I don't have it all figured out, and that's cool.

"So, how has 2016 been for you?"

It's begun.  December is fast approaching, and so the need to wrap the year up in a neat and tidy bow has arrived.  During a few gin soaked conversations, I've been asked how I would sum up the year.  What were the highs, what were the lows?  If I could put this year in a box, what would I label it as?

To put it frankly, I would call it a golden flecked turd.  Unlike previous years where I look back on my year with pride, I look back on this one and feel like I'm leaving it better than I came into it.

It has some value in it, & I feel conflicted flushing that bad boy down the toilet, but I'm also glad to see the back of it.  Because on the whole, it's a shit.

This has been the first year since I was teenager I lived a life without Genna by my side.  The image of her lying still on the vet table as I scrunched her fur into my fists, desperate for her to respond would come to me at odd moments.  For the first two months I felt guilty if I felt happy.  I watched helplessly as one by one the little animals I had looked after for years die in my hands.  I dealt with people telling me they were 'just' pets as the image of them gasping for their last little breaths filled my head.  I've struggled with anxiety & panic attacks for the first time since I was in college.  My health hasn't been tippity top, neither has that of people I really care about.  The scary big C entered our families lives, and things suddenly felt very real & scary.   I've spent more time in hospitals this year than I did the last 5 collectively.  I've felt utterly terrible about myself at points, like I was worth very little, mostly because I wasn't handling things very well, and because of that I felt down and out, struggled with toxic friendships, and felt like I was failing at life.

I sought validation from others, from groups of people that didn't know me very well.  That was a car crash of emotions.  Reaching out to people who owed me nothing, left me feeling like I was worth just that.

So I could be pretty negative about 2016.  Oh could I.  But I can't won't.

At the start of the year I had written out a little to-do list of things I wanted to accomplish before the year was out.

I haven't ticked a single thing off of it.  Tada.  #WinningAtLife

I could use my unfulfilled to-do list as a state of affairs, but I won't,  because the things that mattered to me last year, felt insignificant as this one went on.  So whilst I didn't travel out of the country, or become fluent in another language, or lose a stone & suddenly become well versed in fashion, this is also the year I laughed until I cried more than any other.  It's the year my friends and family held me whilst I cried and I felt genuinely loved.  It's the year I learnt that I can cope, even when things are tough.  It's also the year Flynn entered our lives, in a fracas of emotions (good and bad.)  I took a uni course, and I loved it.  I made several new friendships and did a lot of things that scared me.  I saw a lot of new places, and walked miles and miles - seeing some of the most beautiful things ever.  This is the year I grew up a bit, and stopped making it about me, or tried to deflect any bad feelings against me.  I stopped blaming my problems or how I felt in certain situations on other people, and took responsibility for them a bit more.  It's humbled me a bit, broken the shell I built up around myself to protect me from hurt.

I'm glad it did.

Those lows, made the highs feel better, and taught me that I don't have it all figured out, and that's cool.  It's okay to be flawed and angry sometimes, I don't have to project an image I think people want to see.  I don't have to pander, sometimes words will hurt or offend people.  I think as long as that isn't my intention, it isn't the worst thing in the world.

I learnt that feeling sad & disjointed can move you to make better decisions & be happier in yourself.  It showed me who my true friends are, because they are all still my by side right now, even if I didn't have as much time for them as I did previous years, or had to rearrange things with them around my hectic, shifting world.  They repaid the favour of being there for me when I needed someone to lean against.  I made sure they knew it was appreciated.

Those that didn't faded away, but I learnt not to resent them.  A last kindness was to understand that no one owes you their time or support and that's okay too.  That's what makes the people who do give it to you, amazing for wanting too.

Now things are on more of an even keel, the friendships I have are stronger, and the new ones feel more authentic.  They've already seen me in my rawest, most vulnerable state and they still wanted to stick around.  That's pretty cool.

I'm not trying to be perfect anymore.  Just my best at that moment in time.  Things I wore myself down worrying about, have balanced out as I accepted them.  My dog is a nutcase, and really hard work but I'm trying my best.  Sometimes people judge me, that's okay.  I'm happy with my choices.  I sometimes can't deal with stuff, and that's okay too.  My diet isn't 'clean' & shiny, it's real.  Sometimes I'm wrong.  Sometimes I can't relate to a feeling someone is having.  Sometimes it's okay if someone disagrees with or is mad at me.  My life is messy & complicated and I'm just trying to live it as consciously & happily as I can, balancing the need to sometimes be selfish with the gesture of sometimes being selfless.  Being kind because I want to be, instead of expecting it in return or using it as an image to project to the world.

