I am writing this past the due date of my yearly posts. Yesterday was my 24th birthday, but as that number hasn’t really sunk in yet I decided to bend the tradition and show up two days late.

23 was a rotation like no other. It was undoubtably my biggest year yet, and although there are many things to be thankful for, it was also incredibly tough and challenging.

Honestly, I’m glad to see it pass. It was exhausting and heartbreaking and downright disappointing at times.

But there was also a lot of good stuff too.

James and I celebrated our second anniversary. Soren turned two. I missed my first Groovin in six years.

We travelled to New Zealand for 10 days. It was my favourite holiday yet. Everything worked out, we got to see a lot of wonderful things, and I attempted to snowboard.

Speaking of learning new tricks – I started my own business. I ran on a shaky mix of blind faith and gut wrenching terror, but the end result was pretty cool overall. I designed my own branding and website, and landed my first customer. I wrote content for five different websites and learnt first hand how much it sucks to have an invoice paid late.

I started listening to podcasts. Good ones, too. Offline became my bible of sorts, and although the interviews are with hugely successful women, they are raw and authentic in a way that I’ve been craving for so long.

Whilst I built my business, my blog suffered terribly. My weekly posting schedule went to the dogs, and I found that a lot of my inspiration was being sapped up between work, Rust and my design diploma.

I’m expecting that all to change now, as I no longer have my job at the design agency but I HAVE completed my Diploma of Graphic Design (woo hoo). I was pretty proud of myself with that one, although as most endings go, there was a definitive anticlimax that concluded with a bent certificate and no graduation ceremony. But I guess that’s what you sign up for when you study online, huh?

23 was the year I really struggled with my body. I wasn’t happy with how I looked, and had many teary days when I realised old pants no longer fitted. It’s a tricky thing, this body confidence. I felt like anytime I’d grasped it the feeling would slip away by the time I left the house.

I still live in Cairns, but we did move out to the beaches. We have a beautiful house with the ocean at the end of the road, but I became lazy during summer and forgot to visit the waves. Our rent is a lot more expensive, and I still want to move down south, but for now it will do.

James has started growing vegetables and has taken over looking after the plants. I have become somewhat negligent with my plant children, so the roles have definitely reversed from last year, but that’s okay too.

I’ve been feeling very disconnected from our lives here. At the start of the year we spent a lot of time up at the Tablelands, which I loved, but after New Zealand and moving and only having one day off together our adventures soon trickled down to monthly visits. We also didn’t make it to the beach house, which saddens me also. I still fantasise about booking it out for a week to write. Maybe 2019 will be the year I finally get to do that.

I’m still constantly in a struggle between the luxury of having our families nearby and living in a place that excites me. As aforementioned, moving this year wasn’t really a possibility, but it definitely cemented my need to move. I don’t want to spend my 20’s wishing I was at that gig or that gallery or could road trip to that place. I want to make it all happen.

I’ve grown so darn much this year.

I started seeing a councillor, who has done wonders to improve my mental health and break bad habits that I was previously trapped in. Although I was scared to approach official help, I’m really fucking proud of myself for doing so. I can happily say that I’m feeling the best I have in a long time, and it has benefitted my relationships tremendously in return.

Crying became a welcome release. I used to get so embarrassed and ashamed of being one of those ‘crying girls’. But the truth is I’m just not that tough. I’ve been through some shit, and have worked through it enough to acknowledge that crying is okay. It’s normal. It’s healthy. We shouldn’t brush our tears away and act fine when our world is in flames. Hell, we shouldn’t be ashamed to cry during a sad scene in a movie (my speciality this year). I’ve learnt to get over myself and accept that sometimes my shitty hormones want me to have a moment of ‘weakness’, if you will, and just sit with my emotions and cry. And damn, do you feel good afterwards.

I also got really clear on what I will and won’t put up with work wise. I learnt that no matter how good the job looks on paper, it isn’t worth the money if it makes you miserable every day that you’re there.

I surprised myself by leaving my first permanent job. It was scary, but I had to do it for the sake of my own happiness. I didn’t want to look back and resent myself for settling for something way less than I deserved.

I wrote my first short story in years. It started with a dream of the cane fields near our house, and evolved from there. I spent three hours of a Saturday night writing it by hand, and boy was it joyous. I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first, but I think I’ll publish it here next week then explore my options.

I found my favourite book in the world. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart was so perfect that I read it twice in the same year (unheard of for me). I’ve never related to a character so much, or been so moved by words on a page. I think I’ll read Alice’s tale yearly to remind myself of the magic of the sea, the outback and wildflowers. It gave me an appreciation for my home country that I’d never had before, and I still often daydream of working on a flower farm.

23 was my year of knowledge, and despite all the setbacks and diversions, I am happy to say I accomplished that and more. I threw myself into the unknown and spent hours googling and looking up tutorials on YouTube. I made plenty of mistakes, and adapted accordingly, and the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that confidence in yourself goes a long way.

23 was a year I’ll never forget, but one I am also happy to be bidding goodbye. Fingers crossed the next 364 days runs a little more smoothly for me.

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January 2, 2019

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