12 Things I’ve Learned About Myself in 2016

We’re on the brink of the New Year and all this festive down-time is enough to make a gal reflect on the year just past. 2016 has been an unforgettable year for me both on a personal and professional level (I recently published my Top 10 Travel Moments of 2016 to round up my travels). But this post is a little more personal, as I’ve decided to share 12 things I’ve learned about myself this year. Some are good and some are bad, but I hope all points help you to get to know me better. Here goes…

Harper Snood and Hat Accessorize

Harper Bobble Hat from Accessorize

  1. That I love being my own boss

2016 was the year that I finally made the big leap to run the blog full time. Up until July I was still working 3 days a week at a London agency. Although the security of guaranteed income was great, I had such itchy feet and was dying to dedicate all my time to the blog. I’ve realised that I work really well independently and am very self-motivated. I love deciding my own working hours and LOVE being my own boss.

  1. That I can’t handle hostel dorm rooms

My 6 week backpacking trip through Vietnam and The Philippines was without a doubt the highlight of my year, but it definitely made me learn lots of things about myself. Overall I am an easy going traveller and can happily stay in basic accommodation as well as luxury hotels. But at the ripe-old age of 26, I am definitely over sharing a dorm room! My boyfriend and I shared a dorm with about 8 others in Vietnam and the coughing, snoring and strange midnight noises were too much for me.

  1. That I don’t like routine

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like routine, but I can’t work out if this is a good thing or a bad thing (opinions welcome). I have a creative mind and I feel at my most stimulated when I am doing something completely new or in a new environment. If a day brings a new experience, it’s a great day. Having an extreme routine makes me feel down and trapped, so I guess that’s why I am so much happier now than I was at the beginning of 2016. I know that having a routine is an important part of reality and daily life, but I love to mix mine up. My sister and I laugh because she is the complete opposite, and couldn’t live without her precise daily routine.

  1. That I have a strong immune system

I’m very proud of the fact that in all my 15 trips of 2016, I didn’t get ill once. I tried adventurous food, brushed my teeth with the local water and YES I ate the salad leaves. This may be sheer luck, but I am putting it down to the fact that I have one hell of a stomach and immune system. This is a virtual thank you to my gut.

  1. That I didn’t want to live in London anymore

At the beginning of 2016 I made the big decision to move out of London. After moving there aged 21, I got to call London my home for 4 whole years. I made the most of every day, but I always knew I didn’t want to be there forever. My boyfriend and I decided to relocate to Leeds to be closer to our families and have a cheaper cost of living. We are so happy now and are looking forward to buying a house together. I still come to London regularly for meetings and events – I’m only a 2 hour train ride away.

  1. That I am rubbish at eating spicy food

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I LOVE food, but 2016 is the year that I finally admitted that I can’t handle spicy food. I often try a curry and think it tastes delicious, but the burning mouth and nose running hinders me from enjoying it. I get the Lemon and Herb dressing at Nandos and even that is a struggle. Fajita’s set my mouth ablaze. I wish this wasn’t the reality, but sadly it is, and I’ve come to accept it.

hat-rydale-lake

  1. That I have great bartering skills

If there is one skill I am immensely proud of, it’s my ability to barter. Whether I’m in Camden Market or in a hilltop Hmong village in Vietnam, I drive a hard bargain and I know exactly how to get it. Of course, it’s important for vendors to make a profit from what they’re selling, but no rip-off prices get past me.

  1. That I can’t wait to have ‘grown up’ things

Until this year, I was quite happy in my London flatshare, taking public transport everywhere (or an Uber if I was feeling flush). However, now I really can’t wait to OWN things. I want to own my own house, and drive around in my own car. They’re two such basic things, but they’re two of my top priorities now.

  1. That I know which friends I am going to have for life

People always say that as you get older, you realise friendships are about quality not quantity. Well, those people are totally right. My two best friends live far away from me, but we speak every day and make the effort to see each other. I know that we will be friends for life and I can’t wait to be a bridesmaid for one of them next year in The Lake District.

  1. That I am a social media addict

I suppose it’s understandable being a professional blogger, but I am genuinely addicted to social media. Most of the time I’m not even posting anything, I am just aimlessly scrolling and consuming irrelevant content. I am working really hard on my social media engagement, which takes up so much time, but I know I need to switch off and step away from my phone more. It’s a New Years Resolution of mine!

  1. That I shouldn’t compare myself to others

In such a digital world, it’s easy to feel defined by the number of likes, followers and comments we receive. I feel the pressure of this myself, but I often remind myself that numbers aren’t everything. I realised this year that I shouldn’t compare myself to others, because there will always be someone more successful, more established and more dynamic than me (at least that’s how it might look from the outside). This type of intense comparison is punishing and will never make anyone feel good about themselves. Instead of comparing myself to other bloggers, writers and professionals that I admire, I now take inspiration from them and try to channel their amazing creativity in to my own work. Also, if they’re doing a great job, I’m going to tell them!

  1. That I am proud of what I have achieved

I have realised that I am immensely proud of everything that I have achieved in 2016 and of the risks I have taken. So far everything has paid off and I couldn’t be happier in the direction my life is heading. Whilst there may be millions of blogs on the internet, each one is unique and tells its own story. So why compare yours to another? I am feeling more focused than ever and can’t wait to hit the ground running in 2017.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has followed, read and supported my blog in 2016. I create all of my content with you in mind, and without you my leap of faith this year wouldn’t have been possible. Happy New Year and here’s to an amazing 2017.

