Oh 2016, you’ve been a right stinker on the world.
Although, on a personal level, you’ve been alright. You’ve let me continue to write for a living, you’ve let me explore my own happiness a bit more, and heck, you’ve even let me open a Help To Buy ISA. And for all those things I’m v grateful. Growing up and hitting my late twenties hasn’t been anything like I expected, but it’s also been more peaceful and full of opportunity than I could ever have dreamed. So for that, have a big sexy size hug from a girl who hates hugs.
Here’s everything I’ve learned this year…
1. Eyeshadow primer is a complete make-up game changer for anyone with above average face grease. IT KEEPS YOUR EYE SHADOW ON ALL DAY. ALL DAY! And there’s not a cakey crease in sight. What a delight. Thank you beauty gods, my prayers have been answered.
2. You have no control over the big things – the things like who’ll be president, terrorist attacks, or racism, so it’s important to make the little things count. To show kindness wherever you can and to make people, both strangers and friends, feel like maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all.
3. Never ever leave your luggage unattended on a train luggage rack. EVER. Unless you want to fork out the equivalent of a week for two in New York on replacing everything in it…
4. Twenty six is the age when people (some of whom you barely know) think comments like ‘you’ll be next’ or ‘so when you guys having kids’ or ‘wahey, better start planning the wedding’ is an acceptable topic of conversation. Y’know what’s nice? Talking about the weather.
5. Keeping plants alive is 75634756 times harder than keeping cats alive. This year I’ve planted about 40 bulbs (and seen nothing grow), killed two cactuses, one hydrangea and a basil plant. Maybe kids aren’t for me?
6. Acne can hit you at any age and it can be really frickin’ difficult to get rid of. It’s not like oh hey lemme just get my bottle of Clearasil, it’s more like hey let me aggressively take over your life and self-esteem and ruin all make-up application hence forth. The fucker.
7. You can’t make everyone like you. You can be as amazing and glittery and babin’ as you want, there’s still going to be people who are like NOPE, HANNAH GALE IS SUCH A DICK. If there are people out there who don’t like kittens or Taylor Swift, then there’s going to be people out there who don’t like you. As long as your number ones aren’t turning round and telling you you’ve become a <insert loads of mean swearwords here>, you’re doing OK. Just keep doing you.
8. Travel blogging isn’t really my thing. I came into this industry believing that success was shaped a lot like prancing around white beaches with other bloggers on trips hosted by brands, and actually, that’s not what makes me happy. So, rather than saying yes to those trips and then moaning that they’re not as glam and fun as they look on social media, I’ve just started saying no. And y’know what? It feels really ruddy good. I’d rather work my butt off to travel the world with my friends and family instead.
9. Communication is the secret key to feeling content. Whether that’s just laying out everything in your head to a brand over email about a sponsored campaign and making sure you’re both on the same wave length, or sending a text to someone to let them know they mean a lot to you, or just actually talking about the big scary things in your relationship, communicating makes your head feel a lot clearer.
10. Having a support network is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health. I mean, I’ve known this for a while, but this year I’ve really reaped the benefits of having a physical face-to-face support network as well as one over Whatsapp. I’ve made some great local friends recently – people like Chloe and Erica and Debs and Becca, and it’s stopped me getting so stuck inside my own head.
11. Work shouldn’t be your everything. Yes, it’ll be nice when you die for people to say ‘she worked hard’, but don’t you also want them to say ‘she was kind, and funny, and honest and warm?’ Be remembered for being a person people want to be around, as well as someone who’s determined and ambitious. This year, I think I found better balance in my offline and online life. I learned to stop and say no, and to enjoy the moment more with the people who matter.