2015 Newsletter

Inspired by friends who have done similar, this newsletter is somewhat of an experiment. Please let me know if you read it, and you’d like me to do the same next year! I don’t want to seem narcissistic in writing my own little update, but I’m also aware with a great community of friends spread over the globe, it can hard to keep in touch with what is happening in people’s lives, so if this can serve as a helpful and enjoyable update, then I’ll do it next year too! Anyway, it’ll probably be a bit scattered (like me), but here goes!
The start of the year saw me celebrate with friends in a log cabin. I remember journaling at the start of the year, trying to think about what I saw for the year and wanted. I felt really stuck. 2014 hadn’t been a very happy one for me; leaving my well established life in Australia, voyaging into the unknown and feeling “stuck” in Wales, lonely, depressed, and not sure what direction to go in next. I was determined 2015 would look different to the previous year, that I would make positive changes and get my life heading in the direction I wanted. I knew no-one could take these steps for me, and difficult though I knew it would be, I determined to make the difficult choices that would see 2015 be a year marked by positive change and establishing myself, wherever I was and however that looked.
Towards the end of January, I saw two close friends, Katie and Howell, tie the knot. I think it was the most emotional I’ve been at a wedding! Having known Howell for many years and lived with Katie, and seen their journey unfold, to witness their marriage and build a life together was truly special.
I had the honour of volunteering for Hillsong College at Colour Conference again, representing college to people and telling them how the experience had changed my life. One girl, Samantha, who I’d met at the college stand at the previous conference, came over and spoke with me again and told me how she was leaving the following month. She is now at the Hills campus and flourishing there from the looks of things, and it is so exciting to watch someone go on this journey.
In spring, I joined an improvers running group, organised by one of the coaches from Chepstow harriers. I’d completed their beginners course just before Christmas, but didn’t feel ready to join the main club, and this was the bridge I needed. We graduated from this course with a 10k run, something I’d never have imagined I could have done a few months before! I then joined the main Chepstow Harriers group at the end of May. I was terrified every single time I went, but I knew the only way to overcome that fear and to get any better was just to keep turning up. And eventually, towards the end of the year, I actually started to really enjoy it! I’ve made some amazing friends through Harriers and I’m so thankful for the club. I even won the Best Newcomer award! Running has kept me sane, given me a new focus, and helped me rebuild my self confidence. I also did my first half marathon in August! And on the year anniversary of my first 5k parkrun, I was more than 10 minutes faster and 10 kilos lighter. It just shows what you can do when you put your mind to it! And now I can’t imagine life sans running.
I started working for a local design and marketing firm as the marketing director. That all sounds very legit, until I tell you that the company is one of my closest friends business, who I’ve known since we were eleven. We’d naturally chat about how his business was going, and he eventually asked me if I could just come in for a couple of days to help him with an employee and to set some things up for him. That couple of days turned into an ongoing arrangement and it’s been great to help him in a substantial period of growth for his business. We also won the 2015 Monmouthshire Business Award for excellence in marketing.
Unfortunately, throughout this time, his beloved mother was unwell, and passed away. Trish was the glue that held their family together and truly a remarkable lady, who overcame so many odds stacked against her, to raise two wonderful young men, have a successful marriage and many successful businesses, and I know Kevin and Michael would attribute much of their own business success to her mentorship. Seeing how they’ve come together to celebrate trish and continue living happy and full lives, I know she’d be so proud of them.
I wasn’t able to make the Hillsong Conference due to Trish’s celebration of life; the first I’d missed in 10 years, since my first in Australia. I know I was where I needed to be, but missing it felt strange.
I met with an old lecturer in mid August and we had the discussion we’ve so often had before: what am I doing with my life, where do I want to be in five years time, when am I going to get a move on? Etc. With his encouragement, I applied to do Cardiff University rather last minute, and was a little shocked when I got an acceptance email telling me I start the following week! Study is tough but awesome. I’ve met some lovely people, and it’s great to feel like I’m moving forward with what I want to do.
In December, I turned 30. I’d spent much of the previous year being a bit scared about it and trying to come up with ways to avoid turning 30! I ended up visiting friends in Germany, followed by staying at my sister’s place in Austria. It was actually really nice, just hanging out with good friends, who I’ve known for years, and having a great time. I’ve half wondered about doing something to mark my 30th like “30 races for 30 years”. This would involve doing 30 challenging races throughout 2016 in order to raise money for my chosen charity (A21 – an incredible organisation that combats sex trafficking and forced prostitution). If anyone thinks this is a good idea and would maybe want to sponsor me, let me know, and I will get myself organised! Feel free to suggest races too. I’ve got a few in mind. As I’m currently madly trying to finish assignments, followed by a couple of weeks in Austria, I probably wouldn’t get started until February.
I’ve decided my motto for 2016 is “she believed she could do she did”. I’m believing great things for this year, with my study, with running, with friendships and travel and professional goals. What are you believing for?
Anyway, if you’re still reading, well done! And thank you. I hope you had a fabulous 2015 and have had some time to reflect on it, and you’re looking forward to a strong 2016. Don’t be a stranger!
Peace out xoxoxo

6 thoughts on “2015 Newsletter

  1. Awesome Jen, I love the news letter! And I read it all πŸ’œ
    Believing your 2016 will be even better than your 2015 😘

  2. Loved the newsletter. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Very honest.
    Also would love to sponsor you. Please can you let me know how.

    1. Oh! Thank you so much and so sorry for delay replying – I’ve only just seen this!
      So I’ve done my first couple of races and written my first few blogs about the 30 races for 30 years, but I’ve been too nervous to launch it! Perhaps this is the prompt I need?! If I’m going to do it, I definitely need to do it very soon, or it will be too late!


      1. Oh how we are all so good at knowing we have a great idea and then just being too nervous/afraid/apathetic (I speak for myself here) to actually take it further. But I wonder too if this is why we blog – to get that encouragement from others. We all need help and support and encouragement and often don’t get it at home or from friends. So thank you that I have been able to give you a prompt. Hope you get to read this sooner πŸ™‚ And also hope that when you send out the link to sponsor you I see it πŸ™‚ Hey send it as a message on here too???
        Also reading this has prompted me to get off my procrastinating and get on and set up those courses I keep saying i will. I am full of ideas, written thoughts and let lack the courage/motivation to get on and do it. Today I will start my website and get my courses at least sorted πŸ™‚
        Thank you XX

      2. Right, I’ve posted the new blog 😁 and committed to doing these races! Thanks for the encouragement. Good luck to you with your website and courses, you can do this! X

  3. Hi Jen,

    Yes, well I am a little tardy , but I have now read your newsletter and caught upon your news. I think you have plenty to be thankful for and proud of.
    I am feeling pretty special to be on your list and will be just as pleased to get the next annual installment. πŸ™‚

    Indeed, you may have inspired me too… maybe not a newsletter , as such…but just to share my written works in some form.
    Love to you and hope we meet around the globe again some where.


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