I started preparing this a few weeks ago, revisiting my posts from 2015 to get an overview of the year. It didn’t take long to realise just how much my life has changed in such a short space of time.
Indeed, 2015 has been the most frightening, busy and truly incredible year of my life.
Instead of setting myself the usual list of resolutions that I knew I would inevitably ignore, I gave myself one mantra that I would follow: this was the year I would take the risk. And I did just that, making the decision to quit a ten-year permanent, secure and successful teaching role and start out on my own.
I was terrified – I’d never been without a job since the age of 16. My post about it was shared thousands of times and is my most viewed post of the year. I received hundreds of comments from teachers all over the world who had done or were planning to do the same thing, and his made me feel a little more secure about my decision.
It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made – I now deliver regular freelance music workshops, supplemented with supply (substitute) teaching at my former school and private teaching. I have no responsibilities, other than to ensure the students complete the work that is set. No reports, parents-evenings, data and progress analysis, marking, coursework… Before I would often do 60-80 hours a week, now I can choose my hours, and when I go to work, I leave when I’m finished and that’s it. I now sleep reasonably well at night, I have a more active social life, and my anxiety and panic attacks are pretty much gone. And even better, I can live quite comfortably on the money I am now earning.
I’m incredibly lucky, and couldn’t have done it without the support of my Headteacher – it was she who actually gave me the idea to go freelance when I initially told her about my decision to resign and has been instrumental in offering both freelance and supply opportunities since September, and I will forever be grateful to her for giving me the confidence to believe that being self-employed was actually possible.
And, of course, The Bloke and my Mum have been my rock throughout the whole thing, and my family and friends have been incredibly supportive.
It’s been a year of excitement, travel (finally managing to visit Barcelona in September), friends, films, amazing food. My relationships with my some of my family members has strengthened, and we’ve been able to enjoy being together as a unit. I got my running shoes on and completed the Birmingham half-marathon, all 13 miles of it, raising £500 for charity. (and I’m not the only one – Sue’s son made an incredible achievement in August in the Para-Tri Traithalon, which was a huge inspiration to me) I’ve attended beautiful weddings and had some truly fantastic nights out. My sister gained a degree in Law. My other sister and her boyfriend moved in together. Some of my friends have got engaged or had children. I got to spend time with The Bloke’s enormous family (who are hilarious) at his mother’s 80th birthday. I now have the time and the energy to do all of these things, which is something I didn’t a year ago.
In the online world, this little blog continues to be the best form of therapy I’ve ever had, and has gone from strength to strength. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the community better and forging friendships that mean an awful lot to me. I’ve laughed, cheered and cried when reading countless posts over the last twelve months.
And it doesn’t stop there. After monetising it in January, I’ve been able to add sponsorship. I now regularly get invited to review restaurants in Birmingham, and have started to do product reviews. Thanks to Elena at Fabulously 50, I’ve discovered the joys of Pinterest. Andrew, who I met through WordPress, helped me train for the half-marathon. Jolene’s emails make me smile, and I was delighted with her daughter’s book she sent me for Christmas. Austin still refuses to acknowledge the true game of football. The hashtag I started last year – #SundayBlogShare – has now grown to such an extent that it trends for hours each week , not just in the UK, but all over the world. The Eurovision Song Contest has taken on a whole new level after spending it in a Twitter party with Hugh and Steve. And best of all, and the highlight of my blogging year, I got to meet some of my favourite bloggers and make new bloggy friends at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London in August during which I was very kindly given two awards, which I am immensely proud of. I have a surprise lined up in that I have my own set of awards to give out at the beginning of next year, which I’m very much looking forward to doing…
Of course, there are always a few elements of sadness, especially at this time of year. Most notably, a number of my friends and bloggy friends have lost family members and friends, including my oldest friend who’s mother was incredibly dear to me. A respected former colleague passed away. I’ve witnessed The Bloke and a number of my friends and former colleagues experience job uncertainty, with some of them being put in the awful position of losing their jobs. I’m hoping that 2016 will right some of the wrongs that have been done this year.
I wanted to say thank you for everything, to every one of you who has been there with me throughout the last twelve months. Thank you for your reblogs, shares, tweets and pins. Thank you for your kind words, your encouragement, support and your friendship.
