31 December 2014

An ode to 2014

As each year draws to an end, I always feel in two minds about writing an ‘end of year’ post, but it’s hard to let another year pass without reflecting on the past 12 months. 2014 has been an odd one for me, a year which started amazingly well following on from a pretty sweet 2013, which swiftly turned into a roller-coaster ride come spring, before settling into a perfect year again as midnight December 31st draws closer.

“Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice.”

2014 has been the year that has changed me the most. I'm pretty sure every year I say how I've grown as a person, but I suppose we all do. With each new day comes new experiences (and challenges), which shape us and help us become the people we are today. 2014 has been the first year where I've truly felt like I'm becoming the person I'm meant to be. I feel stronger; mentally and emotionally, than I have ever felt before, and more confident and happy within myself and the way my life is turning out.

A lot of changes had to be made to feel this way though, and most of them have involved reigning myself in a little (or in some cases, a lot). 2014 has been the year where I've spent less time sat on at a PC and more time actually living my life ‘in the real world’ – and this has been the most positive change I could have ever made. No longer do I feel permanently attached to my phone, even opting for Airplane Mode most evenings for a little peace and quiet. I'm nowhere near as obsessed with social media as I used to be, and it’s taking time away from some social networks which has helped me find my feet the most.

It’s so easy to get caught up in things online, and although I love the channels I use regularly and on a daily basis, taking a step back has been a breath of fresh air. In 2013 I seriously started to edit myself online, and by doing so I felt as if who I am was becoming a distant memory – that I couldn't be myself because someone, somewhere would always take issue. But that wasn't me, it isn't who I want to be, and 2014 showed me that. I've been myself again, maybe not quite as loud and full-on as I used to be (which by any means, is a positive), but I stopped caring about what others may or may not think of me any more. Staying away from drama, from the negativity of other people, is something which has changed my complete view of life online and offline. You can make two choices in life; to be drawn in to negativity by negative people and let it control your entire being, or you can choose positivity and the people and experiences which will make you smile when you’re 110.

Another huge change in my life in 2014 has been continuing my journey to lose weight and be a healthier, happier Sophia. Although my journey is much slower than that of others, it’s a journey which I have taken in my own time – and the benefits I've reaped from doing so have been amazing. It’s been a long time since I shared a weight-loss update (and you can expect more regular updates in 2015), but I'm happy to say that my journey has continued, and I am now at the lowest weight I have been for 9 years. My attitude towards food has drastically changed, finally learning to both cook and eat normal portions rather than piling my plate as high as possible, and I've introduced more foods into my diet which help my body be a calmer, happier place.

“All great achievements require time.”

On July 17th I turned 26, but that day will forever stay in my memory for another reason – the day I graduated. After four years of studying for my Psychology degree, graduation was an emotional experience for me. Even now 5 months on, it’s hard to believe sometimes that my degree is over – receiving my degree certificate a few weeks ago made it all seem real and it finally sunk in that I wasn't studying for a degree any more, I have one. Psychology is a huge part of me and it’s something I am extremely passionate about. To have put so many years of hard work into both Psychology and getting my degree, made graduating one of the proudest moments of my life.

“Blogging is not rocket science; it’s about being yourself and putting what you have into it.”

This year has been a roller-coaster for me where this blog is concerned. I have fallen in and out of love with blogging more times than I can count, but thankfully as the year has drawn to a close the motivation which had diminished has returned ten-fold. 2014 is the first year since I've had Tattooed Tealady that I have felt the pressure of blogging. At times, there was nothing I wanted to do less than upload a new post, or take photos, or even come up with ideas. There’s been more than a few times this year where I have felt both myself and my blog have been completely inadequate – thoughts which were nothing but my own doing.

The world of blogging, and particularly beauty blogging, is constantly growing and expanding. 2014 has been a year where we have seen YouTubers and bloggers alike take the world by storm, the year that the world has finally realised how important and influential the people behind these channels can be. Although I by no means see myself in the same league as those who have fan bases bigger than most people could imagine, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this sudden spotlight on the blogging world has put pressure on those who don’t earn 6 figures a month through their channels. For a while, it took the joy out of blogging for me.

But as 2015 gets closer, my view on blogging and my reasons for continuing this blog have grown in the most positive of ways. I no longer worry about how my posts will compare to others, how my photos look compared to the blogs whose photography would fit with ease into high-end magazines. I started this blog for me, for my love of beauty and life and everything that comes with it – and finally I see the beauty in it again. Perhaps it’s a lot to do with ‘finding myself’ again, feeling more confident in being myself online as well as offline, but either way – I can’t wait to see Tattooed Tealady continue to grow in 2015. I've spent the past few weeks planning not just content, but big changes for this blog, and I honestly can’t wait to share them with you all!

“The best is yet to come.”

I feel like I've matured in 2014 (or maybe just calmed down and become rather boring), finally feeling more like the person I should be at 26. And for me, this is the biggest positive I will take from this year. I hope your year has been a good one too – but here is to an even better 2015. I wonder what the New Year will bring for us all.

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