

But for me, there is only one resolution I will be making.

 

To search wholeheartedly for beauty in my everyday life.

 

To shut the door on anxiety and depression. To seek help when I need it and give myself grace in abundance.

To refuse to cling onto the bitter but instead, to remember the sweet.

 

A year in the life: the lessons I have learnt and the blog posts they inspired

a-year-in-the-life

 

I cannot believe we are already standing on the brink of a new year.

 

It doesn’t matter how long I have lived,  I am always taken aback by the way the days, weeks and years tumble into one another and how easily I lose track of them.

 

In my room I have a box of journals. Some incomplete. Some impossible to read due to the padlocks I insisted on using. Some filled with nothing but drawings, doodles and childhood dreams.

 

This summer I want to clean out the bedroom I used as a child but I fear it will be something of a challenge.

Mostly because of that pink, sparkly box filled with my journals.

 

I hate getting rid of things. I hate choosing what things are important enough to keep and what things hopefully won’t be missed.

 

I can’t bring myself to get rid of the journals. Etched on those pages, immortalised in those words is me. Me at age 8, 13 and 16. Me growing up, finding myself and becoming who I am.

 

I couldn’t throw away those journals any more than I could wipe this blog off the internet. The memories are too precious. The snapshots of my life too rare.

 

I’m so thankful for that sparkly, pink box. I’m so thankful for this wide, open space. This blog that enables me to pour myself out, fill you up, and keep who I was at that point in time, frozen forever.

 

Please indulge me with this one very long, final post. These are the lessons I have learnt this year. These are the blog posts I have written. This is the person I was in 2018.

 

A year in the life…

 

January:

The month you never got to see. I was in a mad scurry to get this new blog up and running.

I was also hunting for a new flat for us to live in, going to a billion flat viewings and feeling increasingly discouraged as our options grew slim!

 

Thankfully, I managed to find a perfect place that absolutely exceeded all of my expectations. And we made the place our own right before the end of the month.

 

February:

Hello and welcome to the new blog! I launched meganhallier.com and finally had an online space that matched the dream I had inside my head.

 

After moving into the new flat I decided this year I absolutely HAD to get to know my neighbours. So I took them some muffins and forged new friendships.

We got ourselves a dinner invitation with one of our neighbours who unfortunately didn’t speak English. This meal sparked my first post: The gift of our diversity.

 

I also started a new job working at a charity store which I fell in love with immediately. I got to work with clothes every day which was a dream come true!

 

But I also faced a secret battle with anxiety as my fear for the future became overwhelming. This inspired my second post: There is enough.

 

a-year-in-the-life

March:

This month I learned the importance of slowing down for the first time. I realised that for my three years at university I had been rushing, straining and striving which was no good for me.

 

I took comfort in the familiar motions of being in my kitchen which is why I wrote: I’m not in a hurry.

 

I went to a leader’s retreat for church and as I watched the most glorious sunset I began formulating the words for my post: fighting the fear of missing out.

 

But March also saw me truly wrestling with my faith for the first time. I lost sight of who God is and how He fits into my life but just as quickly as I abandoned Him, I found Him again. Which lead me to write: beauty for ashes.

 

April:

In every spare moment I had, I began to write. In the hour before work, in the silences between serving customers, in the evenings after dinner.

 

I discovered that once I released myself from the “lifestyle blogging” box I was free to write with abandon. To dig deeper, to push myself harder, to reveal more than ever before.

 

And after watching and falling in love with the movie ‘La La Land’ I wrote: Here’s to the ones who dream.

 

I also went to talk on the enneagram. Learnt I am a four. And got punched in the gut with the things my type does badly. For instance, constantly longing for the future instead of enjoying the present. Cue blog post: living in the now and the endless longing for the not yet. 

 

year-in-the-life

 

May:

As my friendships changed after college I found myself craving community. So I got more involved at church and more invested in my relationships.

A volunteer at the charity store was telling me about a quilt that her and her friends were making which inspired the metaphor in the post: Craving community and the cost of real connection. 

 

In May I finally graduated from college which was one of the proudest and happiest moments of my life. But around the same time I unfortunately was replaced at my job which broke my heart and so I wrote: That familiar feeling of a changing season.

 

My anxiety continued to simmer beneath the surface so I took the very brave step of going to see a counselor. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it inspired the post: Healing from the past; unraveling our stories and struggles. 

 

June:

In the dead of winter we went ice skating and my wobbly legs on the slippery ice encouraged me to write about: The fear and thrill of the fall. 

 

Around this time I was job hunting and managed to get a few interviews but the number of rejections began to get me down. The searching felt endless and so I tried to encourage anyone else in the same boat with the post: Facing up to the fear of rejection.

 

Then with my self esteem plummeting I did what any sensible person would and picked up a Brene Brown book. Her inspiring message about the power of vulnerability helped my pick myself back up and I wrote: Daring to be vulnerable and my fear of feeling joy. 

 

year-in-the-life

July:

I was so lost. Jobless and sad, I couldn’t manage to write and so the blog got placed on the back burner in favour of my mental health.

 

August:

I finally found a new job! Working as a retail assistant in a cafe. I was delighted to work again and keep myself busy but I felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential. So I wrote: Feeling like a failure…when life doesn’t go as planned. 

 

But I also learnt the importance of being myself and I managed to flip that feeling of failure on its head. And I wrote: Authenticity and finding happiness by being myself. 

 

One weekend, I watched the Netflix movie everyone was raving about- ‘To all the boys I’ve loved before’ and I decided to write my own blog post about my past loves: To all the boys I’ve loved before.

And it was this post that prompted me to finally admit (what was probably clear to everyone else) that I was in love again. This time it was mutual!

 

year-in-the-life

 

September:

I’ve struggled with all kinds of insecurities but the very worst one has always been around my weight.

 

This year I finally began to look my myself in the mirror and actually LIKE what I saw. But nevertheless, the bad days still came and the ugly insecurities still arose. So I wrote about my body positivity struggles in my post: My body, my home.

 

October:

I started to really enjoy my job and the people I worked with but I still found myself longing for something more. I figured that I spent far too much of my time wishing for another time and place.

And I wrote the post: When wishing for the weekend becomes a way of life. 

 

November:

After being moved to a new store and having to start all over again, I realised that my job was making me totally miserable and I so I finally plucked up the courage to quit!

 

I worked out my notice and walked out the door without looking back! And I wrote about it: Doing something brave even when it scares you. 

 

year-in-the-life

December:

After tossing and turning for months, feeling really unsettled and unhappy, I decided that perhaps it was my surroundings that were bringing me down. The big city got too much for me and I packed up all my stuff and moved back home.

 

But in doing so I was forced to say goodbye to some very important people in my life which is why I wrote: The painful realisation that growing up means saying goodbye.

 

And lastly as the year came to a close I found that I needed to leave old mindsets in the past and make some space for new things to come. So I wrote about: Minimalism; clearing the clutter and living simply. 


 

Too long didn’t read ( I forgive you!)…

 

Thanks for supporting my blog this year.

Thank you for every kind comment you’ve left, every like you’ve doted upon me and every minute you’ve taken to read the words I write.

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year will be wonderful.

 

If you have a second it would mean the world to me if you took my reader survey.  Every bit of feedback I get is unbelievably helpful for the future posts I will write. Because ultimately, I write not just for myself, but for you too.

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See you next year!