Happy New Year, and here’s to a successful, healthy and wonderful 2016!
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.
Suzie. You have had an incredible year and certainly been an inspiration to me to take a risk and make the move to Cornwall. You should be hugely proud of what you’ve achieved and look forward to more of your posts in 2016! I have been so neglectful with my blog since moving and whilst I’m aiming more towards goals than resolutions, blogging more regularly is definitely one of them! Happy new year to you and the Bloke! X
Happy New Year Kirsty – I’ve been loving your pics on Facebook (love the Bjork outfit btw), and i’m so glad things are working out for you and the hubby… It isn’t the same at work without him!
Thanks Suzie! Ha ha NYE was a lot of fun. Aaaw I will let him know. He’s starting the job hunting next week and is pretty terrified about the whole thing. Let’s hope he gets something sorted soon
I’m sure he will! Lots of love to you both!
Enjoyed reading this! I too quit my teaching job several years ago (to pursue writing children’s books )And because I was totally stressed out and dreading going to a job I had previously loved! Took a hiatus from blogging but back now and will check out your posts that I missed. Have a blessed 2016.
Thanks Linda – welcome back! Happy New Year!
I would like to disagree with you on one point. Your biggest decision in 2015 wasn’t to quit your teaching job. It was your decision to pursue happiness, and at that you’ve succeeded spectacularly. You are a great friend. Happy New Years to you, the Bloke and you families.
What a lovely thing to say – thanks so much Phil! Happy New Year to you and your family x
I’m so glad that you have had an amazing year and everything has turned out the way that you wanted it to – if not better! I often think about my job, as well as your decision to leave, and I find myself wondering if I can sustain it for the rest of my life… I hope 2016 treats you just as well and you have a good NYE! xxxxxx
Thanks Sare – much appreciated! I think you’ll know when it’s time to leave, but from your posts you seem to enjoy it mot of the time? Have a great new year!
Happy New Year, Suzie!!! 🙂
And you, Richard! hanks for making me smile this year!
Likewise, pal 🙂
What a year you had! Wishing you all the best for 2016, and may it be as equally productive and rewarding as 2015. All the best. 🙂
Thanks so much my lovely, and thanks for all your comments and support. Have a brilliant new year!
Happy 2016 to one of the most inspiring people I have come to enjoy! ❤
Annette, you’re a legend.Thanks for all your support – hope 2016 is wonderful for you!
Happy New Year to you and the bloke, Suzie! I hope 2016 is a fantastic year for you both!!! Cheers and big hugs from Chicago! Cher xo
Cher, you are such a support. Thank you for all yur kind words and comments and for making me smile. Hope you and hubby have a great new year!
Thank YOU dear Suzie, who I admire immensely! And to you and The Bloke as well; thank you so much! Happy New Year!! Cher xo
So fantastic, Susie! I am a believer in taking chances too. I am so glad you’ve found a better work/life balance and that those around you have been supportive of your choices.
Thanks my lovely – I’m a huge fan of you blog and looking forward to what 2016 brings!
Congrats on a great year!
Thank you, and thanks so much for all your support!
Happy New Year to you as well!
Thanks Allie! Thanks for all your support too!
What a year Suzie! I can understand how tough a decision it can be to quit job…glad that the decision worked out for you! 🙂
My blog is the best form of therapy too…I hope to make it bigger and better in the coming year!
Wishing you a very Happy New Year! 🙂
Thank you! so glad the blog is working well for you too – I think people think I’m being melodramatic when I say the blog is a great form of therapy, but it’s truly been life-changing! Have a wonderful new year!
Congratulations on making it all work! Have a Happy New Year for 2016, and may your blessings grow.
Thanks so much my lovely – and thanks for all your support and comments! have a great new year!
Thank you. I hope it is a wonderful one for all of us.
Happy New Year Suzie. I look forward to sharing your journey in 2016! 🙂
Thanks so much Judy, and ditto!
