Every year during the holiday season, I always find myself reflecting on the past twelve months and how I’ve grown, what I’ve accomplished as well as what I know I want to work on for the following year. Some find comfort in writing New Year’s Resolutions, others may think they’re a bundle of bunk – but for me, I always like to compile a list of things that I’ve learned about myself in the past year. It helps me to stay on track, and sometimes my lists contain bits of memories that I’ll cherish for years to come.
Whether its lessons learned, new things tried or risks taken, I’ve found each thing on this list to be rewarding in some way – if it’s very small or even if the reward is bigger that one could imagine.
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This year started off with one of the best experiences of my life. I moved halfway across the world and found myself in the English countryside. I can’t even begin to describe the immense amount of joy that this little village brought me, along with many opportunities as well. This was the place that taught me more about myself than I thought I could ever learn – I was awestruck on multiple occasions, brought to tears on others. I can easily say that this was one of the best experiences of my life, and one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to say.
I have a bit of a hard time allowing myself to be vulnerable with people – I tend to be rather guarded, and sometimes a little difficult to get to know. However, this year I’ve learned that opening your heart to people – being vulnerable, letting people in, opening to the possibility of love and taking risks can be incredibly fulfilling.
Travelling alone isn’t as scary as it’s made out to be. Some of my favourite trips this year have been ones that I’ve taken by myself. I’ve met some wonderful people, and made some incredible memories – even finding a street band in Paris that I’d first heard four years ago.
I’m finding what my passions are. Despite my lack of posting on the blog this month – this year, I’ve really fallen in love with blogging as well as the creative process and behind-the-scenes work that keeps Monochrome Minimalist running.
This one isn’t a lesson, but more of a realization. Time isn’t always guaranteed – thus, take every moment you can to spend time with the people that you love and that bring you joy.
One thing that’s really stood out to me over the past year is just how much I value creativity and the ability to be creative in multiple aspects of life. Creativity is so multifaceted, and I’m learning to love every form in which it comes.
After attending London Fashion Week this past spring, I’ve been drawn to more experimental fashion choices – don’t get me wrong, I’m still dearly attached to my monochrome colour palette, but I love the idea of playing with new textures and silhouettes. I’m learning that perhaps dressing a bit out of the box isn’t so bad.
I’ve learned that I don’t very much like airport goodbyes. They are a lot harder than the movies let on. And let me tell you, the hellos beat the goodbyes by a mile 1000x over.
Coming from someone who tends to not be extremely emotional, I’ve learned this past year that denying emotions isn’t the healthiest of practices. It’s alright to feel and experience emotions strongly, and it’s important to recognize why you’re feeling certain emotions. Taking care of yourself should be a priority, and this year I’m going to make certain that I’m taking time out of my day to recharge and listen to what my mind and body need.
SKINCARE. This year has seen the most positive changes in my skin and overall complexion. I really enjoyed tailoring my lifestyle and diet to things that my skin reacted well to – which means not as many beige foods (sad day) and a bit more veg every day. Along with my diet, I’m also learning which products are reacting well to my skin and which products do not. I’m starting to keep up a daily skincare routine to make the most out of these products with hope for even better complexion results in the upcoming year.
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Along the lines of self-care, feet come to mind. Here’s why – as someone who lives in heeled shoes (pretty much 24/7), my feet tend to hurt a bit more often than not. Because of this – I’ve learned that splurging on a comfortable pair of slippers to slide into once the stilettos come off is by no means overrated. Also, cozy socks are a definite must.
It’s alright to take a moment to have some quiet time. You don’t always need to be around people all the time – it’s not being antisocial, sometimes it’s just needing to recharge.
On the flip side, it’s also okay to want to be around people all the time. Personally, I’m an extrovert – which means that I get my energy from being around people, even if it’s sitting in a mellow little coffee shop and catching up.
Over the past year, I’ve travelled to more countries than I have over the course of my life. In doing this, travelling has become an essential part of who I am – without it, I feel a bit on edge, like I’m missing a part of myself. There’s something to be said for feeling attached to new places as well as old favourites – for example, Paris and London are two places that I could never tire of. I’ve learned to really embrace this side of myself – the never satiated wanderlust, the keenness on finding new places to fall in love with and the newness of it all.
One of my favourite things that I learned this year, was how to scout out really good food stops no matter where you are. Whilst searching “Good Food Spots” is a common practice, I’ve found that using the location service on Instagram and popping in what you’re looking for can be quite handy. I’ve found some of the most charming restaurants that way. (I’m looking at you, Farm Girl.)
Keeping the positivity in your life is one of the most grounding lessons I’ve learned in 2017. You’ll meet people that come into your life that may be detrimental to your happiness and success – but cleansing the toxic people from your life doesn’t need to be negative. Instead, focus on the people that make your life a little brighter – the positivity that they bring to your life is always something to be grateful for.
Be you. Authentically, truly, 100% you. If that means dancing like a total dork in the car every time a Justin Timberlake song comes on, telling people you miss them and care about them just because, travelling across the world because it makes you happy, or spending time with the people you love – do it. There’s no better time than the present to fully embrace who you are.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Dr Seuss
I really hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post. It’s been a bit soul bearing, but I think that a bit of that every now and again can be a good thing. I also just wanted to thank all of you for your support over the course of the past year. Monochrome Minimalist wouldn’t be around without the love and support that comes from you all. Have you learned any valuable lessons in 2017? I’d love to hear what they were – let me know in the comments! xxx