Happy 2018, everyone! Apologies for the slightly belated New Year well wishes; I suppose I've always been fashionably late, but I'm here now and I'm excited to get back into the swing of things. Reflecting back on last year, 2017 was a bit of a nothing year for me and even when I thought I had stepped out of my comfort zone, it felt like it was all for nothing and like I never really got anywhere. But even in my circumstances, I still survived and sometimes in life, that's more than enough. Life definitely does suck on occasion, though I'm thankful I've never been one to dwell on those feelings and in this post, I'll be acknowledging both what I was grateful for in 2017 as well as my little goals for 2018. Like most people, I don't like to set myself resolutions with definitive numbers, but rather small, ongoing intentions to shape me into the best version of myself. To me, that is what self-care is all about and I think being kinder to ourselves can often say a lot more than any grand accomplishment.
What I was grateful for in 2017
My family and friends
The company I keep and the people I surround myself with fill my heart with so much love and even though I dearly miss living in Melbourne, I can't deny that being back with a big support network hasn't more than made up for it. As we're all a little older and wiser now, my family feel more like friends to me and my brother even got married last year, so I have another sister (I have one brother and one actual sister), which is just the best. I have effortless and easy relationships with my family and my friendships are just the same. Although we don't see each other as often these days and as hard as it is to get everyone in the same room at one time, I know they're always there and I can pick up right where I left off with any one of my friendship groups. From my family, primary school friends, high school friends, work friends, Melbourne friends, the friends who don't fit into these categories and even you guys, I really do have a lot of love in my life. These people all bring out different qualities in me, lift me up and my life is so rich and full because of them all.
My blog is my passion project, my child, my labour of love and I don't think there's anything in this world that makes me happier than when I'm blogging. I think it's so important to make time for your hobbies and your interests (I'd never want a job where work becomes my life), and each year, I fall more and more in love with this little online world. Being out of a job for most of 2017, it gave me the time to really develop my photography style and push myself out of my creative comfort zone, and even when I sometimes found myself thinking, "What am I doing with my life?" in the mornings, my blog gave me a reason to get out of bed. Blogging hasn't really taken off in Australia like it has in other countries and I've never made a cent from it in all my years here, but I have a creative purpose (the best kind of purpose) that brings me a lot of joy and that's more than enough. To have something that gives meaning to your life that isn't how you make a living and to have something that's entirely of your own creation is actually a pretty damn sweet thing. 2018 marks my seventh year of blogging and I couldn't be more excited.
My improved fitness
Fitness is a topic I couldn't care less about in the world of blogging, but that doesn't mean I don't think getting up and moving your body isn't important. Having worked in retail for many years, I'm used to constantly being on my feet (apparently standing is even considered a form of exercise now?!) and when I left my job last year, I began to feel really blah sitting down all the time and just generally not being as active as I used to. Since being out of work, however, I've been able to properly focus on exercising and commit to a routine (I use that term loosely!), and although I never went in with any goals in mind, improving my fitness was something that just came naturally. I all of a sudden found myself being able to do things I never could and now, for the first time in my life, I can finally bend down and touch my toes! I don't weigh myself regularly to know if it's made a difference in that sense and sure, I wouldn't mind becoming more toned, but the main thing is that I'm doing something good for my body and I'm keeping at it. I think it's important to find something that you actually enjoy and want to spend your money on (you most certainly don't have to exercise in the traditional sense of running or going to the gym), and at the moment, I do Blogilates videos as they're fun, great for beginners and there's so much variety to keep things interesting. My mum also owns a rebounder (just a fancy word for trampoline), so I'll put on my favourite dance tunes from Cut Copy, CHVRCHES or my '80s playlist and it's just a lot of bloody fun to jump around to my favourite music. Music makes all the difference!
Things I want to do in 2018
Figure out what the hell I'm doing career-wise and get a job
The lyrics "When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year" from the Friends theme song pretty much sums up my ability to land a job. In fact, it hasn't been my year for the past few years. I've worked in retail basically my whole life and although I most certainly don't believe you need to be passionate about your job to be "successful" (working in retail is actually a lot of fun for me), it's not stable full time work and I do crave a change where I can learn new skills. My uni degree and my social media internships unfortunately haven't amounted to any paid work and no matter how many jobs I apply for (or job interviews I attend), I just can't seem to catch a break. I do often think about doing something different altogether (I've thought about doing admin) and going back to study, but then I ask myself, "Is this really what I want? What if this course is a waste of money and doesn't get me a job either?" and it makes me feel so lost. I should probably speak to a career counsellor soon (I don't know why I haven't yet; I think a part of me feels scared, though I can't exactly pin point why) for some guidance, but I do feel like I'm not ready to give up on social media work just yet. This is pretty much the only thing I want to resolve this year (because we live in a capitalist society that revolves around money!) and I know it'll bring me so much confidence to not have to take drastic measures like paying for study or going back to my old job.