Thank you 🙂
Suzie, I remember most of these events. You’ve made the most of the blog world. Congrats on all your achievements. It’s great that you no longer post the worries and stresses about teaching. Working with kids shouldn’t demand your soul and your health, and now you’ve found a way to teach without stress – good for you. Happy New Year to you and yours and best wishes for continued success in all future endeavors.
Sharon, you’re an absolute legend. Thanks so much for all your support, encouragement and fabulous comments! Hope you have a fantastic 2016 x
That’s some year! I’m so excited that it will be 2016 and I can talk about the Eurovision Song Contest when it will actually be the same year again so it won’t seem so bad. As us Scots say – Here’s tae us, wha’s like us – nae…one. (I had to censor the last word because usually people say cunt instead of one) Happy New Year!
Haha! You always make me smile! Are you getting your ass on a train and coming to the Bloggers Bash in June?
Oh, is it June this year?
Yup so you haven’t got any holiday excuses now haha!
Very inspirational. What a great year and how awesome you were able to leave your job! Here’s hoping for an even better 2016 for us all!
Thanks so much Katy – it’s been lovely to meet you!
Happy new year, Suzie 🙂
And to you too, Sue!
Suzie, I haven’t been following you all year, but getting to know you and cheer you on and laugh with you has been such a pleasure. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for you. Be well, and the very best to you!
Thanks so much for doing so Dustin, and all your comments – much appreciated!
You are very welcome.:) You’re soo blessed!
Happy New Year, Suzie! I hope 2016 is amazing for you. 🙂
Thanks Austin, and ditto!
What a fabulous round up, Suzie… I’m so glad that (for the most part) 2015 was a good year for you. Here’s hoping your 16 is even better 🙂 Happy New Year! x
Thanks so much my lovely, and thanks for all your support this year! Happy New Year to you too!
What a terrific year, Suzie. Sounds like you had a brilliant time of it and looking forward to June!
Thanks Geoffle! It was certainly a year to remember – made all the better by meeting you and your pink beard! Looking forward to June!
And the colour is… Another bash surprise…
Ooh! Exciting! What about cake?
Of course. Cake is essential.
Wow, what a year for you, Suzie. I’ll never ever forget the night of Eurovision. In fact, I still have the whole conversation on Twitter! It was also great to finally meet you at the Bloggers’ Bash.
Wishing you much happiness, good health, success and the best year ever.
See you in June. Only 5 months to go!
Me too! I read through it every so often for a giggle! 5 months? Seems like ages!
Oh bless you, I was touched that you’d mentioned me at all, and then I spotted the photo… awesome! I love it! Love your blog, looking forward to our next run!
Thanks Andrew! I think I’m going to do the 10k in May as I need something to work for, and I couldn’t have done the half-marathon without you and my friend! Why wouldn’t I mention you – you’re a legend haha!
Wow what a year you had – read a lot of those posts, not all mind, but many of them, and I smiled as I scrolled through this and remembered all your achievements – seriously girl, you smashed 2015. No pressure like, but you guna have to up your game n 2016 :p hehehe. Only messing, but honestly W.O.W. what an inspiration you are. Thank you for mentioning the bash too – we are all gearing up now for the second one in the background – big announcement soon too for it. Happy New Year, and I hope that 2016 is as prosperous as 2015 😀 ❤
Thanks so much Sacha – I’m a big fan of your blog and the Bloggers Bash was not only the highlight of my blogging year, but it boosted my confidence in so many ways, and I’m extremely grateful for that!
This comment made my jaw hit the floor! I am so honoured you said that. I am also chuffed to bits the bash made you more confident. You should be, you are amazing, and have done mind blowingly well. You are an inspiration to us all Suzie ❤
Congrats on everything you accomplished last year! I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2016.
What an amazing year you have had, so many changes and how wonderful that they have left you happier and more relaxed in your life. Those sort of decisions take a lot of strength of character. Thanks for inspiring us on the Blogger’s Pit Stop
That sounds like an amazing year you have had
Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.
What a fantastic 2015! I’m really glad you have managed to set yourself up in a better working situation, because I think when we have that part of life sorted it gives us the chance to look at all the extra things that make us happy – and, of course, to appreciate the people in our lives.
Here’s to more of the same – and bigger and better – in 2016!
Thanks so much Lauren, and thanks for all of your support!