Blogmas: What I’ve Learned This Year

Last year I read so many posts on what lockdown taught people, and they were filled with the usual stuff – to appreciate people and what’s on your doorstep, how to bake, how to spend less or more effectively. All great things. This year has been a hard one in many different ways, and a catch up or two with friends this week had us looking back. Here’s what I’ve really learned over the past year. 

You have to take control of the parts of your life you can control

So many things have been out of our control for so long, and it’s that lack of control that many of us just can’t cope with. What I hated most about 2020 was that everything was dictated to us, and particularly my job just disappeared from my grasp. Furlough seemed to go on forever, and we didn’t know one month to the next if we would get paid, be kept on furlough, or if it would run out. 

The distance from work gave me chance to reflect on my job as a whole, and get off the hamster wheel that had been turning for a couple of years. I decided I wanted a new job, I wanted to be back working full time more than ever after so long on furlough and I wanted a new challenge. So, I got a new job. 

That was in my control, there was something I could do about it and I’m so glad I did. With the travel industry the way it is I don’t regret leaving, and it gave the peace of mind I hadn’t had for so long. Taking control of what you can gives you control over your own life, in some areas at least. 

A new way of working 

As well as switching jobs, I think we’ve all learned a new way of working. Flexibility has become huge, and although I have always had a degree of it because of what I do I really feel like I have it now because it’s so much more widely accepted. 

Emphasis has changed for most of us when it comes to work life balance and I think that’s great. I’m a lot better at prioritising and time management now than I ever was and that goes for my personal life too. I’ve learned to leave work at the office door when i leave or at the close of my laptop.

Friendships are stronger than ever

This year was definitely not as plain sailing as we’d hoped, even more so now with this bloody new variant. Life got pretty busy in the summer, and I know better than ever who my friends are, who I can rely on, and who is there every day, as well as any day I need them. 

We may go days or even weeks without speaking, but my friendships with the people in my life are stronger than ever. It’s been so nice the last few weeks to see people again that I hadn’t in so long, and it’s one of the best bits of the festive season. 

I really love Sundays 

The cliche that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content is very true for me. It’s my favourite day of the week and i’ve thoroughly enjoyed some of the Sundays I’ve had this year – even if i’ve not been off on Mondays.

You can’t beat a walk in the fresh air, followed by a cracking Sunday lunch and afternoon of sport or chill time. Even hangovers after a good day on the Saturday make me happy. They are no pressure days that we all need to recharge and a good Sunday makes me feel better for the week ahead.

The value of early nights

From October I’ve been heading to bed as early as 8pm some nights, watching something on netflix, putting on a face mask or literally going to sleep. 

When you really need it a good night sleep can be the best thing for you rather than staying up mindlessly scrolling or watching rubbish on tv for the sake of it.

Shared experiences really help

Like everyone there’s been some low points for us this year, and for people close to me. Seeing how much people come together in the hard times and are there when you need them, having been there themselves has been amazing. 

How to look after my money

I’m terrible at this, but I have got a lot better at budgeting and planning ahead with my money this year. I have resisted the urge to impulse buy a lot more, and have saved more as a consequence.

I really miss travel – especially at Christmas

In hindsight it’s probably a good thing we had nothing booked for this Christmas but I have really missed a festive city break this year. I’ve planned about four for next year as a result.

Overall I miss abroad travel a lot now, and have big plans for next year. I’ve really enjoyed our glamping trips this year but I need a sunny beach holiday in 2022!

The importance of sticking to your guns…

…especially if you believe you are right. Sometimes people go off the rails, behave differently, change who they are and aren’t the friends you once thought. I’ve seen this first hand over the last couple of years and there comes a time where you can’t waste any more time or energy on toxic situations.

Especially if they aren’t helping themselves and drama follows them around. It’s sad to see but not worth your happiness for people who don’t even care about their own. 

How important home is

We were kicked out of our flat earlier this year as the landlord went bankrupt due to covid. It was a really stressful time as it’s almost impossible to get anywhere at the moment, and we didn’t want to settle for something we didn’t like. So we moved home. It doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes you just have to go home and we’re lucky to have incredible parents who support us to the end of the earth, until we can get our own home again hopefully in the new year. 

I’ll be doing a highlights of the year post between Christmas and New Year, but just thought I’d share some early reflections. Happy last weekend before Christmas hope it’s festive! 

Other posts you might like:

Blogmas: Easy Christmas cocktails to make at home

Blogmas: Winter walks for between Christmas and New Year

Blogmas: How to look after your well-being at Christmas

Blogmas: Christmas at Beamish

Blogmas: South Causey Inn Christmas Market

Blogmas: The most festive bars in Newcastle

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