2018 has been one heck of a year. I can’t say that it was a bad year because there were plenty of fun things that happened in it. But it was a year that came with plenty of heartbreak and life-changing lessons.
As the new year fast approaches, it seems only fitting to look back on the life lessons that 2018 taught me. But not to look back on it negatively. To look at every lesson for the importance that it will have as I go into 2019 and every year I am lucky enough to have after that.
You can go to bed and never wake up, so make every day count.
Early this year, we had a devastating tragedy happen within our family.
My aunt went on holiday to visit her partner in Malta, and sadly they both died of carbon monoxide poisoning as they slept. Needless to say, it affected every member of our family in so many ways and for some people, their lives will never be the same again.
Unsurprisingly, it affected me. It left me panicking that terrible things were going to happen to my loved ones constantly, and it made me ridiculously overcautious for a while.
It took a while for me to shake myself and realise ‘if it’s going to happen, it will happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. But you can’t live your life worrying and waiting for bad things to happen, because then you stop living.’
While the loss of my aunt will always be devastating, we all take comfort in the fact that when she passed, she was happy. She was excited about the future and what it held, she had most likely had a great day with her love, and when she went to sleep that night she was in the arms of the one she loved. And that’s all we can ever ask for.
So, what I have come to realise is that life is not something to just endure. Stop worrying about the future, because all you have is now. Spend your day doing whatever it is that you want to do and be proud of what you do. Tell your loved ones you love them and don’t hold grudges; make amends.
There’s only us, there’s only this. Forget regret or life is yours to miss. – Rent
You only reap what you sow.
If there was a magical fairy wand that could grant us our dream job, the skills we long to have and the relationships we desire without any of the effort put in, then wouldn’t that be loverly!
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Only people who put the time and energy into things, reap the benefits. And that’s how it should be; they deserve it.
I have watched as friends have created the performing careers that they want for themselves, rather than relying on their agents to decide on it. I have seen friend’s blogs soar to new levels because of the time they put into it. And the people with talents that I am envious of have taken the time to practice and hone their skills. They weren’t born just being able to do it all.
If you want to achieve something, then you have to put the time and effort in. Good things come to those who wait… and work bloomin’ hard!
Saying goodbye is never ‘not hard’; you will always want one more day with someone.
Another sadness that happened this year was the passing of my grandfather. The first of my grandparents to go.
I find it hard to even write this because he has always been a huge part of my life and imagining a world without him is hard to comprehend.
He was ready to go, but we were never ready for him to leave us.
I was too late to say goodbye, and for a while, I felt so guilty. Alongside my grief, I was dealing with the guilt that I should have seen him earlier that day and then I wouldn’t have missed him. But how was I to know?
We always wish that we could see someone just one more time. But you never know when your last time will be.
Death is hardest for the living who are left behind. So instead of punishing yourself, reminisce on all the times that you were with them and how you showed your love then.
We will still cry. We will always cry. But with loving reflection, more than hopeless longing. And that is how we survive. That is how the story should end. That is how they would want it to be. – excerpt from ‘How We Survive‘ by Mark Rickerby
Take care of your body… like seriously.
It’s the only one you’re going to get, so don’t take it for granted.
I feel like every year that passes, my body gets a new ache or pain and it feels like it can do less. (I suppose I’m more aware of these things as a performer.) Whereas once I worried about spending my money on fixing my body, I now make it a priority.
Instead of carrying on in pain until it’s unbearable, I now seek help. Sure, it means I’ve spent lots of money this year on trying to fix myself (and it feels neverending) but I need this body for the rest of my life. So if I take care of it now then hopefully I can reap the benefits for years to come.
There is only one YOU.
There will always be people who can do things better than you, but you can’t let that get you down. Stop putting pressure on yourself to be as good or better than anyone else. Just do the best that you can do and the success will follow.
What you can bring to the table, others can’t. Plus, everything is subjective so don’t let someone else’s opinion discard your hopes and dreams. As Lady Gaga loves to say…
There can be a hundred people in the room and 99 don’t believe in you… But if just one person believes in you, it can change everything.
So long, 2018! I won’t be sad to see you go, but I don’t look back on you with regret. You taught me some valuable life lessons that I hope will help to sculpt my 2019 into the best year yet!