Well, well, well. What a year it was! 2016 was a really big one for me. A big, messy, crazy, spontaneous, horrible, fantastic year. A lot of things happened. So many things, in fact, that when I look back it’s hard to believe that it all happened in just one year. I’ll never really know if the decisions I made were the right ones but things are going pretty well at the moment so I’d hazard a guess that I did an okay job.

One big thing that happened in 2016 – I ACTUALLY stuck to a New Year’s resolution. Crazy, I know! A resolution I know many of us, including myself, make every single year – I lost weight! In 2016 I managed to shed seven kilos. This was a huge deal for me. I have five more to go before I hit my goal weight… but the point is I got started and I made a massive difference in my life. The gym is somewhere I actually really enjoy being these days and that in itself is a huge accomplishment for the person I was twelve months ago.

Another big thing to happen in 2016 – I booked my first solo overseas trip. After dreaming about travelling again since I came back from my school trip to Italy in 2011, I have finally followed through and I am now less than a month away from my departure to Japan. This big thing couldn’t have happened without the BIGGEST thing to happen in 2016…

In June I moved back to Cairns and left my Sydney life behind. This was by far the most life altering thing I have done in the last four years. I definitely didn’t take the decision lightly… but as I was crying into my lunch after being treated badly at work and feeling like I had absolutely no one in Sydney to talk to, I called my mum and said “I’m quitting my job this afternoon and I’m moving home in two weeks”. The next two weeks were a crazy whirlwind. Saying goodbye becomes really hard once you realise what you’re leaving behind. I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety in Sydney and I had some really great friends who did all they could to be there for me. I also had my entire adult life there – when I moved I had only just turned seventeen! But I did it. I packed up half my life and threw the other half in the bin, I packed the back of my Honda Jazz, and I drove all the way from Sydney to Cairns.

I’ve been back for seven months now and I have already achieved so much more in those seven months in Cairns than I ever would have in Sydney. I have booked and paid for a three week vacation in Asia, I was one of the lead characters in an original musical, I have been at my new job for six months (and I LOVE it), I turned 21 and got to have a night out with some of my very best friends, and I am actually really, genuinely happy – that last one is a big deal.

So here’s what I learnt from 2016:

  1. You aren’t happy? Say so, and change whatever is making you sad.
  2. A road trip on your lonesome can be extremely therapeutic.
  3. Just because you have to put a dream on hold doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
  4. Your job isn’t meant to be emotionally difficult – if it is, something is not okay.
  5. Heartbreak hurts just as much the second time but you will rebuild much faster.
  6. You can’t plan your whole life. You just can’t.
  7. It is possible to be homesick for a place you didn’t even realise was home.
  8. Fierce female friendships are the most important ones when in your early twenties.
  9. Life is extremely short – it’s time to start living the way you really want to.
  10. Don’t waste time with someone who doesn’t really and truly make your cells dance.