Admittedly, I sort of dragged my feet when thinking about writing this year’s annual review. It hasn’t been an easy one, and 2016 almost seemed to have a dark cloud hanging over it just waiting to drench everyone with its pain and sadness. A lot of good people were lost this year. Again, I am reminded just how fortunate I am to have all of my nearest and dearest here to see in the new year with me, but that doesn’t take away their pain for the love they’ve lost. However I promised myself that this post would not be negative, it will only focus on the milestones that I hope to look back on fondly!
Darren got a job!
After almost a year of being unemployed and us both just making it by on my salary, he got a job doing something that he loves. It was the first time we felt the financial relief we so long dreamt of, and I actually felt the air fill my lungs and knots loosen from my neck – it was amazing.
Darren’s new job is based at home, so we both get to see Axl grow up.
For about two weeks, Darren went back to working an office job where he worked 8-5pm, but seeing as I start work at 5pm, we could never quite adjust to never having time to do the things that we needed to get done. When do people go to the bank? Do shopping? Cook? When you’re both working two different timezones, it sort of feels impossible! But the hardest part was seeing the depression sinking in, I noticed how disappointed Darren was in missing Axl’s latest milestone.
I rebranded my blog and made growing it, my focus.
I waved farewell to Beauty and The Baby Blog and welcomed my new brand, By Megan Kelly with the vision to one day have my own line of products. It seems silly to start working on it now, but I’m always thinking long-term and figured there was no better time to rebrand than in the beginning of the new year.
I spent a lot of time learning new things.
I think that this year has really been the year of learning just how much I can do on my own and gaining the confidence to do it. I spent late nights working on things like SEO, reading eBooks, listening to podcasts and attending webinars just so that I had a better understanding of how I can model my blog into something that I want it to be. I am not quite there yet, but it’s a process and as with every thing you have to constantly work on it, evolve with it and make it your passion.
I gained confidence in me.
This year was the first year that I took a bet on me. I decided to put myself out there in all ways; friendships, careers, blogging opportunities and much more. It wasn’t until I was at a blogging event with people who I have admired for so long, that it really sunk in. I noticed that I was so much more confident – no longer constantly worrying about if I was doing the appropriate thing, worrying if people liked me, stressing that they probably didn’t. I didn’t feel like I had to do or be anything other than the person that I am, it was freeing.
I shared my biggest vulnerabilities, in hopes of helping you through yours!
The #BMKBucketlist (which is in desperate need of updating – that’s on my todo list for early 2017) was probably one of my biggest eye-openers. I really started to realize that my body isn’t as limiting as my mind can be, and started doing things that I never thought I’d have the confidence to do – from wearing bold prints and colours, rocking dresses without tights, wearing a costume without shorts, and actually going to gym (and enjoying it), I felt free to live a life that didn’t revolve around what I felt about my body and instead learnt to love, nurture and embrace my body.
I gained the best friendship.
You know how Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are notoriously known for their Bromance? I finally discovered a friendship just like theirs and I now realize why the world sits in awe of it all the time. My dearest and best, who I had stalked for a good few years decided to take our Twitter acquaintanceship to Whatsapp – we were like official guys, and I felt so cool about it! I have always struggled with keeping friendships, especially with people my own age, and it usually results in me keeping to myself, but now that I have this majestic AF friendship – I can’t imagine my life without a Lydia. There’s nothing quite like having that friend you tell about all your biggest and most exciting news, but also the person who you share your biggest disappointments and failures with. It’s refreshing having another human understand that you work all the time, or that sometimes life is busy and I might not message today, but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong – I am just damn busy! Best of all, Lydia has challenged me in every way I know how. From not always agreeing about everything (and both being too hard-ass to step down), to teaching me that everyone has a story but what you choose to do with the present is what matters the most. 2017 you best make meeting this terrific woman a thing. But thank you 2016, for bringing her into my life.
We made a baby!
Had you asked me in January if I’d be pregnant right now, I’d probably laugh so hard I’d pull an ovary. A few of you have asked for an update on Darren’s condition. Just before we moved into our new house, Darren got an infection in his sperm tubes. Now, three months later, it has been diagnosed as chronic and we don’t really know what’s to come next. Even if he were to go ahead and remove his sperm tubes, there is only a 50% chance that he will experience any pain relief, so the last few months have really just been anti-biotic after anti-biotic, combined with painkillers, lots of frozen peas, microwavable heat packs, and a husband who finds very little joy because he is plagued with chronic pain. It just so happened that at the same time he started with the pain – we started thinking of having another baby, but after chatting to doctors it seemed that it was unlikely, so I didn’t get my hopes up. Surprisingly, after only a month – there were two perfect lines and the confirmation that someday soon we’d actually be parents to two kids, with shampoo-advert hair. I don’t think my family quite understand the emotions that came with it, because it was like we had finally said yes to having another kid and then had that option snatched away in the same breath, filling me with guilt and regret, wondering what if we started a monthly earlier, etc. But as life would have it, all things work out in the end, and we are in fact expecting baby #2 in late June.
I let it go.
I feel like this year has been very freeing. I let go of my biggest insecurities, my darkest thoughts, and a lot of my anger and hurt. Whether it was the hurt that came with the non-existent relationship with my biological dad, or the pain of what lead to my parent’s divorce, or just the little voice that held me back, this year was very much about conquering the darkness and learning to dance in the light.
I gave myself credit.
I am my own worst critic and still struggle to tell myself well done. But this year, I have learnt to own my career (‘coz heck, I am great at it!), I have learnt how to pitch companies on exciting ideas that I am working on and not to take it personally when they don’t always reply. I learnt to value my time and skills. Best of all, I learnt that I can say no, because sometimes not every opportunity is made for me but that knowing when to say yes might feel out of your comfort zone, but sometimes that’s where you grow the most.
I was on TV!
Ha! I almost forgot about this one. But yes, I was interviewed on local TV, sharing the basics of blogging and how others can get started. I was also featured in a few magazines and on other blogs and was even invited to speak at first official #ECMeetup where I shared how bloggers can monetize their blogs.
I learnt to trust and gained beautiful friendships in the process.
As mentioned, I have always struggled with making friends. It’s probably because of everything that happened as a teenager and quite possibly because I changed schools more than 10 times. Anyway, this year, I learnt to appreciate the friends who cheered me on, I put trust into many, got hurt a long the way, but in the end, I realized that I have loads of people both near and far, who are there for me, who I can count on. Those people are who matter. That’s all.
I think that about wraps up the year. I’d love to know what were your biggest highlights in 2016?