2018 What I learnt this year

End Of Year Review

At the end of each year, I like to check in with myself and reflect. I like to reflect on the things I have learnt the past year and also celebrate any personal successes that I have achieved. It also helps me to plan out the next year and it helps me seek out more ways to grow as a person. At the beginning of 2018, I decided that I was going to take responsibility and I was going to make my own opportunities happen. I had places I wanted to go, goals I wanted to achieve but overall I had a wanting in my soul for some adventure. Let’s just say 2018 gave me lots of adventures, both good and bad. I had lots of situations brought to me in my private life that gave me valuable lessons. I  truly believe that there is a lesson to be learnt about yourself from every negative or heartbreaking experience. 2018 was also a big year as I turned 30, turning thirty as a single spinster with a collection of cats wasn’t how I had envisioned myself but I am so grateful for how my life is turning out now. I explored, learned new skills but most importantly I learned some life lessons that money can’t buy. In this post, I am going to share with you a few of the things that I learnt this year.  I hope you enjoy it.


“A wounded deer leaps highest.” — Emily Dickinson

I had to let my heart heal this year. I had to face and process emotions, fears, thoughts and feelings. I learnt to be grateful for gut-wrenching heartache and pain as it has made me more empathetic and caring. The heart is stronger than you realise, just when you think it can’t take any more pain it will, but you will heal again and love again. Embrace the yucky feelings inside so you can grow as a person. Take the lesson from every pain and use it. Sure wouldn’t life be boring if it was running smoothly all the time? Don’t be so quick to bury the painful emotions, go deep, feel them and let them heal, then one day you will meet people and realise that it is possible to love more than one person in this lifetime.

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
― Oscar Wilde

When you forgive people it is like a weight has been lifted. I used to carry the feelings of anger and resentment towards the people who had caused me to hurt. The moment I decided to mentally forgive people and situations I felt lighter.  When I would have intrusive angry thoughts I would change them to ones of forgiveness and compassion because at the end of the day carrying them angry thoughts and feelings only affected me, not others. After a time I stopped thinking out the hurtful situations and I used my new energy and thoughts into creating my own joy.

Seek Joy Not Happiness

I have learned to seek the joy in each day and the joy in the journey. Nowadays we want everything and we want it now. Yes, I have some big personal goals but I have learned to seek the small joys and wins along the way. It really is the journey and not the destination. I have been practising gratitude this year and I am focused on feeling joy and getting excited over the small things. I travelled a lot this year as I wanted to spend my money on memories and not actual things. One of my goals was to be happy, but I have realised that seeking out the joy in everything and pausing to savour the moment is happiness for me.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

I travelled a lot this year, I had some long-haul solo travel and some short hops across the Irish sea. These are some of my favourite memories this year. Also the people I met along the way. New friends were made and I embraced every moment shared with the people I met. Nothing makes me feel more alive than boarding a plane to a place I have never been to. Experiencing new cultures and learning more about myself.

Knowing My Worth And Setting Boundaries

The problem with being a nice person is that you can attract people who will want to take your energy for granted and drain you. as Oprah says, “You want to have your cup overflowing so you have enough to give to everybody else. You can’t keep giving from an empty cup.” I would feel guilty for saying no to people, but then I realised that I am responsible for my own energy and I cannot give to everyone. So, its okay to not reply to that email, its okay to ignore a “You up” what’s app message and its okay to protect yourself from energy drainers. It is also important to voice when someone or something has overstepped a personal boundary and it is important to have these boundaries.

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”

– Malcolm S. Forbes

I have been guilty of undercharging for my work and time, tolerating poor behaviour from people and accepting mediocre. However, I am grateful for these experiences as they thought me to realise that I am responsible for tolerating these things. You get what you tolerate, so only tolerate the best.

“A different version of you exists in the minds of everyone who knows you”.

