I’ve been writing a version of this post every January since 2010. Sometimes, I sit down at my laptop knowing exactly what to say about the previous year, but occasionally I struggle to find the words. Here goes nothing…

2017 was much kinder to me and my family than the 12 months that came before it. The single wish I carried with me throughout the year was to rebuild. Rebuild myself, my health, my home and my business.

The process hasn’t been linear and the journey is far from finished. I’ve made mistakes, faced set-backs and considered giving up completely, but I’m in a much better place now than I was this time last year.

CFS and everything it entails is still a huge part of my life, but I can see the progress I’ve made and it gives me hope for the future. I’m not sure what ‘recovery’ will look like, but I’m determined to find out.

This January, I’m not interested in reinvention. ‘New year, new me’ simply doesn’t resonate. Instead, I want to build upon the work I did in 2017, continue being kind to myself, and always, always put my health first. To quote my own words from this time last year:

‘I choose being well before being busy, I choose more energy before more money and I choose self-care before self-sacrifice.’

Family portrait Amsterdam

Looking back…

In 2017, I gained new copywriting clients and produced work I’m incredibly proud of. Having previously struggled to balance the demands of self-employment with the harsh reality of chronic fatigue, I finally began to feel like my business was thriving again.

My secret? I decided to do less.

I made peace with earning just enough to get by, I said ‘no’ more often, and focussed on projects I felt truly passionate about.

It wasn’t always easy. As I watched others grow in numerical terms {pounds, dollars, likes and followers}, I constantly questioned my approach.

However, staying small has allowed my business to grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I feel I’ve refined my craft, improved my processes and attracted more of the right clients.

In 2018, I’ll be re-launching my website and introducing a range of new services. I’m excited, but I’m equally committed to keeping things simple. Prioritising my own wellbeing allows me to produce work of the highest quality and offer my clients the best possible service.

Love Audrey Portraits of Isabel and Jesse

As you would expect, the children continued to grow and change in 2017. Izzy is almost a teenager and we’re all doing our best to get to grips with what this means for us as a family. Jesse’s personality seemed to flourish in 2017. Alongside his unwavering love of Pokemon, he’s developed a passion for archaeology and all things Ancient Egypt.

The highlight of our year was definitely the week we spent in Amsterdam. Exploring the city together was an experience I’ll never forget and it’s made me even more determined to make travel a priority in 2018.

In the summer, we returned to our beloved Dorset, filling our days with trips to the beach, slow country walks, National Trust visits, and the odd cream tea. It was heavenly.

Love Audrey Kayaking at Lyme RegisLove Audrey UK Lifestyle Blog Paddling at Lulworth CoveLove Audrey Walking at Lulworth Cove

Looking forward…

To be brutally honest, I find it hard to consider the future without worrying. Worrying a good year will be followed by a bad one, that there will be more storms to weather, more personal struggles to overcome. And all this with one eye on the wider world and a society that already seems to be going up in flames.

I guess my goal for 2018 is to keep moving forward. Slowly, and while focussing on the things that bring me joy.

I’m hoping for lots of travel and adventure. So far, we have a weekend in London coming up in February and a 10-day trip to Thailand later this year.

I also want to read more, write more, and fall in love with photography all over again. I plan to create more than I consume and continue to strive for simplicity above all else. I want to notice the world around me and delight in the details. I want to be the best human I can be for the people who need me most.

How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for 2018?

Love Audrey xxx

First image by Evoke Pictures

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