2017 was a bit of a weird one, wasn’t it?
It absolutely flew by for me, most likely because I spend most of it bouncing around in my own head instead of being more present.
I wrote at the end of last year about having two resolutions only for 2017.
The first was to pay off my debts, including my overdraft and loans to my parents. Whilst I haven’t completely achieved this yet (and as such, it’s still on my list), I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made. There hasn’t been as much money put towards this as I’d first hoped, but I have started tracking my spending, keeping a budget and really making my finances more visible over the last few months.
I’ll likely share a post on my experiences with this in the future – but it’s already had such a positive impact on my spending, and my plans for 2018 are to have paid off these debts and have plenty saved for other stuff too!
The second resolution…was problematic, to say the least. It was to reach and maintain a healthy BMI. In the post, I talk about a goal weight, a target for weight loss each week and how achieving this was apparently going to help me overcome my eating disorder and move towards a happier, healthier life.
I can’t blame 2016 me – she was still entrenched in diet culture, wallowing in her internalised fatphobia, and under the illusion that losing weight was the key to all happiness. I’ve since realised that’s just not true. What’s interesting is I have taken huge steps towards recovery from my disordered eating and accepting my body – just in a completely different way than I expected.
So yes – 2017 was most definitely a mixed bag. It’s a year that I think I’ll look back on as the start of where things got better, but for now I’m pretty fucking happy it’s over.
I got the most wonderful newsletter in my inbox last week from Cait Flanders, a fantastic Canadian blogger (and now author!) who shares her stories around minimalism, slow living and personal finance – she was actually a huge part of me starting to take control of my own money this year, but more on that later.
Cait was sharing a fantastic post with her answers to 10 questions to end the year intentionally. I thought it was fab, and so enjoyed reading hers that I thought it would be a great way for me to look back on my year too.
Have a read, enjoy, and then go show Cait some love too!
1. What makes this year unforgettable?
The biggest thing I’ll take away from this year is how much I’ve learned, and how much my eyes have been opened to stuff like feminism, representation, discrimination, gender issues, diet culture, weight stigma, fatphobia, racism… the list goes on.
I’ve spent a lot of time this year listening, reading and absorbing; trying to widen my bubble and understand my privilege – there’s a lot more to know, but I’m making it my mission to do so.
I’ve gotten a lot of fire in my belly about social justice and the change we need to see in this world, and it’s that which is driving me forward into the new year.
2. What did you enjoy doing this year?
Mostly listening to podcasts, getting really back into film again (and writing about it here!), becoming even MORE obsessed with playing and watching netball, and also feeling really fulfilled in my work, both in my day job and outside of it.
3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?
I’m of course hugely grateful for my boyfriend James, my incredible friends, my lovely family – but to pick out one thing I’ve been most thankful for this year? It would have to be the body positive movement.
From people like Laura Thomas, to Christy Harrison, to Megan Crabbe (aka. @bodyposipanda); these are the guys who’ve played a huge part in keeping me going this year. In keeping me alive, in keeping me positive, in helping me see that life doesn’t have to be as hard and painful as I thought.
I’m so grateful to have discovered body positivity, and am so excited to keep moving towards being truly body positive in 2018.
4. What was your biggest win this year?
Back in the spring I started to document my quest to binge eating recovery more openly online. I shared my ‘days binge free’ on social media – and whilst I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that concept of recovery now, or all the stuff I was talking about, I think my biggest win was the community and support I found in sharing that. I managed to reach – and hopefully help – some people going through similar struggles to me, and they had an impact on me too.
5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?
2017 was the year of falling in love with podcasts for me.
I’d always thought that they wouldn’t be for me – that being a visual person, I wouldn’t connect with something only shared through audio – but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Here’s a list of the incredible podcasts that I’ve spent the year listening to:
- Don’t Salt My Game with Laura Thomas PhD
- Food Psych with Christy Harrison
- Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon
- She’s All Fat with Sophia Carter-Kahn and April K. Quioh
- Budgets & Cents with Cait Flanders and Carrie Smith-Nicholson
- Being Boss with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon
- Pursuit with Purpose with Melyssa Griffin
- Hashtag Authentic with Sara Tasker
- Soulful PR with Janet Murray
- In Good Company with Otegha Uwagba
- The Empire Film Podcast
(And, hopefully, 2018 will be the year I bring my podcast idea into reality!)
6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?
In 2017 I worried about the things I’ve been worrying about most of my life – my body, my weight, my mental health.
As for how it turned out…my body and weight haven’t really changed, and it’s only this year that I’ve realised that’s okay.
My mental health has had a lot of downs this year. I’ve had some really low moments, feeling detached from myself, my life and the people in it. It’s turned out okay, I guess, and will always be a journey, but one that I hope will have many more peaks than troughs next year.
7. What was your biggest regret and why?
My biggest regret from this year is the time I lost to my depression, my disordered eating, my low self-esteem.
Time that I could have spent with my favourite people, or writing, or creating, or getting out of the house, or just fucking living.
Looking back, it’s a lot of time that’s just gone now, time that I can’t get back.
8. What’s one thing that you changed about yourself?
I took the first steps towards letting go of diet culture – letting go of the thin ideal, of my desire for weight loss (well, I’m getting there anyway), of the idea that my life can’t start until I’m thin.
I think it will be the biggest change to myself that I ever make in my life, but hopefully will help me eventually find some peace.
9. What surprised you the most this year?
A few things:
- How fucking expensive it is to be a tourist in Reykjavik
- That I can go to London Podcast Festival all by myself, and be totally fine
- How freeing and exciting it can be to be given permission to be creative
- That I have more to learn about being a good writer than I think I do
- That the world can be so polarised between those on the left and the right
- The pervasiveness of diet culture in our world, and how many people are still trapped in it
- That, believe it or not, you CAN be fat and happy!
10. If you could go back to January 1st 2017, what would you say to your past self?
God, what a good question.
I’d say that nothing is as bad as you think it is on your dark days. That you’re going to make it to the end of the year, and you’re going to be in a much better place than you are right now.
I’d say keep going, keep your head up, talk to your friends and family more, get outside more, and just trust that you’re doing the best you can right now.
Everything will come good, in the end.