I read this phrase on Pinterest this year and it really helped me deal with processing negativity from people. Basically, when someone who doesn’t know you tries to attack your character, they are going on what their perception of you is to them. They have an idea of you that they have created in their head that isn’t actually you because only you know you and the closest people to you. People project their own insecurities onto others. So, for example, someone who is really body confident won’t even notice or comment on someone’s weight, but someone who is really insecure about theirs, whether conscious or subconscious will. This applies to all areas of life. So, when people are spending time in the comment sections online I feel empathy for them as I know the must be feeling really bad about themselves as they could use that time so much better to better themselves.

“Peoples criticisms of you is a projection of their own insecurities”

So, that is a little insight into what I learnt this year. I love looking back and reading these posts. If you enjoyed this you might enjoy this post here where I share what I learnt in my twenties. I also have a blog post about goal setting if you want to read that too.

Thanks so much for reading!
Chat Soon,



  1. Brooke McHiggins
    December 27, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    Dear Catherine, what an amazing blog post. So well written and it really resonated with me. You’re a beautiful soul and I couldn’t agree more with the joy, over happiness mantra 🌈 Best wishes for 2019! x

  2. Lisa Mason
    December 27, 2018 / 10:54 pm

    Catherine,You are wise beyond your years. I am so sorry that you've had to learn life lessons through pain and heartbreak – but I suppose we all have to go through that at some point in our lives. But you have managed to find the good in that experience which is why you are such an inspiration I have cheered you on as you've conquered your fears about traveling, I have celebrated your successes, I've been inspired by your attitude towards learning and I've been moved by your capacity for kindness. I would say that I wished for you that all of your dreams would come true but you don't really need that. You will MAKE them come true – with sheer imagination and tenacity! You bring positivity out into the world ….. and what is more noble than that? I look forward to your future successes. Thank you for all that you do.

  3. Jill
    December 28, 2018 / 3:43 am

    Lots of truth here!

  4. Catherine Carton
    December 28, 2018 / 9:02 am

    Thank you so much for reading Brooke! Happy new year, hope you have a fab 2019! X

  5. Catherine Carton
    December 28, 2018 / 9:03 am

    Aw wow Lisa, thank you so so man for the continued support on everything! Your so kind, happy new year! Hope you have an amazing 2019

  6. Catherine Carton
    December 28, 2018 / 9:04 am

    Thanks so much for reading! X

  7. Tina
    December 28, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Dear CatherineSuch wisdom from a lovely young person. I am 25 years older than you and wish I had your insight at 30, 40 even 50 years old. Instagram has been a revelation for me. I have been fortunate enough to stumble across some wonderful accounts including yours. My daughter and I love listening to your beautiful Irish accent. Your account is so positive and upbeat. Your lovely smile and kindness shine through. I like that shine your camera on real life. I too work in retail (only in recent years after raising my kids) and can relate to the madness esp during Christmas etc. Keep up the good work and I feel that 2019 will be a very special year for you beautiful girl. All the very best. Tinaxx

  8. Hope
    January 13, 2019 / 12:50 pm

    I thought this one was interesting.

    Judgement is either to confuse someone’s unconscious behavior with who they are or to project your own unconsciousness onto another person and mistake that for who they are. ~Eckhart Tolle

  9. daintydressdiaries
    January 13, 2019 / 4:48 pm

    I love that quote!

  10. Jeanne Walker
    January 14, 2019 / 9:56 pm

    I am so sorry that you had to learn some lessons from hurtful things. I can empathize with you. But I didn’t learn to look for the lesson until I was much older than you. You have learned the lesson at a young age and can apply them to your life now. You won’t spend years reliving the pain and hurt, and possibly feeling the anger, resentment and bitterness that weighed me down for years. Finding your self-worth, and self-love along with gratitude, joy and happiness make life worth living! Do that! Happy New Year and may all of your dreams and goals come to pass.

  11. daintydressdiaries
    January 14, 2019 / 10:33 pm

    Happy new year Jeanne, thanks so much for reading! x

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