Naming my end of 2016 blog “growth” feels counterintuitive because, in many ways, this year I have shrunk. After having left a sum total of 4.5 stone (28.6 kg) behind in 2016, I’m going into 2017 lighter and healthier than I’ve ever been before in my adult life, and a lot smaller physically. In fact, I am under three-quarters of the size I was this time last year, but I’m bigger in so many ways too.
This year I have both gained and lost many things on the path to progress. I have lost weight; lost body hang ups; lost my mind a few times; lost a lot of emotionally damaging behaviour; lost a relationship; lost a family member; lost my national identity (Brexit anyone?); and a sense of world order (thanks, Donald). I have lost a brother to a different continent; lost 8 inches of hair; lost a whole wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit; lost some bad habits (and gained some new ones); and, most importantly, lost the fear that I am incapable of controlling my own destiny.
And I have gained in many ways too: I have gained new friends, and an even more profound love and respect for the old ones; a new and exciting job; a sense of self confidence and belief in myself; an inner strength; a blog; the ability to run and cycle long distances; a love for exercise; and an appreciation for myself and what I can achieve. I have seen a close family member take on cancer (and win!); watched my nephew grow into a powerhouse of positive energy and light; gained a new family member who is currently nesting in the nurturing warmth of gestation (joining us in the outside world in April 2017); lived through some amazing experiences; witnessed some beautiful things; felt a tremendous amount of love and hope; and learned a lot about myself and the world around me in the process. Of paramount importance in all of this, I have, for the first time in my life, gained a real sense of self worth, and a newfound love and appreciation for myself (although this is a life-long process and I’m still working on it).
I have run a total of: 304 km
I have cycled a total of: 1,283 km
I have cried a total of: 1,263,748 times
And I have laughed longer and harder than ever before.
I started 2016 completely terrified; afraid that, although I desperately wanted to change my life for the better by losing weight, I was fundamentally incapable of doing so. But I proved myself wrong. The result of all of this, and perhaps the greatest thing that I have learned this year that I will carry with me as I move forwards is not to fear pain, or indeed, fear itself, and that loss can actually be a catalyst for great transformation and growth. Alongside this, I have learned that progress is not always linear, and that sometimes you have to take two steps back to make a giant leap forwards. I may not be able to cling onto this confidence every day, but I’m much closer than ever before to accepting it.
Along these lines, I have set a new project for myself in 2017 around the subject of fear. So watch this space, my lovely readers, have a restful and peaceful Christmas break, and I’ll be back in the New Year with some updates!