What did you think of the 12 things I’ve learned about myself in 2016? Is there anything you can relate to? I’d love to hear from you x 

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17 Comments

  1. 2nd January 2017 / 4:38 pm

    Such a lovely post, so much I can relate to. Have an amazing 2017 Jess! x

  2. 2nd January 2017 / 4:00 pm

    I relate so much to a lot of your points…..especially not comparing yourself, being your own boss, and OMG spicy food! I have total guts of steel (9 weeks in India – no problem) but when I lived in Thailand my most used phrase was Mae Sae Prik aka no chilli 😉

  3. 1st January 2017 / 8:04 pm

    This was really great to read so thank you for sharing. I agree about social media and comparing yourself to others – it is all too easily done!

  4. 31st December 2016 / 2:46 pm

    What a brilliant year you’ve had! So pleased you’ve made some great decisions and learnt so much. Here’s to an equally amazing 2017 xxx

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 3:07 pm

      Hi Polly, thanks for your lovely comment. I’ve definitely learned a lot this year. Congratulations to you too, on an incredibly successful year! You’ve brought a beautiful baby into the world and still excelled in your career – absolutely inspiring! Wishing you a happy, successful and adventurous 2017 to you and your little family xx

  5. 31st December 2016 / 2:25 pm

    Sounds like a great year, Jess, and what a nice way to end the year on a high note. All the best for 2017! x

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 3:04 pm

      Hi Katie! Thanks for your lovely comment. Wishing you a happy, successful and adventurous 2017 🙂 xx

  6. 31st December 2016 / 2:20 pm

    Ahhh what an amazing year, Jess! I’m also starting to get itchy feet about not owning things!! Reading this has certainly made me reflect on what I’ve learned this year. So excited to see you next month, it’s been too long! Lots of love xxx

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 3:03 pm

      Thanks Lauren! Ooh glad it’s not just me that feels like they’re growing up! We probably have lots in common about that. I am so excited to buy a house. Can’t wait to see you in Jan 🙂 xxx

  7. 31st December 2016 / 11:53 am

    Wow, sounds like a pretty great year! I’m glad you’re enjoying working for yourself, and congrats on the move! I’d love to live in London for a few years some day but I think you’ve done it perfectly! I found it really interesting that you don’t like routine (as the opposite I think is more common) but seems to coincide brilliantly with your choice to be a full time blogger – you can do whatever you want!!

    Definitely agree with 9 and 11 – true friends are definitely the most important. I’m learning this at the moment too, I’ve noticed that even though at uni I don’t have loads of great friends and at times have felt quite alone, I’ve got a handful of really brilliant friends back home that I will stay in touch with forever and I’ve met a couple of amazing people here at uni that I can see us being bridesmaids for each other! And not comparing yourself to others … YES! That’s always my resolution/something I need to work on – and tbh I think that maybe taking a break from social media (ie instagram and facebook) will help me with this, because body confidence issues is definitely the main one for me!!

    My main lesson and aim for next year is that I want to travel – If I’ve learnt anything this year its that I want to travel and have fun experiences before it’s too late and this is the year I will do that!!

    I’ve just come across your blog but absolutely love your writing style and topic choices, can’t wait to read more in the new year!!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 3:00 pm

      Hi Josie! Thanks so much for this lovely comment. I am so pleased you have found my blog and so happy you like my blog style – this feedback has made my day! Everyone is different about routine and I know it’s an important part of life! Maybe I should try to embrace routine a little more.

      Remember your friends are about quality not quantity. When something goes wrong you only really need a couple of people to get you through! Taking a break from social media now and then is so important and something I’m also going to work on in 2017. It all stems from comparing yourself to others… which I am going to stop as of today!

      Wishing you an amazing 2017 and thanks again for your comment. Hope you come back to my blog soon xx

  8. LuxeStyle
    31st December 2016 / 8:13 am

    I can’t eat spicy food either, which is a little annoying at times. I definitely try not to compare myself to others although it is often hard not to x

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 2:57 pm

      Thanks lovely! Not comparing myself to others is definitely the most important thing I’ve learned I think. It makes so much difference to your happiness! The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday 🙂 xx

  9. Bella
    30th December 2016 / 2:45 pm

    Loved reading your blog! Wow we are simpler in many ways … however I’m older! Maybe still no wiser

    1. Learn to say what you please and say No
    2. Put family first
    3. Be yourself as everyone is not what they seem
    4. Keep travelling
    5. Follow your gut instinct
    6. Keep fit pays off – sometimes! I totally love spice
    7. Be kind and treat others how you would like to be treated
    8. Smile as its contagious
    9. Be true to yourself don’t be what you are not
    10. No resolutions for me! Other than make more time for me
    11. Ok for me drink less Social drinker!
    12. Help more charities

    Love Bella xx

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 2:54 pm

      Hi Bella, I absolutely LOVE your comment, thank you! I think these 12 points are lovely and I will definitely try and do these things too. Thanks for the support and the wisdom 🙂 Wishing you an amazing 2017 xx

  10. 30th December 2016 / 1:35 pm

    This was a lovely read Jess, sounds like you’re really settled and I’m glad all your risks have paid off!! Best of luck for 2017 and I look forward to reading more 🙂 Love AP xo

    Andrea’s Passions

    • Jessica
      31st December 2016 / 2:53 pm

      Hi Andrea, thanks for your lovely comment. I definitely do feel more settled than I did at the beggnning of the year. Hopefully more great things to come in 2017! Wishing you lots of happiness and success for 2017 xx