Endings, beginnings, and some hard-won lessons from 2014

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By Belinda White 

I’ve been a little quiet this year. I have been writing, just not for an audience.

You see, it’s been a big year. A year of endings and beginnings.

I changed jobs. I went from the comfort of eight years with one mid-size agency, to a role in a bigger, global agency. New team, new clients, new world.

And then, my marriage ended. It’s a short sentence to write, but it was a long and painful process.

So as I look back on what was an epochal year in my life, there are many lessons. Let me share five that made a difference to me.

1. People are really, really good. I was genuinely surprised by the outpouring of love and support I received from people around me. And this support often came from unexpected places: people who had been on the fringes of my life all of sudden became central to it. This realisation is a delightful surprise that life throws at you, in the midst of the most painful sadness and loss.

2. You need to nurture your friendships. I have always tried to make time for my friendships (and of course I’m not always successful). But it made a huge difference to me, when I struck out on my own, to know that I had people there to support me, and hang out with me, from many different parts of my life. I didn’t nurture these friendships with a selfish end in mind, nor was I consciously stacking up friendship credits. But when the going got tough, I had amazing, generous, wonderful people around me to hold me up. (And I hope you all know who you are).

3. Once you have made one change, you have the confidence to make another. (But one change at a time is best). Changing jobs was a huge deal for me. I felt like part of a family, so leaving it was a wrench. But now I that have done it, I have a new, fresh energy. And I know that it’s always an option.

4. Money isn’t about possessions; it’s about opportunity. My brother asked me a while ago, ‘whatever happened to your plan to buy a new car?’. I told him that I remembered I’m a total tight-arse. But my somewhat boring approach to money has meant that when I was taking a long, hard look at my options, I had the financial ability to make whatever decision felt right. I wasn’t hemmed in by a lack of resources, and could shape my new life the way I wanted.

5. In the midst of chaos, routine is your saviour. No matter how sad I was, how much I cried in the toilets beforehand, or how hungover I was from too many ‘therapeutic’ wines, I never missed a workout. Lifting weights provided focus, forgetfulness and fulfilment. If I didn’t have a passion to distract me from all the pain, I don’t quite know how I would have emerged on the other side.

As I say goodbye to a tough and relentless year, I know that it is times like these that teach us the most, if we are willing to learn.

(And yes, that is my maiden name, making a reappearance). 

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  1. Your best friend this year has been your courage. You have it in bucketsfull. I’m as proud of you as anything.

  2. Beautiful piece Ms. White.

  3. Beautiful piece, Ms White. xo

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