Oh how the times do change. This year has been great. Ok, so I don’t have the job I love (yet!), I didn’t win the lottery or get engaged to Richard Armitage (yet!). But I can honestly say that 2011, you have been good to me. Before we hit 2012, here are 12 things that 2011 taught me:
1. Things can only get better. This time last year I thought that things could only get better because they couldn’t get any worse. I know that things can only get better in 2012 because the foundations have been laid in 2011 for a great year and a great future.
2. Good times and bad times make a friendship. They say you learn who your true friends are when the shit hits the fan. But you also learn who really cares when things start coming up roses. Also you can stay friends with someone, even if they have buggered off to Australia. In-depth conversations about Buffy the Vampire Slayer are go!
3. Having direction brings positivity. This year I finally realised what I wanted to do with my life. Or, more accurately, how I wanted to pursue it. In only a matter of weeks I will be starting a course, training as a make-up artist. This thrills and terrifies me in equal measure.
4. Never go back. Whatever old feelings might come crashing back, the past doesn’t change. Always move forward. Like a shark. Let it go and you open yourself up to much cooler things.
5. Personal style is important. I always used to say that I didn’t really care what I looked like, that what was inside was what mattered most. At the same time I didn’t want to look like everyone else. But this year I took control of my appearance. I threw away every item of clothing that I didn’t like, didn’t suit me, didn’t wear. I started to think about what I wore, how I did my hair. I started to think about what I bought. I bought and wore only things I loved – both new and vintage. It’s amazing how much a bright outfit that you feel really good in can make the day start in such a great way.
6. Dancing is essential to life. Not only is the best work out ever – I know this because I ache the next morning – it puts you in the best mood! No matter how crap your day, how tired you are or how blue, shaking it on a sticky dance floor to epic tunes will fill you with joy. Don’t even get me started on Zumba!
8. Kundalini Yoga is an addiction. It just makes me feel so good – so calm and exhilarated afterwards. I’m totally addicted to it. I’m not the world’s greatest runner, this is much more my thing. I still try to run at least once a week though. Exercise really does make you feel great in your own skin.
9. Natural beauty is the ultimate. I use raw cocoa butter from Akoma which I melt down in silicone cupcake cases with a drop of olive oil and a few drops of essential oils. I use it as a massage bar and it is a delicious treat. Also, Lush facial skincare has been wonderful to me.
10. TV steals your soul. All right, that’s a bit dramatic. But I live in a house with people who worship the great soap trinity: Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale. I’ve always watched them too. Out of habit I flick on the TV when I’m cooking, cleaning, generally whenever I enter a room. I’ve well and truly shaken that habit and I’d encourage you to try it. These days I live for Doctor Who, Merlin and Downton Abbey (which jumped the shark big time, which I sort of love) but otherwise I rarely watch TV. It’s freed up so much time for exercise, writing, reading and chatting with friends.
11. Validation is important. Much as you might tell yourself that you are talented, much as your friends and family might agree, there is something really powerful about being told you’re good by a stranger.
12. Positivity breeds delight. Nothing is so awful that it can’t be faced. Look for the good and you’ll find it as surely as you’ll find the bad.