2017 was the year of work. It was hectic and intense and for most of the year I was working 60 hours a week and spending very little time looking after myself, getting anything done at home or spending quality time with my husband.
The hard work was necessary for me to succeed in a role that I had never worked in before and to progress to a level where I would have the potential to increase my income, after taking a substantial drop in salary to start at the bottom of new career. I finally got promotion in September and a revised contract and salary package are now being negotiated. So money will not be as tight as it has been this last year.
It has not been all bad though. Having less money has made me realise that I don’t need to spend so much on material things. It made me sit up and take stock of what was really important. I also realised that I was unhappy with the buy buy buy culture of Instagram that I had got sucked into over the last couple of years. I became more aware of what was good for me and what wasn’t.
I did manage to find time for a little enjoyment and the high point was a fabulous weekend away at Summer Camp with two instagram friends.
However I wasn’t very good at practicing self-care. A pretty bad foot/ankle injury halted my fitness journey for a couple of months, coinciding with the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I finished the year feeling tired and unmotivated
I have been reflecting on 2017 with the view to making changes in 2018 and I have asked myself 15 questions about the past year:
1. If you had to describe your 2017 in three words, what would they be?
Busy. Chaotic. Challenging.
2. What or who are you most thankful for?
My husband. For supporting me in my career and taking care of me and all the household chores without complaint and allowing me to be a little selfish.
3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
That I love working with children and that I can succeed through hard work and dedication.
4. Which new skills did you learn?
Leadership. For the first time in my career I have taken on a role where I a, responsible for managing a large team and that I am an inspirational leader who motivates and empowers the people who work for me.
5. What was the best compliment you received this year?
That I good at my job and being given promotion to become a member of the Senior Leadership Team at my school.
6. What had the biggest positive impact on your life this past year?
Having to live on a smaller income forced me to re-evaluate how I spend my money and made me realise that I don’t need material things to make me happy.
7. What new habits did you cultivate?
Going to bed earlier.
8. What was your favourite moment spent with friends?
A weekend at Summer Camp with two good friends covering our faces in glitter and dancing non stop until 2am in the rave tent.
9. What experience would you love to do all over again?
10. What was the biggest problem you solved?
Dealing with staffing issues at work when restructuring the support services in the school. I was subjected to some very unpleasant behaviour by staff I had to line manage. It made me develop a thick skin very quickly.
11. What one thing would you do differently and why?
Maintain a better work life balance that would have enabled me to spend more time on my home and personal life and achieve the fitness goals I had set myself and have progressed further with our home renovations.
12. What was the best gift you received?
A Christmas holiday to Portugal paid for by my husband to give me a well deserved break and to enable us to spend some quality together.
13. What single achievement are you most proud of?
Succeeding at a job that I never thought I was capable of doing and getting a promotion and making a name for myself in School Business Management in my local area.
14. What difficulties did you encounter this past year?
Having an accident that left me with a severe ankle sprain and ligament damage to my foot which meant that I could not exercise for over 8 weeks. It left me in pain for weeks and made me very reliant on others. I felt depressed for a while and found it hard to get back on track once the injury had healed. I lost confidence and motivation.
15. How did your relationships with your family develop?
I feel that I didn’t spend enough quality time with my husband and took all the things he did for me for granted. I did not appreciate him enough. I had a tough time with the rest of my family as old unresolved issues finally came to the surface. However I did finally sit down with my Dad and discuss some things from my childhood that had left some deep rooted insecurities. Things are starting to improve and we are working at rebuilding a relationship.
It has been interesting looking back and answering these questions. It has made me realise that the year wasn’t bad but it did fly by in a blur and I only have a couple of worthwhile memories of spending time with friends and family. I did achieve an awful lot in my career in a short space of time. I didn’t realise I was ambitious or that I would ever be totally immersed in a place of work. But I have realised that working in a school is not just a job, it is a vocation and when what you do impacts on the lives of young children you give it your all to ensure that they have the best possible opportunities in life.
I am hoping to create a little more balance in 2018 and achieve as much in my personal life as I have managed in my work life.
Why don’t you have a go at answering the questions above. I would like be to hear the outcome and how 2017 was for you.
Thank you for reading.