If you were to ask me the biggest thing I’ve learned in my life so far, my answer would be that we never stop learning.
Ironically it took me a while to learn this. As a teenager I thought I knew it all, and in my twenties I was sure of it. Weren’t we all?
Now, though, I realise that there really isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t learn something. So what have I learned in the past twelve months? Lots!
Not to be afraid of failure
Without failure, we can’t grow, we can’t experience, and we can’t possibly move forward. Failure can be hard to take for sure, but without it, we can never reach our full potential.
Finding your true north is a constant work in progress
It’s taken me a while to get to where I am now. Twenty plus years of searching, walking different paths, and feeling unsettled. Not that I would change any of it all. But what I’ve learned is when you do find where you’re meant to be, it’s pretty amazing. Not in a siren-sounding, lets-have-a-party way, but a sense of calm. A feeling of zen. It’s hard to explain. But I’ve also learned, it’s still a work in progress. Tweaking and changing as I am.
Doing what you love doesn’t mean it’s easy
I’m finally at that place (see above) where I feel I’m meant to be. I get to write, and I get paid for doing it. But although it’s something I love doing, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are days when finding the right words is tough. It feels like I’m chasing the words around and around in circles, and they’re just out of my grasp. Then there are days when dealing with editors, rejections, and client demands really take their toll. But, then there’s the days when it all works. When the words flow like the Nile, or when you receive amazing feedback from clients or see your piece of writing published. Those days are pretty close to perfect.
Authenticity is one of my core values
When it comes to blogging, the word authenticity is used a lot. And with good reason. Over the past twelve months, I’ve been nominated and been awarded a finalist in two blogging competitions. Firstly, it’s an amazing thing to have someone else think my words are worthy of recognition. It’s a wonderful honour. But, and I say this honestly and not with any judgment of the competitions themselves or other nominees and participants, I found it quite stressful. After both competitions, I felt it influenced what I wrote. As much as I tried to be ‘me’ I can now see my words changed. I was trying too hard. Trying to be something I’m not. Trying to fit into a ‘blogging category’; a square peg in a round hole.
So while it’s an honour, and I am certainly grateful for the recognition, I just don’t think it’s for me. As much as I want people to read my blog, I also just want to be me. I’ve struggled with who I am for most of my life, and it’s only through blogging that I gained the confidence to know that I’m actually okay. I don’t want to go back to trying to please others, or fit into a mould. I’m not worried about stats or blogging schedules and the constant emails from brands wanting me to blog about their product for a pittance annoy me. I’m probably in the very minority who feel this way. And I am in no way judgmental of those who take that path, but it’s not me. I just need to blog about stuff that’s in my head. That’s the authentic me.
To sum it up, the success for me is in the beautiful people who nominated me and the kind emails and messages of congratulations. That is all the recognition I need. After all, they nominated me for my words and that to me is pretty darn special.
Simplicity and purpose are powerful
I love that blogging has taught me so much about myself. I love that through analyzing my thoughts and well, my life, it has brought me the realization of what is important to me. A simple life defined by me makes me calm and brings with it a purpose. I’m still working my way through exactly what both of these things mean, but what I do know is they bring me peace and contentment. And that’s what (my) life should be about.
What have you learned in the past 12 months?
Linking with Essentially Jess as usual. Why? To connect and learn from so many other unique bloggers with different values and dreams and from all walks of life.