Looking forward to a brand new year - it's hard not to take some time out to reflect on the one past (original I know!). Like last year, or the one before... I'm not opting for any groundbreaking resolutions or drastic changes, I'm even cutting down on the 'Wow I haven't seen you in a year' jokes at work and find myself wondering how much longer I'm going to have to start emails with, 'I hope your 2018 is off to a great start!'.
I spent the last two weeks, in beautiful and brisk Canada. Unseasonably cold I spent the better part of my two weeks traveling around Toronto and the Niagara region visiting family and friends and trying to stave off frostbite. I spent a great deal of this time on trains or in the backs of Ubers sans headphones (damn you Apple and your new headphone jacks!). All this travel time, limited international data and no music meant plenty of time for reflection. Just me and my thoughts.
One thought trumped the others, and it was simple: experiences.
And more importantly, experiences over personal effects. My biggest takeaway from the year was that it didn't matter how much one had spent on a gift, or where it had come from - what mattered was the time spent together.
I was fortunate enough this year to have some great experiences thanks to TylerKenny.com, start a new job, travel to 10 countries, and move to a new flat (once or twice!). I also did my fair share of shopping this year, crossing some wishlist items off my acquisition list. But more than any new sweater or bag - the things that stuck with me were the experiences. No designer splurge could replace strapping snow chains onto my boots and trekking deep into an Icelandic glacier for a rave or spending two weeks in London and Paris with my sisters. Nor could they replace the look on my parent's faces when I surprised them at the airport by returning home with my sisters. Few experiences could compare to exploring the winding streets of Porto with my extended family (and new baby cousin!) on a surprise weekend getaway or experiencing London Fashion week and all its perks with my mother in tow.
I got to visit some amazing places this year thanks to work, from last minute trips for a live launch to driving a Porsche through the Alps or visiting Shanghai twice in as many weeks. The experiences and new sights were world-class.
Better than any business-class flight, car service or new outfit or pair of shoes (which I HAD to have!) was seeing my boyfriend's smiling face waiting at arrivals on return from each of these work trips.
2018 I am finally going to practice what I preach, and slow down my neurotic consumerist behaviour. Buying even less and buying (even!) better. I'll battle the dopamine hit my brain gets from purchasing whatever pops into my inbox or I pass by in a store window - with saving for some bucket-list trips or big-ticket items. The pile of things I 'absolutely HAD to have' versus things 'I actually wear ' is grossly disproportionate.
Instead of needlessly replacing perfectly good things - I'll wear them until they are threadbare, I'm sure the planet and my bank account will silently thank me. We've been brainwashed by advertising to think that 'new' translates to 'better' and that polyester t-shirts whose prices could rival a Savile Row suit are considered 'luxury'.
It's taken me a while to get here, but I'm hoping this time it sticks.