It's also the year I've found myself being more honest.  Not to inflict hurt, or to push people away but to be kinder.  It's the year I've taken on criticisms, but had more faith in myself that sometimes, the way I feel is justified.

I don't have a plan for 2017.  I don't know how I will be summing it up, or what I will look like.  I don't know how many dogs I will have,  I don't know when I will be starting a family, how I will do it or whether I will travel instead.  I am not going to pretend it is going to be "my year" and I'm not going to end this blog by telling you I have everything in my life is set on the path I want it to be.

I don't have everything figured out, and that's cool.  I'm trying my best.


  1. Emma, there aren't many blogs I consistently read - but I do love yours. To be honest, I needed this today. 2016 has been the worst year of my life, my mum was diagnosed with Leukemia in January, and passed away in August - and it's broken me. I've spent my entire year in hospital, my job has suffered, my mental health has suffered, my friendships, my marriage and even my poor dog gained a few pounds because I didn't have time for her. It's been shit.

    I don't think I'm quite where you are, I'm still in that negative place - and I think I might be for a little while - but reading your blog helped a lot. I am grateful that I got to spend every day with my mum while she was in hospital, I'm glad I slept there half the week, and that she didn't spend a second alone. I'm thankful that before she even got sick, we had the best relationship and she knew she was loved. I realize now that I do have friends that love me, even when I'm just awful to be around, and that my husband stands by my side as I sob, or yell, or cry.

    You said it perfectly, this year has been shit, but it's made all the little things in life that I worried about - insignificant. I needed to hear that today. Thank you for that <3

    1. I'm so sorry for your loss, and that you and your family have been through that. What a shit year. As someone who is really close to their mum, I can't even comprehend or pretend too know what you are going through, but I'm glad you have support, and hope that you can feel less broken as time goes on. Sending a hug your way. <3

    2. Thank you Emma - Mum and I were the best of friend's - it's been shit. People have sent me so many books, articles and blogs to read but none of them helped. This helped. Thank you again <3

  2. I love reading your blog! I love the honesty and the realness, all other blogs are all about perfect photos and polished graphics. You keep me compelled to keep reading. Even though we never met in person I totally feel like I know you. My only request, blog more! XOXO.

    One other thing, no one has it figured out and the moment you do, you will probably be pretty close the the end of your life... because there are always things to figure out, always things you don't know. That self awareness in itself makes you wise! XOXO

    1. Thank you! I agree, life would be pretty darn boring if we just coasted on through with nothing challenging us. I shall get on that! xx

  3. We are after all humans...so why bother to be perfect? I am learning to live at present and be peace with who I am..

    1. "Be at peace with who I am" That's perfect Angie :) x

    2. Hi Emma, I use psyllium husk (powder or whole) quite often in my baking, esp. often in quick bread. Just attached a few of recipes here...hope they help.

  4. Hi Emma, like Caitlin, I love your blog. Mainly because it's real. I really admire the way you undertake a bit of self-reflection that is so often lacking in this work, especially by people of our generation. I can't even imagine what Caitlin's going through (and Caitlin, I'm so so sorry), but like you I lost my much-loved pet recently - less than two weeks ago in fact. I had no idea how much losing him would hurt. It took me surprise and I feel that it's changed me, perhaps not hugely to people who are looking from the outside, but inside I feel different. It's made me question things I believed, what I thought was important, relationships I had with people, and scrutinise lots of things about my life to find both the positives and the negatives in them. I've been feeling things that your beautifully-written words have articulated far better than I could have done, so thank you. Don't stop writing this great blog, it's a breath of fresh air. x

    1. I'm so sorry for your loss. The surprise is something I can definitely relate you, as is the re-evaluation of your life after he passed. They are family, and unless you've felt that, it's hard to describe. Gen was my cornerstone, and a constant through some really difficult and changing times, so losing her was like I had to find my feet again, and doing that brings everything in your life into question. I hope it gets a little easier for you soon, sending a hug your way. x


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