2017 wasn’t the worst year that I’ve ever had, but it was hard. It was hard emotionally, hard physically and super hard mentally. I started off 2017 positive, started a bullet journal and believed I had the whole year mapped out ahead of me and in order. But, then life happens.

I didn’t get my fitness routine back on track which was one of the hardest things I had to accept and learn to be okay with the fact that it just didn’t work out. I started off the year so well by being active, going to the gym, tracking my sessions, eating well etc. but work snowballed and my stress levels soared and I dropped the ball with gym. I tried more than once to move to Paleo eating again, and failed every time. The longest I made it eating that clean was two weeks, and just after the detox headaches finally ended, I slipped up once after a bad day and it was downhill from there. I discovered a new class at gym called Pound, and fell in love with it! I made a point of making sure I was there every week, as I got more tired from work, I didn’t have the stamina for the class and I eventually stopped going. I set out to start doing Parkruns and do the FNB 10k in September which I signed up for the second year in a row (didn’t go to the first), but never got my training shoes on for Parkruns and in the end never trained in order to do the FNB race.

I had a cancer scare in February last year. I remember walking out of the doctor’s office, climbing into my car, driving to Nicolway, parking downstairs and phoning my ex and breaking down telling him what the doctor had just told me. No one wants to hear that there are “abnormal cells” and you need to see a specialist for further tests. I hadn’t gone for a pap smear in years and my doctor recommended I have one early last year. Ladies, you need to do this annually, regardless if you are sexually active or not. Just go, it’s a quick test, and if you are nervous with a male doctor, go see a female doctor. You don’t need to see a gynae for a pap smear and can ask your GP to do it. It’s really worth the peace of mind to go. I was referred to a gynae at Sandton Medi Clinic who is amazing, and it turns out she is specialising in cancers, so she was the best person for me to see. She did a biopsy and while discussing the test with me after my check up, I immediately mentally started thinking about the worst and fired off questions about what next, what happens, am I going to be okay? She calmed me and let me know she would let me know as soon as she could what the results were. I got the results a few days later, and one evening the Doctor left a voicemail to let me know that my biopsy tests were back and I was okay. I can’t tell you the relief I felt after I got that voicemail! I have to go back for a check up in February 2018 and believe me I will not miss that appointment. After the gynae check-up I had the HPV vaccinations (there are three shots you need over a few months). The vaccinations don’t prevent Cervical cancer, but they do help prevent it to an extent. You don’t need to see a doctor for a script for these vaccinations, and can have them done at a pharmacy like Clicks or Dischem. There is also no age limit, so at 34 last year I had them done and am really happy I did. A gynae recommended I have them 8 years ago and I never went because they were pricey. Again, they are totally worth it so save a bit and go for them for peace of mind.

Work wise, things were rough and I burnt out in the first half of the year. I was booked off a few days again and slept for what felt like forever. This is a recurring pattern for me and I have to practice more self love in 2018 and the future. It’s so important to make sure you unwind, whether that involves going to the gym, going for a walk in your neighbourhood, watching a movie, reading a book, or seeing your friends. If you are a perfectionist like me you like everything to be 100% always, nothing less, and you often can’t let go and would rather do every task yourself so that you can have it 100% always. Well, key learning from last year was that this is not possible or realistic. As much as I would like everything to be perfect it can’t always be, and this not only applies to work, it applies to life too. I started being okay with a task being only 90% or 80% okay and focussed on getting the really important ones 100%. A wise lesson I learnt from reading the book Scrum last year is how to work smarter and more productive. If you haven’t read this book, do yourself a favour and read it. It’s confirmed many of my beliefs and taught me valuable concepts.

My depression reached its worst level ever last year. If you didn’t know I have depression, I suffer from that as well as anxiety and I’ve definitely become more open talking to people about after Chester Bennington’s passing. I remember scrolling through Twitter one evening and suddenly seeing the news headlines about his suicide. Friends of mine who know that is my favourite band also started sending me the links as they were equally in shock. I remember feeling numb seeing the posts and reading the news. Chester’s music with Linkin Park had helped me through so many rough times in my youth when I was in a dark space. Chester did a radio interview before his suicide in which he discusses his struggle with depression and I have watched this video many times because I can relate to it so much. I overthink things so much at times that I feel like the “cogs” in my brain are running in overdrive as I’m over analysing things that are causing me huge anxiety. There are days when I don’t want to leave the house, put on make-up, see people, or put on a smile and tell everyone that things are okay because it’s hard. But I have days when I feel happy, calm, and really am happy.

My struggle last year was finding a good balance between the two. I’ve been torn on whether to write a post about how I have dealt with my depression and anxiety, and honestly haven’t had the courage to put it out there. I admire the amazing people who have done posts and opened up to strangers. Your posts helped us – thank you.

Okay, that’s all the dreary stuff. Part of finding balance in life is not getting stuck in a dark place, but also celebrating the exciting stuff that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I finally got another tattoo. I discovered a show called Ink Master and binge watched a season of it. I was fascinated by the artists, designs, types of tattoo art etc. and decided to get my next tattoo done for my birthday. There is a tattoo studio in Kramerville that was around the corner from my office and I had quietly been stalking them for months to see the artists and their work. I never got their for my birthday, but after Chester’s death decided it was time to go. I have two roses tattooed on my arm, and I haven’t told many people the symbolism, but in summary, the two roses are my two sides. The colourful one is when I am my happiest and feel normal. The black rose is the days I feel lost, alone and dark. I have always wanted a full sleeve on my right arm with flowers, and this was the second flower addition to my arm I already have cherry blossoms on my inner bicep which symbolise the first day I left hospital after I almost died from Meningitis – I left the hospital on the first day of spring when the cherry blossoms were on the trees in the hospital garden outside my room. Bianca at Dakota Lee did my tattoo and she was absolutely amazing! I took many photos that day and will do a post about tattoos. I plan on having many more flowers tattooed on my arm by this talented lady in future.

