December 30, 2014

7 Lessons I Learned in 2014

We convince ourselves of absolute truths all the time.

We say, I will always do this; I will never do that; I would behave differently as a mother/boss/bride/ when my turn comes along. And yet, we really don't know anything until faced with the circumstance.

2014 was a mind-trip. Everything I thought I knew about myself, my career and my relationships sucker punched me in the face. I watched my identity blur. I received a smack down in relinquishing control. I became an expert in adaptation. Change or be changed, became my theme.

Below are seven lessons I learned this year:

1. I am not just my job - The first question people ask when they meet someone is, "What do you do?" It is a defining question, and something I struggled a lot with in the latter half of 2014. For almost four years, I worked in an agency, in public relations, and then one day, I didn't. Before this year, I also didn't like to identify myself as a writer, because in my mind, I wasn't a real one yet. But with time, I started to find my identity beyond self-consciously answering a question at a dinner party. And guess what? I was still the same person.

2. Count the small things - This year, I got published in a print magazine, became a freelancer, gained my first real client, and started putting myself out there more as a writer. My family also welcomed two new little members, Kate and Lorenzo. While these wins may seem small on someone else's scale, they became the biggest gratitudes of my year.

3. Sea salt is medicine - Travel is never frivolous. I credit my summer trip to Greece for bringing me back to life. I hung out under cliffs. I wrote in notebooks again. And I remember floating on my back in the middle of the Ionian sea and thinking, I am the luckiest girl in the world. 

4. Scout's Honour - This year, I had to face up to some truths. Was I really upset, or was my ego taking a hit? Am I acting like a victim, or should I change my outlook? Am I saying no because of my pride, or my heart? This year I chose to tackle the questions, instead of my usual reaction of lacing up my sneakers, and running in the opposite direction. I messed up a lot along the way, but I learned more than I lost.

5. What yellow brick road? I became a time traveller in 2014. The moment I thought a door was shut, or a road had a dead-end, I found myself turning around and walking back. I created fresh starts from old paths (which makes zero sense) but for some reason, it worked.

6. Finish something - I've been talking about the process of writing a first draft of my young adult novel for an entire year. This November, I finally finished it. While the first attempt was a disaster, (re: plot holes, character flaws and spelling mistakes) it had a beginning, middle and an end. And now I'm officially on draft two!

7. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a pink coat - I don't wear pink. I don't buy pink. I don't even like pink lipstick. And yet, two weeks ago I was in Zara and I just had to have this pink faux fur coat. (See photo above) It has become my cotton-candy accessory during the greyest of winters. And I'm still breathing.

So here's to 2015 - a new year, a new outlook and a fresh start! x 


  1. #3 made me smile. Great lessons list Amanda :)

  2. Happy New Year!! Reflection is everything in order for us to move forward!! So much love to you!!

  3. Fantastic are and always have been a writer!

  4. You are an amazing writer and I always love reading your work. Happy New Year :)

  5. This is an amazing and insightful piece. Excellent Amanda

  6. This is such an amazing post Amanda. Especially love #6! I want to read draft 1!