What 2017 Taught Me – The Year Of Realising Stuff

What 2017 Taught Me – The Year Of Realising Stuff


At the end of 2015 Kylie Jenner made a prediction that 2016 would be The Year Of Realising Stuff. At the time we all laughed, but Miss Jenner may have been on to something, although, for me, 12 months too early. Personally, my Year Of Realising Stuff was 2017.


Within the first 2 weeks of 2017 I was told I had Cancer and there followed months of one stress after another. Cancer for me, two operations to remove it, pre-Cancer a few months later, an operation to remove it, Cancer for my mum, an operation to remove it, my brother and his wife trapped in the path of Hurricane Irma and literally being ran by the airport ground staff to the last plane to leave the island they were on, a suicide in my extended family, a friend battling addiction, another two losing babies, plus the more everyday happenings such as betrayal, hurt, stress, self-doubt and the chronic pain I’m in every day from an injury, amongst other things, and finally, sinking into depression.


All in all, 2017 was not a friend of mine.


But, with all of the crap came a lot of epiphanies. Floating just underneath the hurt and popping its head up every time a break came in the waves was realisation. Realisation about so many different things.


Not Everyone You Know Is A True Friend
This was perhaps the biggest thing I learnt this year and, probably, the lesson that hurt the most. In the times I needed them, in my darkest days, I found out who really cared. A couple of people I had always thought would have my back, and who I had been there for time and time again, were nowhere to be found. Not a call, not a text, not a DM on social media. Just silence. It still stings a little, I still think about these people, but I don’t want fairweather friends. I want people there for the good times, of course, but I also want to know they’ve got my back when times get tough and to know our friendship isn’t a one-way affair.


Live Your Best Life
Not being a millionaire obviously there’s only so much living in the fast lane I can do, plus I’ve got to do the mundane daily activities like going to work and doing housework, but it’s so important to live your best life. Be happy, work hard, play harder, surround yourself with good people. Sure, there’s going to be days that I just want to lay on the sofa like a little blanket burrito, but that’s fine – it’s not about always going on adventures, it’s about taking your life and making it the best story you will ever tell.


Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
I’m an over-thinker and an over-worrier, I always have been. But, this year has taught me that sweating the small stuff really needs to be a habit I let go of. It’s not going to come easy and I will probably always have an element of anxiety within me – it’s my personality after all – but I am certainly doing my best to let go of worry surrounding things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter too much.


Make Time For Yourself
Setting aside ‘me time’ has always been something I struggle with as I feel like it’s a luxury and there are other things I need to be doing (being an adult is an never-ending To Do list, isn’t it?) However, I am trying to set aside more time for me. Whether it’s taking time out for a bath, a facial treatment, reading a book, listening to music, or sitting down and writing, I’ve realised how important ‘me time’ is for your health and well-being and it’s definitely something I’m striving to find time for more often now.


Take Nothing For Granted
It’s so easy to take the every day for granted. We wake up, we have a shower, we eat breakfast, we walk to work, we speak to loved ones, we cuddle our pets, we sleep in our warm beds. Every day. Nothing special. But, is that right? Is it really nothing special? Every single moment of our days, no matter how mundane they may seem, are something to be cherished. We never know what tomorrow will bring – I certainly didn’t expect to be told I had Cancer at the age of 31, but it happened. I was lucky that it was caught quickly and I am so grateful for that, and I am never, ever going to take another day of my life for granted – nor anything or anyone in it – ever again.


Love Is All That Matters
I’ve always struggled with expressing emotion, it’s not something that comes naturally to me. But I’m trying to change that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to open up fully about my feelings as that’s perhaps a step too far, but I am being more open with telling people how much they mean to me. I don’t want anybody to ever be in any doubt of how much I care about them or how thankful I am to have them in my life, and I’m striving to be more open about that.


2017 may have been The Year Of Realising Things, but 2018 is definitely going to be The Year of The Shit – getting it together, giving less of it and taking none of it.


It’s onwards and upwards from here; I’m filling my life with good people and happy times from here on in.


Happy 2018 everybody – let’s make it a good one!





  1. January 17, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    I really do think that all you can do is try to fill your life with joy, because there’s so much shit to deal with that you have to make the most of when things are going well. Onwards and upwards to 2018!

    • Penny
      January 18, 2018 / 2:11 pm

      It is so true! This year I have tried to walk away from any unnecessary negativity and, honestly, it’s made all the difference! Life is so short, we have to make the most of it and not sweat the small stuff! xx

  2. Carly O'Connor
    November 14, 2018 / 9:54 am

    This was my favourite thing you have ever written. Having known you 15 years (god we are so old!) I can only say that your writing has just got better and better. Maybe I am bias but thats what I think so there x

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