I feel like my whole life is on hold while I'm unemployed because I can't save for a house, a car or travel and I don't even want to try dating because I lack the self-esteem to put myself out there. My unemployment can be a little bit of sensitive topic for me to talk about as it does make me feel ashamed, embarrassed and down at the worst of times, but we so often only hear about people's problems once they've overcome them and rarely ever when it's something they're still going through. I don't feel like I owe you guys every single little detail of my life, but it's definitely good to be vulnerable and it bothers me when people think my Instagram feed is an exact portrayal of my life. Plus, if I can comfort someone going through a similar experience and also know that I'm not alone, then it's worth it. I have received a couple of exciting emails this month, which have got me feeling hopeful, so keep your fingers crossed for me!
Say yes to more experiences and less to material possessions
I wouldn't necessarily say I put off new experiences or going out in favour of more material things, but I do feel like I could get myself out there a little more. I've travelled to many wonderful countries, I lived in Sydney for a few months, Melbourne for a couple of years and now that I'm back home in Perth, I guess I'm just kind of thinking, "What next?". Of course, a lot new experiences - whether it be travelling or a new project - require money, which is something I don't have a lot of right now (and a huge factor in why I think it's so toxic to compare your life to people who have the incredible privilege of wealth), but rather than think big (for the time being, anyway), there are little things I can do right here in my home city. I love going to gigs, blogging events, art exhibitions, festivals and new cafés, and I just want to do more of that, I suppose. Of course, Perth has no where near as much to offer as Melbourne, but that doesn't mean I can't make the most of what it does have. New experiences enrich our lives and expand our world view, and because Perth is home, sometimes I forget to see more and do more here.
Teach myself Adobe Lightroom and French on Duolingo
I taught myself how to use Photoshop at about 13 years old and since then, I've been able to hone my skills through university and my blog. I have intermediate skills in Illustrator and InDesign, and although I'm more than happy to continue using Photoshop for editing and enhancing my blog photos, I want to try my hand at something new. Learning is important to keep the mind active and instead of endlessly scrolling my life away on social media, I know I could definitely be more productive. When I'm on my phone, I can make better use of my time learning French on Duolingo and even if I sadly never become fluent, learning words and phrases is still better than learning nothing. I also have an app on my phone called Elevate that's designed to exercise your brain and it's actually a lot of fun, so I don't know why Instagram and Twitter are always my default. I think it's all too easy to get caught up in what everybody else is doing and if I can't peel myself away from a screen, I need to remind myself to at least focus on myself.
The less important things I want to do this year
- Redecorate my dressing table: I mentioned in my Home Updates post not long ago that I was still happy with my dressing table setup, but funnily enough, I now find myself feeling completely bored! I don't tend to change up my homewares all that often, but after three years, I think my dressing table could finally do with a little refresh. It's not going to be dramatic nor probably any time soon, but it's definitely on the cards. I have a vision and I can't wait to share it with you later this year!
- Learn to cook my nanna's Burmese dishes: in case you didn't know, my family is Anglo-Burmese and nothing soothes my soul and warms my heart more than my nanna's Burmese cooking. Food is also how I connect with my Burmese heritage and now that I've learnt how to cook a few Western dishes from my mum, I now want my nanna to teach me the old recipes that were passed down to her from my great-grandmother. I'm especially looking forward to learning to cook chicken curry, Ohn no khao swè (my favourite!), Let thoke, Mohinga and Kya zan.
- Take a new profile picture for my social media accounts: I've had the same profile picture for three years now and I'm long overdue to take a new one! Whenever I've intended to take photos of myself, a shitty haircut or a bad breakout has always gotten in the way and I'm sure we all know the feeling of taking a hundred selfies and hating every single one of them. My blog is always going to be a one-person project, but now that I've sort of mastered being behind the camera, it wouldn't hurt to use the self-timer and get in front of it from time to time.
What did you love about 2017 and what do you want to do in 2018?