This is part 2 of Goodbye and Thank-you 2021

I’ve noticed when people wish you health, wealth and happiness this season it’s often because they’ve had their own struggles with one or more of them.

Perhaps it’s an inevitable part of growing older?

It also felt a nice framework to write up my lessons of 2021. I could have also written ‘hard things I learnt’ or ‘here’s some nice photos to accompany some thoughts I had…’

Truth is, it’s hard to speak openly about all three with a filter of the instagram shiny but here goes! 1,2,3…

1. Head down and pushing on regardless is fruitless labour postpartum. Deep listening and step by step, day by day and inclusion of rest is the way!

– I started the year with a completely broken body. Being very sedentary in pregnancy, birthing a baby alone, hearing a brand new sound of deep animal pain (mine) labouring behind a mask, being overweight. All these factors meant in Jan my body and mind literally begged me to heal them and I knew deep down it was going to take time.

– I ran before I could walk a few times and learnt that lesson the hard way. I remember walking my little boy to his friends two days after giving birth and really regretting it. There are countless examples of this. I couldn’t stand up off the sofa without help of a free hand for months. But it didn’t mean anything more than I just needed more time.

– Healing took place little by little day by day. I was frustrated and hardly noticed at first. Turns out having a baby at 33 was WAY easier that being 39! But then, one day in October the daily hill felt easier, I bent down to do the hoovering without pain and I danced to all the tunes with my baby girl. I’ll never take my strength for granted again!

– I wrote a little about my husbands path with health here. The story is so much more complicated for him. He was a personal trainer for the marines “the best of the best physically” and his body has never ever let him down until 2020. It’s been awful and continues to be a very steep learning curve!

2. Setting a budget (and using it) for marketing at work makes literal magic happen!

– I’ve always run a lean business. I’ve earnt between £23k – £45k every year since I became self employed in 2008. It’s enough. Sure, I’d love to earn more but life comes first so there’s always a balance of what I can fit in around family. I help in my husbands yoga business too and this year we discovered some new systems to help oil the cogs so I have less admin time do.

– In 2020, I received funding to work on a huge passion project from Arts Council. It meant that I had allocated budget to marketing myself and my work for the first time. I’d had plenty of practise of raising and managing arts development budgets so the next step proved relatively easy.

– I felt accountable and wanted to make my project; “Creativity Island for Mums” happen whilst testing new ways of working digitally and showing up online and in person. Never easy as an introvert and someone who only shows up on clean hair days anyway! 😂

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brene Brown

3. Go easy on the expectations…

– I use Leonie Dawson’s 2021 planner and set myself some very realistic and some “lofty” goals even though I actually advise against this in my own ebook “How to Colour Outside the Lines in 2022”.
– I was on maternity leave in 2021 so everything was done/ created in the in between of motherhood. Sometimes it felt like seamless escape. I wrote about it in my first book.

– I enjoyed falling deep into space and routine. I learnt new things from YouTube tutorials and gave myself real time to create. Probably for the first time! It felt nice, it felt luxurious and it felt like once I understood that part of myself I really made friends with it. Do you get that? How to get to know yourself without all the busy?

– In September, I left the baby with her dad each Thursday to work – to focus and get stuff done – this is a totally different way of working than weaving it all in. I found it hard to leave but enjoyed being single focussed. I enjoyed it less if someone with strong perfume sat next to me in Starbucks.

So there we have it, a few lessons and a tonne of gratitudes. Read more of how to do some of this work for yourself in my BRAND new ebook – ‘How to Colour outside the Lines in 2022’ – ONLY available until mid Jan.