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REAL STORIES | Learning from 2018’s Ups & Downs – A New Year. A New You.

6th January 2019

“You can rise from anything. You can completely recreate
yourself. Nothing is permanent. You’re not stuck. You have
choices. You can learn something new. You can create new
habits. All that matters is that you decide today and never
look back”.

 

These words popped up on my Instagram feed this morning and they have had a profound effect of me. They are my 2019 words to live by. Tomorrow, for many of us I expect, is when reality kicks back in. The holidays are well and truly over.  If you’re anything like me, you are 7lbs heavier and you are ready to dropkick the kids through those school gates and get back into some kind of normality. You’re going to bed with shit load of good intentions for the week ahead. And months… You will eat more greens, move more, drink more water, be a better parent, a more understanding wife. You’ll drink less wine, spend less time on your mobile phone and generally do all those things you didn’t get around to doing in 2018.

 

Ups & Downs

2018 was possibly the most turbulent year of my adult life. I’d go as far as to say it was fucking shit at times. And then there were the good times –The amazing places we visited: Sri Lanka, Canada, Cannes, Dorset, Paris, London, Dubai,  Euro Disney – the memories we made and the fun we had. My career highs and lows and the wonderful, and not so wonderful people that entered and exited my life. Ahead of tomorrow, I’m reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last twelve months and the impact these experiences have had on me, my family and my mental health.

I hope that my experiences below help us all to achieve a more balanced and fulfilling 2019.

 

Friendships

2018 – I learnt to let go. Let go. Close the door on all those toxic friendships in 2019. Focus on the fulfilling friendships – the people that bring you joy – whatever the distance between you.

2018 saw some friendships naturally come to fruition. Our move back to Yorkshire from London in 2016 saw me go out of my way to make friends with everyone and anyone in the school playground, regardless of compatibility and common ground. Many of those friendships sort of effortlessly fizzled out. A couple ended as a result of a drama/crosswords of sorts – some people simply cannot get to grips with my blunt, brutally honest and rather controversial opinions and I’m ok with that. No hard feelings. I can be a knob – I’m the first to admit it. We only really knew each other for a matter of months and you didn’t get to really know the loyal, dependable, reliable, devoted me. No hard feelings though.

There was one friendship however, that I finally closed the door on in 2018 – it caused me a lot of upset, heartache and tears because this person knew all my positive traits, and, to an extent, dare I say, she took advantage on them from time to time.  A 28-year friendship and one that I probably clung to because of our longstanding history. It took me a long time to realise that I was a lot more committed to this person that she was me – actually – that’s a lie – I think I always knew that I wanted to be her friend more than she wanted to be mine from the very start, but I fought it. I fought to be ranked higher in her hierarchy of friends, and then the chips were down and other friends weren’t there for her, she turned to me, and I was there. I showered her in my loyalty and, although for 15 years our friendship was long-distance, my London door was open to her whenever she wanted to visit. I was a sounding board, an ear to bend, a problem solver and an advice giver for a long time. And I was ok with that. But when she didn’t need me – and this depended on who else was in her life at the time and towards the end I was needed less and less – my fight to rank higher, to be given the position I thought I deserved after 28 years of service, may well have translated into a little bit of jealousy. Suffocation. Resentment. Drama. On my part.

It all came to a head in 2018 – that door was closed once and for all. The way in which that door was closed saddens me, but I do not regret it happening. We have grown into very different people with very different priorities, opinions and values and I am more than ok with this. I wish her all the best in life.

I learnt a valuable lesson in 2018 about friendship.   

Close the door. It’s ok to move on. Focus on those friends – however old or new – who contribute equally to the friendship. Those who bring you joy – who support you and uplift you. Everyone’s priorities and values are different – I’ve learnt that it’s ok – no one is wrong. Don’t judge. Seek out those who let you be you – warts and all. They are your true friends.

Probably my biggest realisation of 2018 was that some of my true friends are now hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of miles away and 2019 will be the year when I vow to make more time for these long-distance friendships. This year let’s pick up the phone more. Jump on that train and get on that plane. I’m making an effort re-connect properly with those of you who still reach out to check I’m ok. Karen I’m coming to Spain!

 

Money

2018 – I learnt that I need to earn it to appreciate it. Money, my friends, is certainly not the be-all-and-end-all. Believe me. We came into some money in late 2017. ‘All our problems solved’ we thought. We paid off debts, went on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Sri Lanka and we treated the people we love to generous gifts and bought a newish car each. But, for me, a girl who has had to work to pay for absolutely everything I call my own since leaving school at 16 years old, all of a sudden, having a decent pot of money gave me more options and this isn’t always a good thing.

For a while, complacency crept in. I could relax a bit. But doubt quickly followed. I started to doubt my ability to make money. I lost the tenacity that once coursed through my veins. The self-belief started to fade – maybe because the pressure was off a little for a while. That voice in my head was telling me that maybe I didn’t have what it takes to build my business. I was failing. I was letting myself fail because I could fail. I had an option, and when one suffers from depression, sometimes options can cause more harm than good. I’m a grafter. My business is much more than about making money. It’s about being the best at what I do and proving those that doubted me wrong. The money follows.

Less money equals more creativity and resourcefulness and that is what powers me. 

A year on, as the money runs out, there’s some relief and a little excitement in knowing that I have to work to pay for the next big holiday. Don’t let money rule you in 2019. Being rich and fulfilled does not always require money.

 

Career

2018 – I learnt that behind every successful female entrepreneur is a tribe of successful female entrepreneurs. The support of fellow female entrepreneurs and business owners carried me through 2018. I cannot emphasise enough, the power of a tribe of businesswomen supporting businesswoman. I am lucky enough to have a group of very successful ladies behind me – we meet up monthly and share wisdom and advice, and peer-to-peer experience and knowledge sharing is also a fundamental part of the process. Above all else, we provide each other with practical and emotional support when the overwhelm kicks in.

