I can’t quite believe that 2018 is drawing to a close, another year gone by just like that. It’s become quite the tradition for me to write about the things I’ve learned in the last 12 months on my blog so, of course, I have to keep it up.
When it comes to the end of a year, I think it’s just as important to reflect back on the last 12 months as it is to look forward to the next.
Life is so full of ups and downs and there’s no doubt that this year has felt like yet another rollercoaster. But as it comes to a close, I want to sit back and reflect on what I’ve learned this year. I think some comfort can be found in looking back on the lessons you’ve learned and some might help to gain a little more perspective when times get hard.
So, here are just 18 things 2018 has taught me.
1. I put too much pressure on myself: I can’t count on one hand how many times my parents have told me that I put too much pressure on myself this year. I’ve always been a hard-worker, striving to reach the best of my abilities but this year, more than ever, I’ve seemed to put so much pressure on myself.
Whether it’s because I didn’t get the mark I was hoping for in one of my uni assignments or if a blog post didn’t seem to do as well as others, there are so many times when I need to take a step back, gain a little perspective and tell myself that I tried my best and that’s all that matters.
2. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be so rewarding: I’ve always been skeptical about stepping out of my comfort zone but this year has proven to me that even though it might be terrifying, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
3. I can do things once I put my mind to it: Sometimes, I doubt myself and seem to convince myself that certain things are impossible. The truth is, once I pull myself away from that mindset, the things I deem impossible become the opposite.
4. I actually quite enjoy being on the radio: I’ve been interviewed twice on BBC Radio Cymru in the last few months and despite shaking like a leaf both times, I really enjoyed the experience. Something I never imagined myself saying.
5. Self care isn’t selfish: I always feel guilty if I’m not doing something productive with my time and this has often meant that I’ve let self-care slip. I’ve definitely learned the importance of it this year though and there’s nothing selfish or time wasting about taking time to yourself. No one should ever feel guilty for putting time aside for themselves.
6. Access to concerts needs to improve for disabled people: In one of the first few months of this year, one of my friends and I tried to book VIP tickets to see one of our favourite artists next year but we came across so many challenges before finally being able to purchase them. Often, disabled fans are an afterthought and this really needs to change.
7. Ed Sheeran is amazing live: Speaking of concerts, on a more positive note, I had to mention Ed’s concert which I attended back in May, it still feels like yesterday. I always imagined he’d be amazing to see live but I wasn’t prepared as to how incredible he would be. I loved that night so much that I may or may not have booked tickets to see him again next year…
8. Being different isn’t a bad thing: I’ve tried to embrace my disability more than ever this year, from having the confidence to go out and about independently with my cane to talking openly about it in so many ways on my blog and social media. There are actually quite a lot of advantages to being different, it’s all about being unique and being able to embrace that.
9. I love learning new things: I started studying a BA (Hons) degree with The Open University this year and although it’s not been a walk in the park and I can’t deny that I haven’t enjoyed every element of it, it has been so interesting to learn new things about such a wide range of topics.
10. Studying from home can be lonely: I’ve felt the loneliest I’ve been since I was in sixth form in the last few weeks and whilst I still believe that a distance learning course was the best option for me, I can’t hide the fact that it can be extremely lonely at times especially since other work such as blogging and everything that comes alongside that is usually done from home as well.
11. Comparison can be harmful: Everyone preaches the importance of stopping comparing yourself to others and I’ve definitely learned how harmful comparison can be this year. The only thing it does is cause upset and distract you from what you want to achieve.
12. A mini break away with friends is the best kind of break: I went for a mini break to London with two of my closest friends back in August and even though the 16000+ steps on the first day took every last bit of energy out of me, that time with them was the best kind of medicine I could ask for.
13. You’re never alone: When I published my post about sight loss and isolation a few weeks ago, I had so much feedback both on here and social media with people saying how much they could relate to the post. Writing my blog has always highlighted how many people also experience similar things to me but I have never received such feedback on a post and it really proved to me how many people are in the same boat.
14. I need to start my Christmas shopping so much earlier: Boy have i been stressed with Christmas shopping this year! This is my reminder that I need to start it so much sooner next year. But knowing me, I probably won’t take my own advice, we’ll see.
15. More people are learning from my blog than I realise: When getting lost in my writing when putting a new blog post together, quite often, it doesn’t cross my mind that people might be able to learn a little something from them. It’s so surreal to me when people tell me that they found a certain post informative or that they could relate to something I’ve written. Even people I know in my life offline have said that they’ve learned so much more about sight loss through reading my blog and that, to me, is a feeling like no other.
16. You can never predict what life is going to bring: I never could have imagined what 2018 was going to be like at the beginning of the year, I never could have dreamed of some of the things I’ve been able to do and achieve this year. From being featured in Blogosphere Magazine to my first TV interview and being named as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK, it’s been a crazy year and it goes to show that you never know what’s around the corner.
17. Things do get better: When we come across challenges in our lives, I think it’s easy to lose focus of the fact that things do get better, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times, most often than not, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
18. There is so much more to achieve: The workaholic in me is always seeking out the next goal to aim for. The lessons I continue to learn help to push me forward and make me realise how much more there is to achieve. I’m ready to work even harder to reach where I want to be in 2019 and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.
What are some lessons you’ve learned over the past 12 months? Let me know as I’d love to hear from you!