I met some really amazing friends last year who I believe will be in my life for many years to come. Social media and my job  brought some truly special people into my life who make me laugh, share in my interests, and teach me many so much. I look forward to having many more adventures with you all!

I started decluttering my flat. I am a terrible at letting things go because they make me feel safe but I reached a point last year where I needed to make space in my life by moving things out my flat and cleaning. I can’t explain the thrill I get from getting rid of things I don’t need and creating space in my flat – and my life. I’ve also enjoyed giving these items to other people who can enjoy them. I’m going to continue decluttering this year and make sure I only have items in my flat which I really need and this applies to make-up, books, clothes, stationery etc. I want space to breath and decluttering my home has given me that.

I wrote three articles which were published online on Media Update and ITweb. I’ve been a ghost writer for a few years and writing under someone else’s name which was scary and intimidating at first became second nature for me. Then came the opportunity to put content out there from my perspective and clicking send on what I had written was nerve-wracking! There are so many people in SA that write marketing content and I really admire them for their advice, predictions etc.  When the articles went live I got some good feedback from readers and I my confidence in my own opinion on marketing grew. Many people have no idea what I do for a living, so if you don’t, I am a Marketing Manager 🙂

 

I travelled to Dubai in December which was super impulsive and worth it. I like planning months in advance and having my spreadsheet ready with all my planning documented. Dubai was a little different in that my ex who moved there recently said I should come visit and I decided to go. I’d never been to Dubai and wanted to see what it was like an see him for Christmas. He is the one person I talk to every day (… it’s complicated) and after seeing all of the cool photos he had sent me, I wanted to explore. I was also exhausted at the end of the year and really needed some time away from everything here. After sleeping for the first two days I explored there and took photos of some of the highlights. I’ll do a post soon on this as it really was a new experience for me being there.

I got a new job. This really was the one event last year that made me burst with excitement. I had been unhappy for a variety of reasons in my old job and needed a new adventure. Preparing for the interview for the new job revived this energy and excitement inside of me that I had forgotten over the last year or so. When I felt that I knew I was ready for change! I am a Marketing Manager at one of the top-tier international oil and gas companies and I am filled with pride and excitement every time I go into the office. I can’t wait to start creating amazing marketing content for them! I usually move every two years, but I see my future with them being for many years. The day I walked into their offices, I felt like I was at home.

Okay, so this started off as a short post and I ended up rambling, and it’s way past my bed time. To finish up this post, my main theme for 2018 is self love. I need to look after me more. Funny how my word for 2017 was “Me” and it didn’t quite go as planned?!? I know I can’t change everything at once which is hard for a control freak like me, but it’s something I need to accept. So, I am taking baby steps, and changing one thing after the next.

The first step I took was getting to my first Parkrun last Saturday. This was something that has been on my to-do list for over 2 years and finally getting there was exhilarating! My brother who is my fitness buddy went with me and we walked the 5 km route because we aren’t fit enough to run it. The heat was killer, but being around so many other people was fun, being outdoors was relaxing, and being active released all the endorphins inside of me that make me happy. I am super excited for the next one this upcoming weekend and my goal is that in the next 6 months I will be running the 5 km and no longer walking it. And, in 12 months I’d like to be running 10 km.

The second step was leaving work on time and hitting the gym. I have managed that and even though gym is hard right now, I am enjoying pushing myself and feeling the stiffness set in the day after a good work out. The gym is right across the road from my new office so I really don’t have an excuse not to go! Also, I am going to start rocking it out in Pound again!

Next up on my list is being creative. I want to make the tassel earrings I bought all the supplies for, paint some new canvasses and learn how to crochet more. But, before tassel earrings, painting and crochet, I want to blog again and get it regular. My depression killed my creativity last year and left me feeling super uninspired to write or post on my blog. My confidence had taken a huge knock and I didn’t feel my content was good enough anymore. My blog was also hacked twice last year! TWICE! I didn’t know if that was a sign to just give up or to start afresh. Darryn helped me sort my blog out and he has been an absolute saviour! If you have any blog problems you can mail him here. My blog has a new look and I have a new angle for it for 2018. I want to change my content for my posts quite a bit so that it’s more me and less what everyone else is doing. One of the vloggers I admire the most for her content creation is Hey Claire. Claire’s content has inspired me hugely over the last 6 months. She makes me want to make shit hot, authentic content – authentic being the main differentiator. So that is my new way forward for this year. If you don’t know who Claire is, check out her YouTube channel. She is absolutely amazing!

I neglected my blog last year and I didn’t want to post content just for the sake of posting it and making sure there was something up every week so that I could say I had posted something. This year I am going to plan posts, but if I don’t get to them it’s okay. I’m going to stop worrying that my content isn’t superb enough to stand out from the other content out there, and am instead going to make sure I get back to the real reason I started this blog – to share interesting content with you about a variety of things. Not just beauty.

If you’ve read all the way until the end, thanks 🙂 I appreciate it.

Have a great 2018.

Plum

xxx

P.S. My 2017 was awesome thanks to my child, Jack, who made me feel so loved and adored. He is everything to me!