I should probably be thinking about writing this post next month but I’m hoping to have lots of exciting Christmassy things to share in December so I’ve decided to do it a little early.
As the end of the year draws near it’s good to reflect back on the last 12 months and think about all the things you’ve achieved. We can often get bogged down with the negatives and the ‘have nots’ forgetting all the things, however big or small we’ve achieved or can be grateful for. As this has been a pretty big year of change for me I wanted to really think about 2018 and write about those things that stick out in my mind.
Surprisingly I’m not going to start with the obvious one, I’ll get there though I promise. The first is something I’m grateful for, my family. Yes, a cliché but it’s true. I have the best support network I could possibly ask for, without question my family are there for me 100% and have been my safety net for years. When I first started thinking about leaving London (at first I wasn’t set on Paris, I toyed with America but…Trump and visas are insanely difficult, and then I dabbled with the idea of Dubai but…I’m pale AF and would have to spend everyday in the shade) they didn’t poo poo the idea or try and talk me out of it. They of course, asked questions and threw up potential hurdles but more than anything they supported me and were excited for me. I’m lucky to have lived a very comfortable life and this was probably going to be the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt. However, I knew that they had my back. I’m one of those people who still calls my mum most days (read every day) and who picks up the phone to their parents as soon as they have a question about pretty much anything. I trust their judgement and advice above anyone else’s. I’m the youngest of three and both my sisters supported my decision to move too. One of them even let me live with her, her husband and my nephews for four months before I left so I could save money. It was even harder to say goodbye after seeing them every day but I’m super excited to go back in just under a month.
The next thing I’m grateful for is my health. Again, sounds like another cliché right? But for me this one is pretty personal. Over the last two years members of my close family have had a number of different health issues. It’s not something I’m going to go into but let’s just say it’s made me appreciate both having them and being healthy myself. It’s also made me want to be more active again which is one of the reasons I’ve committed to exercising at least three times a week…ballet every Saturday and then I’m trying to run at least two other days as well. When in Paris I walk as much as possible too, both to get those steps up and to see more of the beautiful city! Your health can change so quickly so it’s good to try and look after yourself. Exercise is also pretty damn good for your mental health as well, as I’ve mentioned before I definitely notice the difference in how I’m feeling when I exercise to when I don’t.
In addition to great family I also have great friends. I’m not someone who feels the need to have loads of friends and I’ve got quite a small inner circle of very close ones. They have all been really supportive of my decision to move and I can’t wait for them to start coming to visit! Quite a few of them have/are making big changes in their lives this year too so I’m excited to support their journeys and follow what they’re doing! Sometimes receiving a message from a friend or having a quick FaceTime is all you need when you’re missing home. Receiving letters etc. around my birthday made it even more special, it’s like having little pieces of home here with me in France. I have to say a huge thank you to all my friends and family, it would have been so much harder without you!
Next up is the big one. The decision to quit my job and move abroad. This is without doubt my biggest achievement of 2018. It’s something I’d thought about for a while and known I always wanted to do at some point. At the end of 2017 something just clicked and I knew this had to be the year. It was a now or never feeling and I didn’t want to be left with the question what if? I was lucky that I had a very supportive and understanding manager. We’d discussed that I wanted to do this at some point and she completely understood that now was the right time for me. It was a tough decision as I’d been at the company for 6 years and had gone to work there straight out of university. I didn’t know any different in my ‘professional’ life. As when anyone talks about leaving and going to live somewhere else I’m sure there were people (friends, colleagues etc.) who thought I wouldn’t actually do it but once I’ve made my mind up that’s it. I’m making it happen. So I set the wheels in motion, took a month off after finishing work and got to sorting out the next chapter of my life. You can read more about how I came to be where I am now here. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for going through with it. Good for me.
I’ve been working on not being so hard on myself. I’ve always been over-critical and set high expectations for myself. This can then often lead to me feeling like I’ve failed when I haven’t achieved what I wanted in a certain time frame, or don’t look a certain way I want to or well you get the picture. I actually think moving here is forcing me to me kinder to myself. I’m in a (literally) foreign environment, nothing is familiar and I’m learning a new language. If I don’t ease up on myself I’ll go crazy. I’m slowly learning that it’s ok not to understand something straight away or to find something difficult. This is a small achievement, but an important one. It’s something I’ve seen a lot of people writing about as well, it’s nice to be nice to yourself. Give yourself a break, life is hard enough as it is. Don’t make it even harder for yourself.
Starting my blog has definitely been an achievement. I was really nervous when I made the first post public and then shared the link on my Instagram and Twitter pages (not that I have tonnes of followers 😂). I was really scared of being judged and that people would think ‘oh great not yet ANOTHER blog’ BUT the main reason I decided to start it was so I could document my journey and so that friends and family could follow along with me. I also knew it would make me get out and explore more otherwise I wouldn’t have much to talk about! I think it’ll be interesting to look back at the early posts once I’ve been here for a year. It’ll be a great way to remember all the different experiences I’ve had and see how much I’ve (hopefully) progressed!
I could probably go on and on but I’ll leave it there. Above are the things that come immediately to mind, and each are fairly important in their own right. 2018 has been an exciting year of change and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring. I can’t believe it’s almost December already, as you can see from the photos I’ve been enjoying seeing some of the Christmas decorations on display here in Paris.