What do 2016 and my ex-boyfriends have in common? All revealed below. 

Years are a little like relationships.

They typically kick off with a bang (of one kind or another..), everything’s new and exciting, you start out with the best of intentions, and then, either...

a)    Things keep ticking along nicely if you keep putting in the effort and keep that spark alive, or,

b)   Things start to fizzle. Things don't go to plan, people mess up, romance and resolutions are replaced by routine, the excitement fades and it’s time to move on.

If last year is like an ex-boyfriend, 2016 was the third-longest relationship I’ve been in. A 365-day long romance that now joins the ranks as third equal with 26 others after we called it quits two weeks ago. 

This post may only be hitting the blog now but I started to look back on the year that was two days before we went our separate ways. (It turns out that, when you’re living inside a tent and outside of phone reception, and are busy doing little other than dodging mosquitos and campfire smoke (yes, I went camping), you get a lot of thinking time in).

As a "new year", 2016 certainly brought a lot of ‘new’ with it. A new job, new house (and accompanying mortgage), new friends, new family dynamics. New that came from trying never-done-before things, new that was forced from breaking with the old, new that was welcomed in the form of highs, and new that was reluctantly lived through in the form of lows.

In the past, my break ups with ex-boyfriends have been met with friends dishing up equal amounts of chocolate, wine and advice. And their most repeated and relevant words of wisdom were that to appreciate the good, you’ve got to experience the bad – i.e. the dickheads and the dropkicks. I may not have listened to, or believed them, when I was struggling to see past the pile of tissues in front of me, but I can now say that those words are not only absolutely true, but are as applicable to ex-boyfriends as they are to ex-years.

The bad parts of a relationship, of a year, of anything, suck. They always have, they always will. At the time it’s always hard to get through them or see past them but as we always find out, we do eventually come out the other side, and the bad are what make those good times even better, the grass even greener and us that little bit stronger and wiser.

In 2016, my family ‘broke up’. But that made my own relationships so much stronger and buying our first home – where one day we’ll bring up our own little family – that much more exciting and significant.

In 2016, I quit a job and threw myself into a new job in a new role, new industry and without giving myself a sanity break (i.e. a vacation) along the way. But that very change and hardwork introduced me to a platform and people that I adore, it's the reason you're reading this, it meant that each weekend was embraced as a chance to get out and explore and it will make this year’s travels all the more rewarding.  

In 2016, I begrudgingly said goodbye to close friends as they left to say hello to the rest of the world. But when others returned home (some for good, and some for quick 12-hour stopovers), it made seeing them that much sweeter, and the thought of joining those far away even more tempting and exciting. 

The lows that our lives encounter are what make the highs, well, high. We wouldn't have the highs without them - after all, something can only be high (or low) when it's compared to something else, right? And I love what Jacey Duprie of Damsel in Dior said – “You can find life in the low moments too.” Amen to that.

Don’t get me wrong, 2016 wasn’t a year that I'd rather forget. It was quite the opposite. A lot of the year was incredible – some of the highlights feature below – and it's thanks to those 365 days - the good, the bad and the ugly - that have set up these next 365 to be even more epic. Unlike most Hollywood films, 2017 is one sequel that I can promise you will be better than the last. In fact, you might just want to stay tuned.

So to 2016, farewell. You’ve been an absolute blast and a total b*tch, but it's time we went our separate ways. 

2017, bring it on. I already have a feeling we're going to get along just famously. 

j x


LifeJamie BarrettLife