I had super high hopes for 2017, I literally thought it was going to be an absolute game changer year for me and that I’d come out of it a successful, bad ass b. Did it work out as expected? Not exactly. Was it a terrible year? Also, not really. It was actually a pretty decent year where I managed to accomplish a lot, just not as much as I had hoped. In summary it was very meh. I’m very grateful for where I am – my friends, my partner, my job, Skylish and all the opportunities I get to have. I’m definitely blessed and I know this, but lets just say the year fell short of expectations. However, seeing as my 2015 was crappy, 2016 was great and 2017 was meh – probability points towards 2018 being pretty lit. Anyways, without further ado, let me dive in with my Year in Review…
2017 marked my first full year in the “working world”
Work is tough ya’ll, let’s just get it out there. I thought nothing would come as close to the toughness of uni (where the exams stressed me out), but it’s a different level of tough for totally different reasons. It cranks up the stress factor and exemplifies the amount of discipline, efficiency and organisation you need to now have. It takes a while to get used to and I tell people that ask me that it’ll probably take a good 6 months to truly settle into your first proper job – it was around the 6 month mark that I started to feel that I knew what I was doing, was able to use more initiative, take more ownership, and could turn down a notch on my stress level just a tad. Overall, I always recommend investment banking/the finance industry in general as a good place to start your career for anyone who doesn’t 100% know what they want to do – because it equips you with so many good life skills – be it working hard, pushing yourself, client facing skills, and a host of other skills that you can take on with you whatever you next choose to do. The main thing that got to me when it came to work was the cycle of it all – Monday to Friday, weekends zooms past, living for pay day, living for the few days of holiday you have, it’s enough to drive you crazy especially when you’ve been used to so much constant change and absolute freedom prior; however I’ve found that when I set goals and work towards this (be it something in my job or an outside project), it stops me from feeling as though life is truly mundane.
2017 marked the beginning of my health & fitness journey
Since I was 18 one of my New Year’s resolutions has been to get “fit and healthy”, but actually it was more of a “lose weight before you have to get into a bikini, ok?” resolution. One thing I can say is that although I set myself this resolution last year, for the majority of the year I actually didn’t care about it. It was a pretty good feeling, I didn’t give a sh*t about losing weight or working out or eating healthily for the better half of the year, “summer body” left my vocabulary entirely – most weekends I’d end up eating chicken katsu curry for breakfast over Saturday and Sunday and consume 3/4s of a chocolate cake over the course of the week. But it wasn’t sustainable. I was sluggish, I lacked energy and I struggled to even breath at work with my clothes becoming so tight fitting. In July, when I couldn’t wear my graduation dress to a work gala (because it no longer fit), I thought it was about time to make a change. I was instantly drawn to doing things the unhealthy way at first – the way I’ve done things in the past – and that was just to really, truly, restrict my diet (I would never recommend!!). But this year I couldn’t do that – I work 12 hours a day, I need fuel. Finally, I decided to embark on a health and fitness journey – it wasn’t about the “summer body”, it was about the lifestyle. 6 months later, and I’ve actually kept it up! It’s not even a chore for me to work out anymore, it’s just what I do, and it makes me feel really good. Cleaning up my diet has done wonders for that feeling of sluggishness I used to always have – a chicken katsu curry for breakfast and weekly chocolate cakes suddenly don’t seem as appealing as they once did. To finally master this the right way after 4 failed years is why I mark this as my biggest achievement of 2017. I do want to do a longer post on this including a few things I’ve learned this time round (e.g. carbs are not the devil and weightlifting is lit), but I’m waiting to get a little further in my journey first.
In 2017, I got to give back
Over the past year or so, particularly since I’ve started working in time, it’s occurred to me that a few people seem to have this impression that I actually know what I’m doing. I’ve been invited to a number of coffees and had a number of calls now with people that just want advice – usually on i) getting a job and ii) balance that with other interests (such as this blog). I’ve had the pleasure of appearing on a number of panels, both at work and outside of work, I’ve also even been giving the opportunity to do full on speeches all about myself and what I’m up to. Heck, I was even named as a special guest for a dinner that I signed up to, to meet the special guests. It’s funny because in my head, I still have no clue what I’m doing. I’m just sort of blabbling my way through life at the moment and thus far things have worked out, but there is so much more left on the list of things I want to achieve. However, as you know part of my motivation behind this blog is really to empower and motivate my readers based on what I’ve learned and experienced over time, so it’s also great to be able to do this in a different form now.
In 2017, sh*t got real
Things had been pretty simple up to the point of full-time work, we all kind of just rode the education system and anyone also doing things outside of university/school were seen as really impressive for being different and developing themselves in other ways. But now that that system has ended – it’s really time for things to get real. I’ve barely been working a year and people are always asking me “what’s the next step?!”, “when are you going to buy your own place?!”, “are you going to take blogging full time?!” Let me tell you – it’s stressful af. Even thinking about it now makes my heart beat. We all sort of grow up saying “I’m going to be really successful!”, “I’m going to make it!” And now is the time to start laying the foundations to grow that as it’s entirely in our own hands, and the one thing I don’t want to do is fall short of my goals. However, one of my resolutions is to stop worrying so much and if you know me, it’s clear to see how this made it onto the list. Anything is possible with a bit of hard work and patience and this is definitely something I need to start better believing in.
2017 blogging achivements
- Having the opportunity to attend amazing events such as Quiz clothing’s Stratford store launch and David Clulow’s LFW pop-up (where I walked away with a free pair of D&G glasses!)
- Joining Flawless Shades on their #FSCollective panel
- Being interviewed across a few different platforms including Subomi Salami’s ‘Girl Power’ series and Black British Bloggers
- Joining Debenhams at the Jingle Bell Ball in a VIP box with unlimited food & drink!
- Being interviewed by Brun et Noir for their summer social media blogger campaign which included a behind the scenes professional video
- Continuing to work with amazing brands such as JORD (2x) and Honeyz (celebrating their 10th birthday on Instagram!) to name a few
2017 in lessons
- I learned that there’s more to life than getting good grades and going to a top university. Sure, these things are great and something to strive to (definitely something I strove to during my time), but it also breeds people into being elitist (once upon a time, me) and the truth is there’s so much more to life outside of this little bubble.
- I learned to stop trying to paint certain picture of myself and the image of a glamorous life – I can’t live my life for others, I need to live my life for me.
- I learned that I need to stop trying to convince others that I am X when they think I’m Y. I don’t need to prove myself.
- I learned to stop doubting myself – I can achieve what I want to achieve.
- I learned that sometimes life isn’t totally “fair”, but you just need to keep getting up if it knocks you down.
My 2018 resolutions
1. Start and launch my own business-on-the-side
2. Learn to be more rational, learn to worry less and learn to breath when I feel my emotions start to run away from me. Start meditating at least a few times a week to facilitate this
3. Start to focus on growing income streams outside of my monthly paycheck / yearly bonus
4. Become more organised with blogging and treat it like a job – I fell off towards the end of the year with this fact and I don’t want that to happen again
5. Be in a position, financially, where I’m ready start looking at my own property to buy
6. Grow my social media presence and at a minimum double my followers across platforms (we’re starting the year on c. 3.4k on Insta, 1.4k on Twitter and 1.1k on Bloglovin’ – let’s see where we end up!)
After 6 days straight of blogging – I am rewarding myself with a week off! Click on the links below to catch up on my 2017 re-wind, otherwise, I’ll be back on Jan 6th. Happy New Year all!