I achieved possibly the biggest accomplishment of my entire career in 2018 when I secured a £90,000 grant from the Visit England / Visit Britain Discover England to develop my second business – Real Yorkshire DMC – but I started to doubt my abilities too much and questioned, on a regular basis, if I really was capable of all everything that I had committed myself to – and, in true Lyndsey style, I committed to a lot!

Overwhelm kicked in regularly. I buried my head in the sand, procrastinated far too much, didn’t plan properly, spunked money up the wall and probably knocked a fair few years off my life in the process. I claim to be a specialist in so many areas yet I doubt myself every single fucking day.

These ladies keep me grounded, keep me going and keep me motivated.

I want you to know, if you are thinking about starting your own business in 2019, all of the above feelings of inadequacy and shortfall are perfectly normal. Apparently. According to my tribe. In 2019 I’m taking female support to the next step – I am investing in a business coach to help me move my business to the next level. There will be more self-belief, self-discipline, planning and focus. 2019 will be my best year yet! I hope it’s yours too. Remember, you can do anything you put your mind to.

 

Addictions

2018 – I admitted that I had a problem with alcohol   2018 was the year when I admitted to myself and everyone else that I had a problem with booze. This problem has fuelled many of the scenarios mentioned above and negatively impacted on a few too. If you’ve read any of my 2018 sober diaries, you’ll know that alcohol has got me into a lot of scrapes and, quite frankly, I’m surprised I’m still fucking alive when I look back and the bits I do remember!

I managed 50 days with no booze last summer and I can honestly say those 50 days were the proudest 50 days of my adult life on so many levels. But bad habits die hard and it wasn’t long before I was back on the sauce and downing bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco like it was about to be discontinued from the shelves of every off licence in the bleeding country. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that my drinking actually hit an all-time high (or low, depending on how one looks at it), in the months after my 50 days of abstinence.

I tried to convince myself and everyone around me that I could moderate, but the simple fact is, I can’t.

I can knock back an entire bottle of wine like most people knock back a Berocca the morning after. I’m working on 2019 being my ‘year-without-beer’. I’m seven days sober. I’m all or nothing. 2019 will be the year I quit entirely, or carry on regardless. I’m really hoping I can commit to the former and do ‘a year without beer.’ I’m also addicted to Instagram. I’m working on this too. If you are committing to drinking less – take one day at a time and be mindful. I find thinking about the impact of knocking back shit loads of booze will have on me the next day, and more importantly on my ability to be a parent and function, helps to prevent me from caving in.

 

Health & well-being

2018 – I really neglected both In 2017 I was a happy size 8. 2018 was the year I gained more weight than I have in 15 years and I’ll be honest, it has had an impact on my mental health. I am happier when I’m thinner. I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m perfectly ok as I gallop towards a size 12 but I’m not. I spent a long time in 2018 standing in the shower, looking down at my naked body, trying to convince myself that I was ok with it. Ok with my little muffin top and my ever-increasing thighs, the knee fat and my little tummy – but I’m not. I mean a size 12 – I’m not exactly overweight, I get that, but if I’m not happy with my weight – and I’m not – then that’s my prerogative.

And when I’m not ok everyone around me knows it. I’m a moody and miserable bitch and everyone suffers the brunt of my misery because I’m bulging out of the jeans that are a size too small for me and I’m growing chin no. 2. I’m not ok with any of this.

I’m 40 in a year’s time and yes, I’m influenced by those incredible 40-year-old bodies that grace my Instagram feed. I also find the plus-size woman who use social media to promote a healthy lifestyle without necessarily being skinny very inspiring and beautiful.

But I can’t claim to be neither skinny nor healthy anymore and I am NOT ok with that.

I hate exercising, but I know this year I have to push myself to do something otherwise I’m going to be fat, unfit and 40 and I’m determined not to be. I’ve spent my adult life jumping from one crash diet to the next. I’ve thrown more money that I care to disclose at shakes and pills and skinny coffee and all sorts of other ‘quick-fix’ solutions. And that’s exactly what they are. It soon piles back on, and then some.

I am determined to be FAF at 40 and I’m going to try a completely different approach this year –I’m going to make some lifestyle changes – shock-horror – I’m going to move more. Eat better. Drink more water and enrol on a Pilates class. This year I’m not expecting overnight changes, let’s do this slowly.

 

Above all else 2018 resulted in a lot of gratitude.

I’m thankful for my beautiful children who are now at an age where they get their own seat on an aeroplane. I’m thankful for my husband who puts up with my endless mood swings, incessant moaning and batshit crazy bright ideas. I’m thankful for my girlfriends who have stuck with me, supported me and slapped me round the face when I needed it. I’m thankful for my career that has allowed me to travel far and wide across the globe. And I’m thankful for my family – every year my sister, my mum and I get closer as we slowly bury our demons from days gone by. Practice gratitude. It really helps to put things into perspective when the chips are down.

 

2019 – we’re ready for you!

What lessons did you learn in 2018 and what are you taking with you into 2019? Comment below…

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2 Comments

  1. Rachel

    Fantastic article Lyns! And as always with your blogs…I can do relate!!!! I have just finished week one of my couch to 5k and it’s not even 8am … dry January means I accomplish so much more with a clear head!!! And we will be making the journey north to visit this year 😜😘😘❤️ Love u all x

    Reply
    • Lyndsey Thomas

      WOW 5k in one week. That’s bloody good going Rach! Well done my lovely. We want to see more of you lot in 2019 xx

      Reply

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