I must give credit where credit is due so I want to share what blogger and author Cait Flanders https://caitflanders.com/ shared with her readers from Daisy for “No Sidebar” https://nosidebar.com/intentionally/ , which is ten questions I have copied below to end the 2017 intentionally. I encourage all of you to visit the URL I pasted in the previous sentence, and to answer and reflect on your 2017.  

2017 was generally good to me, but after answering the ten questions, I realized how I could have made it a better year for myself. I hope if you do decide to take the time to answer these questions, they will also help you realize how much power you hold in making your day to day life more meaningful and intentional. 

What makes this year unforgettable?

Miracle of miracles, I became engaged to my love Brian of two years and a bit. When I initially turned 42 years old in early August of 2015, I was speaking with Brian, but he was dating someone else, previous to a trip I took with my Mom in May 2015 he was dating another girl. I assumed he was just another player, dangling the proverbial carrot baiting me to hang on. After dating a variety of men which rarely went past a first date, I had finally resigned to the “fact” I would be single for the rest of my life, and after all the jerks I had met or general let downs, I was okay with it. I couldn’t forget Brian, he was so eloquent with his words, wrote in full sentences (good grammar & spelt words correctly – YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT), he was my wizard of words oozing with the stuff I love intellect, wit and a true gentleman. I stayed in touch with him despite reeling from the rejection of someone getting to him first and twice before I could! Thankfully, he wasn’t happy and couldn’t stop thinking of me, so we had our first date on October 9, 2015 and the rest is histoire.

So, for all the ladies out there, who think finding love past 40 is impossible (what is the stat??? you are more likely to be attacked by a terrorist than marry), it isn’t impossible. I like to say if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone, and anyone who truly knows me – knows if there is hope for me, there is hope for anyone.

What did you enjoy doing this year?

Funny enough, I have enjoyed purging and challenging myself to let go of items I have held onto for a long time. I am always picking up items and contemplating their relevancy to contributing positively to my life. Having less stuff is truly liberating. 

What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

The one person I am most grateful for besides my fiancé is my Mom. This Christmas, my Mom wasn’t feeling well, so I helped a lot around the house with preparing meals, cleaning, tidying, and doing other chores. I always knew my Mom was a strong woman, but with my Dad’s health declining, I saw how much he relies on her, and how much effort she has to put in so that he is able to stay home with her in their house. I have so much respect for her, and despite her driving me crazy with questions and incessant nagging about trivial matters, I love her with all of my heart, and she still has time to help the poor, and make sandwiches for church functions. She is a Saint as far as I am concerned.   

What’s your biggest win this year?

My biggest win this year is trying to focus on the people who love me and matter the most, and letting go of those who don’t care much about me, and realizing it is okay if everyone doesn’t like me. What is most important is do I like me? I do like me, I am not perfect by any means, I am still growing, and still learning, but all in all, I like who I am. 

What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

The documentary on fast fashion “The True Cost” https://truecostmovie.com/ directed by Andrew Morgan and produced by Livia Firth. It devastated me, made me sick to my stomach I was living in such ignorance. I blogged about this amazing documentary which features Colin Firth’s wife, Livia Firth, and designer Stella McCartney, along with others. The True Cost brought to light regardless of how amazing a deal may be appear, nothing is worth the cost of someone else’s safety or equitable wages. Not to mention how fast fashion is essentially disposable fashion and where does this all go, it ends up in landfills and the process to make cheap clothing ends up polluting our waters and earth. When I do shop now, I am trying my very best to only purchase ethically sourced/sustainable clothing. I do care where my clothing is made who makes it. I hope being ethical when it comes to fashion becomes a new trend, and perhaps we can put an end to fast fashion, or at least slow it down, as it is destroying lives and harming the earth.   

Me in my sustainably sourced down feather vest by Patagonia (no geese were harmed in the production of this vest) & my second hand thrift shop striped top! 

What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

For 2017, my number one worry was relocating out West for a career opportunity which presented itself to Brian. Not to go into too much detail, Brian declined the offer, but for a month, I was miserable with worry as he went through the process of interviews and we discussed the different options of us being temporarily separated until his condo sold, and I worried about finding employment once I relocated, and making new friends. All for nothing I worried, which was also a great lesson for me. In the famous lyrics of Guns N Roses “Mr. Brownstone”, “I don’t worry about nothin’ cuz worryin’ is a waste o’ my time”. 

What was your biggest regret and why?

My biggest regret is not believing in myself more and allowing other’s opinions and words to impact my career aspirations. No one has the right to tell anyone what they can or cannot do. 

 If I want to do something, I can make sure I learn how to do it, and do it well. I bombed an interview not based on my answers, but the lack of confidence I gave in presenting my answers.  I know my abilities, and I know my work ethic, but in the end I was essentially told I lacked the confidence to be effective in the role. Know yourself and believe in yourself, no one knows you as well as you know yourself and what you can and cannot do. 

What’s one thing that changed about yourself?

I am learning to say no and I am learning to trust myself, I am not quite there, but I tend to be a people pleaser and take on things I don’t want to do out of guilt. I also tend to be influenced by others opinions which have more often than not have turned out to be wrong. I have said no more than I used to without having to fib around the whys I have said no. Still need to work on this. 

What surprised you the most this year?

If I am 100% honest, Trump continuing to be the President of the United States for close to one year and how he is able to get away with being so “WOW” – let’s just leave it at that. 

Also, the “Me Too” movement, which surprises me in a couple of ways… I have never considered myself to be a feminist, but this year I have found myself feeling very much in the “girl power” mode and proud to be a woman. I am pleasantly surprised by the actual repercussions which have been implemented upon sexual predators in the public spot light. I am proud of all of my 
“sisters” who have come forward and shared their stories with the general public, instead of hiding in shame and fear. Women are taking back their power in a huge way, which gives the loud statement of “We’re not going to take it anymore and don’t mess with us”. I have never been more proud to be a woman than I am this year of 2017. 

If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?

I am constantly growing and learning, as we all are. If I could go back to January 1st, 2017, I would tell myself to be positive and encouraging to Brian in pursuing his dreams, to keep my fears and anxieties to myself, as I sadly believe I helped cost him a wonderful career opportunity as he was worried about my happiness. I would tell myself to not waste time worrying and plotting out plans when there are unknowns and to trust in God, and everything will work out. I would tell myself to schedule time for me, and to write more, as one of my greatest pleasures in life is writing. I would stop hating and becoming upset over people or the actions of others, when you devote energy to hating someone, it only poisons you. I would practice daily gratitude and a minimum of five minutes of prayer daily to thank God for what I do have and release my worries to Him. 

 I also would have encouraged myself to slow down and unplug more, to not put unnecessary pressures on myself to work from home and also, to keep up with social media world. 
I hope you enjoyed reading my answers, I benefited more than I thought I would on answering these thought provoking questions. 

You can buy the above print off of Etsy.  Not an ad, just sourcing image.

Me above enjoying Nova Scotia’s beautiful Peggy’s Cove
Peace and Love – Rachel x