19 lessons from 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive season and are getting ready to settle back into normality, whatever that means to you. The period between Christmas and New Year has always been weird, but this year it’s felt even more so as someone with work commitments outside of her regular 9-5 that can’t just be forgotten until I’m back in the office.

With that being said, there are a lot of things that have changed for me over the past 12 months and as I always like reading these ‘yearly roundups’, I thought I’d write one for myself. So here is a list of all the things 2019 has taught me. If the year has taught you anything special, leave me a comment as I’d love to hear.

  1. You are never not worthy of seeking professional help
    When I first thought about reaching out for help with my mental health last year, I felt so guilty because who was I to ask for this? I could function fine, get through the day with a smile on my face. I could manage this myself right? This year I learned that if you are able to get help, you should do it. You are never ‘not sick enough’ or whatever else your brain might be telling you.
  2. It’s okay to strive for ‘perfection’, but it’s okay if you don’t get there
    This is a lesson that I learned particularly through my university work. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the thought of getting the best score possible and forgetting we’re actually here to learn and to improve.
  3. Travel is one of the most amazing ways to get to know yourself, as well as the world around you
    I was lucky enough this year to travel to Europe with my other half. Being an anxious person, it can be really hard for me to enjoy new experiences, but pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and having someone with me who is very grounded, is what made the experience so meaningful.
  4. Your anxiety isn’t you
    I don’t know if I have fully absorbed this lesson yet, but it’s definitely one I’ve been learning all year. In case you have the same problem, here is something my therapist said to me. “Your anxiety is not you, it’s something separate that is choosing to take up space in your mind. You can let it live there rent free, or you can fight it and reclaim your space.”
  5. You don’t have to climb the whole staircase, progress always starts with a single step
    I find this so difficult because when I start something new, I want it to be done right away and I want it to be perfect. Taking on a lot of creative projects this year, often simultaneously, has taught me that sometimes just taking that first step is enough. And then you can take another and another, and perhaps it’ll take a little longer, but you’ll sleep a little better.
  6. Reading is the only way to get better at writing
    Everyone says this, and that’s because it’s true. Over the last few years I really let my reading fall behind but this year I managed to read 22 books, as well as lots of picture books. The effect it’s had on my storytelling abilities is unmatched.
  7. You can write a frickin’ book!
    Maybe the most tangible lesson of the year, I wrote the first draft of my book. After years of telling myself ‘maybe you’re just not meant to write something long’ I squashed that idea and look what happened.
  8. People care about what you have to say, especially when you’re being truthful
    I think one of the biggest fears a lot of us have is what if we share, and nobody cares. But in my experience, as long as you’re being honest to yourself, that in itself is a kind of power that nobody can ignore.
  9. Opening up is one of the most beautiful ways to heal yourself, because it heals those around you too
    Linking to the previous lesson, something I wasn’t expecting to happen when I opened up was to have people coming to me and saying ‘me too’. As a society there are so many things we don’t talk about, mental health and grief being big ones, and by being able to talk about it yourself, you give others the permission to do the same.
  10. Making connections is a really valuable way to improve your work and mindset
    I’ve found, especially in the creative field, that having other people around you who are going through similar things is just so beneficial, find your tribe.
  11. Spending time with small humans really makes you appreciate the little things again
    There’s nothing like a toddler getting excited about a blueberry or bubbles that can bring so much instantaneous joy. Little ones remind us of what it is like to play for the sake of it and I think that is just such an incredible thing to relearn.
  12. It’s always worth asking the question
    My teachers have always said “Katherine asks a lot of questions” and I will forever endeavour for this to be the thing people remember about me. If you don’t ask, then you will never know and I think that is a real tragedy.
  13. Other people might have more faith in you than you do, believe them and learn from them
    When people tell you they love something you’ve created or that you’re good at your job, just believe them. Seeing your work from their eyes, you’d probably say the same thing.
  14. The world is a sad place sometimes, but it can also be pure magic
    This year has been an incredibly hard one for so many people. It’s hard to be happy and not feel guilty because everything is crumbling, but it’s those little moments of happiness and of hope that will save us. My favourite phrase this year has been ‘casual magic’. Find it, create it.
  15. Money isn’t everything
    This is an obvious one, but I think it’s always a good reminder. Yes, money can provide experience, but it’s nothing without genuine human connection.
  16. Animals make everything better
    Another obvious one, but as my fur babies get older I find myself being even more thankful that I have been lucky enough to love them. There is nothing like the unconditional love of an animal to make you feel whole.
  17. Everyone has a story to tell, listen
    I’ve learnt this as a journalist, but also as a friend and family member. We see what other’s want us to see, but there is always a story lying just beneath the surface and everyone deserves the chance to tell it.
  18. You are never too old to learn new things
    This is a lesson I’ve learned especially from my Mama, who is absolutely kicking ass at university and will soon be on her way to a uni experience in Nepal. You are never too old to try something you’ve always wanted to do. In 2020, I’m starting ballet – what are you going to do?
  19. Finally – you can learn from the last year, the last decade, heck the last lifetime, but it doesn’t have to define you
    There’s countless pressure to have New Years Resolutions, New Decade Resolutions, to continuously be better than you were. Improvement is great, but it’s also completely fine to just sit back and do nothing for a while, you deserve it.

Chat soon x

4 thoughts on “19 lessons from 2019”

  1. What a fantastic blog Kat. I love reading your work. Shades of me in what you said; we are all different, but the same too.

  2. Kat it is such a pleasure following your writing journey. Your blogs and articles are interesting and inciteful, some have made me cry, some have made me laugh, .all have made me proud.
    Write bravely, write well.
    Your very proud Mumma

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