“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman.
It’s 1 January 2015. It’s exactly a year since I wrote my first ever blog post. https://gabrielladriver.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/starting-as-i-mean-to-go-on
2014 has, on balance, been a pretty good one. Yes there have been a few tears along the way (mostly caused by (once again) falling for all the wrong guys!) but I’ve ended the year pretty pleased with how it’s turned out.
I saw friends get engaged, married, have babies, get new jobs. Each of them a lovely moment of happiness that I was lucky enough to share with them.
I took a few holidays; some more relaxing than others! Camogli in Italy was by far the most beautiful, France with the kids the most knackering, Cornwall with the girls the most cathartic, a mini break in Barcelona the most liberating. Thanks to everyone who shared the experiences with me.
I moved house in June. It was super stressful but my sister, Claire, Steph and Rich were my absolute rocks and I’m super happy in my Little Venice bachelorette palace. There’s always a bottle in the fridge for anyone who’d like to stop by!
I had the chance to do some cool things in work with people I like in a business that fits my values. I once again provided CV and interview coaching for army soldiers facing redundancy, became a mentor for Women1st and even got a few of my blog posts published. I got the wheels in motion to do some interesting work with a homelessness charity in 2015.
I discovered Hershesons Blow Dry Bars, Jo Malone candles and wedding photo booths.
I did fun things. Back to the Future at Secret Cinema, dancing in a Bristol nightclub with no shoes on until 3am and another brilliant Proms in the Park and Christmas panto outing are up there in my top ten. I drove a left hand drive car in France for the first time. On my own. It wasn’t so much fun!
By far my most favourite experience of 2014 was the wedding of Gemma and Paolo Carpanini in Camogli, Italy. Not only was it a wonderful celebration of marriage but it brought so many of our family together who we’d not seen for many years, especially from the Italian side. We also met some wonderful new friends with whom we shared an amazing few days and a newfound love for the occasional Aperol Spritz! The highlight for me was partying until 4am and then lying on the beach with my one of cousins to watch the sun rise over the Ligurian coastline before falling asleep in the sunshine. So many happy memories to treasure.
I popped a few corks with friends, created new experiences and memories, and laughed a lot.
So what are my big lessons from this year?
Sadly, people aren’t always who (and what) they say they are. I trust far too easily. Not everyone is honest. Not everyone is real. There are some bad people out there who won’t stop at anything to try and de-fraud you, all for their own selfish gain. But, in all of it, I’ve never compromised my values, I’ve kept my head held high and my dignity intact.
Be kind. Be nice. Always. I feel so much happier when I know I’m doing good for others. Listen. Be present. Show you care.
Love is all around me. Friends old and new have continued to radiate energy and positivity, in person and online. I really do have an amazing network of friendship and support and I learn so much from everyone I meet and spend time with. I don’t think I’d ever felt as loved this year as on my birthday. Thank you to everyone who was a part of my special day whether through online messages, cards or being there in person. Thank you also to those who helped put my pieces back together when I was a little broken and didn’t know how to do it for myself. I love you all!
So what are my hopes for 2015?
The same as I hoped for in 2014: health, love and happiness. I’d still love to meet someone special but, through some of the more difficult lessons of this year, there’s no compromise when it comes to integrity and I’d sooner be single than with the wrong person. And, of course, I’m going to continue to be the best version of myself, no matter what (or who!) life throws at me.
2015 is simply the next chapter of the story of my life.
A life well lived. A life full of laughter. A life full of love.
Thank you for sharing my journey.