On January 1st of this year I put the children to bed and sat down to write a blog post that quite possibly I could now describe as life changing, although I definitely didn’t know it at the time.
I’ve been dabbling on and off with blogging for a decade, never fully committing to it yet never wanting to stop it altogether.
On January 1st 2017 I was coming towards the end of the my second and final maternity leave and knowing that I was just about to embark on a new chapter of my life – life after having children. I knew that big changes were afoot and somehow I had a feeling that breathing one final bit of life into my ailing blog was going to play a major part in that as yet, unhatched plan. So I set about making some resolutions and goals for the year ahead.
- I promised that I would take more time for myself, do things that I enjoy and to grow and develop myself as a person.
- Learn some new skills – both career related and for fun.
- Use my phone less for idyl scrolling, be less interested in celebrity gossip and instead take the time to get more informed about the world and politics.
- To lose my excess baby weight and get fit.
- Properly commit to giving up meat.
Some time around March as my maternity leave was in it’s final days and knowing that I actually didn’t want to return to my old job, I stumbled across an advert for a training program aimed at Mums with the specific aim of up-skilling them for flexible/freelance careers in social media. I’ve written before about how I had intended to go into social media professionally but got waylaid (for five years) into helping get my husband’s start-up off the ground so it was almost as if that fate had put that ad there specifically for me and I knew there and then that this course would change my life in one way or another.
There were a fair few hurdles to jump to get me signed up to the course but while I waited to start I set about re-branding my blog and making a real go of growing my social media profile and getting as involved in social media communities as I could. Fast forward to July and I would be awkwardly logging on for my first weekly Google hangout with six other women all feeling equally shy and awkward.
Over the course of the last five months me and my six new friends for life have shared the ups and downs of the course and of each others lives. I’ve taken the biggest step towards my dream of becoming my own boss and working from home – I won’t say I’ve realised the dream until I have an income from it but I’ve certainly taken the leap of faith. And no matter how many co-working spaces are recommended to me, I’ve never been happier than working from home.
For the course, instead of a live client we created grassroots social campaigns in an area we felt we could get behind. Off the bat I knew I wanted to focus on the local independent fashion scene and explore the ethical/sustainable side of things. To me it was almost too good to be true to be learning about how to turn a social media passion into a social media career all while creating fashion content and week after week learning new creative skills such as photography, photo editing, the basics of photoshop and even writing articles for online publications. Never did I think I’d be approaching people to interview for this blog and never did I think people would say yes – but they have. So when I said I wanted to learn some new professional skills, I think I’ve smashed that goal.
With only thee weeks left of my training and my local fashion campaign in full swing I can’t help but feel pretty emotional about where I am now compared to where I was a year ago. Capsule wardrobing started as a way of finding my fashion feet again after having two babies but has developed into a interest in sustainable fashion that has led me down a path of truly wanting to lead a more conscious life in all ways and finding a whole new online tribe. I’ve quit fast fashion and after exploring Bristol’s thrift and vintage shops for my campaign, I’ve re-discovered the joy of a good rummage, so much so that I’m going to be tentatively stepping out from beyond the “confines” of my capsule wardrobe to see where a year of only buying used clothes could take me (more about that coming soon).
Buying a decent camera (I have an Olympus Pen ELP-8 with the prime 45mm and 17mm lenses) might have been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself this year. I’m certainly no Annie Leibovitz but I’m starting to understand the basics of photography and being able to shoot with my camera on manual. When I said I wanted to learn a new skill for fun, this was it and it’s definitely something I want to keep learning and practising.
I very successfully gave up meat at the start of the year, so successfully that I’ve genuinely barely even given it a second thought. The next step of my journey has taken rather more thought and resolve but after not really eating it for months anyway I’m ready to make a commitment to stop eating fish now too.
With regards to getting fit and losing baby weight I had a pretty big shift in attitude around summer time. I was fed up of chastising myself for failing at weight loss and fitness and decided that to be healthy and active were more positive aims to build permanently into my life rather than health kicks or fitness drives that I’d be constantly be judging myself on the success or failure of.
And finally, any idyll scrolling now is far more likely to be an eco blog than the sidebar of shame.
I’ll be starting 2018 genuinely not really knowing what the year has in store for me because the possibilities are so open but if I can develop personally even half as much as I have this year then it’s got the potential to be a pretty amazing year.
Here are my goals for next year:
- To find social media management clients
- To find paid blogging and writing opportunities
- Focus on making new friends through social media, as well as business networking opportunities.
- In the pursuit of both mindfulness and physical health, make 2018 the year I finally commit to yoga.
- With some exceptions, commit to a year of only buying used clothes.
- To be fully vegetarian and continue on the path to a plant based lifestyle.
- To read 6 fiction books over the year
- To use podcasts to fill dead time.
- To take my photography to the next level via a workshop or course.
- To grow my Instagram account to 2000