The Year of YES | Choose Your Own Adventure



I feel so honoured to be presenting you with this-guest piece today; in part-two of the blog-series ‘Choose Your Own Adventure- it’s totally worth it’. Over the past twelve months I watched an old friend’s status-updates play out like most others do, “he proposed… here’s the ring…purchased my wedding dress today”, but then the updates turned unexpectedly. The fairy-tale was over as it became apparent that the wedding was off and my friend Hannah was going through utter turmoil.

Her story, although difficult to imagine, is a beautiful one. Hannah demonstrates the power of our individual capacity to not only ‘get-through’, but to shape our lives to flourish & thrive.
Jules x



“I loved Dave so much that it often overwhelmed me. He’d pulled me through tragedy, literally saved my life, inspired my work every day and was always my strength when I had none. The day he put that engagement ring on my finger was literally the best day of my life.

We spend so much time in this world flitted away on the things that aren’t important. Tweeting, work, status updates, power lunch, gym, cooking, TV, texting, instagramming what your eating for dessert….. it’s exhausting and it’s over-complicating life. It makes us skim over the sweeter things in life. You need to stop sometimes and process or things get missed. I’ll be the first to admit, Id oversaturated my life. I was working 50+hr weeks, trying to keep Dave and I afloat after his sudden redundancy, gym twice a week, lots of dinner parties (with generous friends who knew we couldn’t afford to go out) and spending literally hours each Saturday analysing the food isles to best budget our meals for the week. Throw a couple too many Facebook scrolls, updates and chats and my calendar had a pulse. I was spread thin and he was struggling. The priorities of my life were out of whack, I know that now. I was not only neglecting myself, but I didn’t stop long enough realise he was drowning in life too. When I look back now, I realise that no one was focused on me, or my happiness. It’s just as much my fault as it was his.

Two weeks before Christmas Dave called off our pending April wedding and dropped me with a sportsbag of clothes on my sister’s doorstep. I literally felt my heart tear in two. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or function. The one person I believed to my core would never let me down literally took everything I believed in, everything I thought was certain, and tore it down. Until that moment, nothing would ever defeat me with him by my side… I didn’t see for a second that it would, in fact, be ‘my rock’ who would break me.

After planning a wedding, supporting an unemployed partner and having to sell my car I was literally left with nothing. I was 30 years old, had not a dime to my name, no car, living back at home… and my soulmate was gone.

Lying on my mums bed sobbing, listening to her ring each and every relative to tell them to cancel their flights, it sickened me that I had to remind her to tell people to keep it off Facebook. Social media has numbed people to appropriateness, tact and sensitivity. The fact that my status remained as ‘engaged’ for months after because I didn’t want to advertise what had happened really got me thinking that my values were skewed. I needed to change.

After 5 weeks unable to work, socialise, smile, sleep or even function on a normal level, I finally hit the depths of rock bottom. After all my years of loving him – it took 5 weeks for him to move on. There is no word big enough for how that hit me. I couldn’t get any lower. I thought loosing my father was the biggest pain in my heart, but this literally hurt in every inch of my body.

Then the bottom fell out. One of my biggest supporters, who was walking the same path as me after losing the love of her life, took her own.

This is where my life turned.

I realised that the beauty of when there is no further down to go, your only choice can be up. Then slowly but surely I began to sew the pieces of my life and my heart back together. I slowly realised I COULD feel love, when I cuddled my baby niece, when I held my Grandpa’s hand, when I laughed with my friends. This became my medicine.

I had spent years of my life living for someone else, and it dawned on me that every yin needs a yang to balance it out…. so the answer to get back on top was clear – 12 months of pure and unadulterated selfishness, self focus and taking control. The ‘Year of Yes’.

No TV, as many experiences as I can gather and ridding my life of people who don’t invest as much in me as I in them. It’s like a re-birth and I recommend it to anyone. I have fit more laughter, ridiculousness and experience into the first 6 months of this new life than I had in years. A new calm has come over me, I have met more good souled people than I can count, been to festivals, seen as much live music as I can wedge in, taken up Pilates, racked up the exhibition openings, bike rides on weekends, dined in restaurants I can’ t afford, have creative projects for the first time in years, am off to New York in October, am a better friend, better sister, better daughter and a better aunty than I ever was…. in fact, these words I’m typing right now were even a ‘yes’ to an old friend. Rather than peering into peoples lives over social media – I’ve gone and shared as many those moments with them as much as I can. This is what counts.

Tomorrow I get on a plane to conquer my fear of travelling alone. After a brief stop off for a friends wedding, I will spend the first week of my life entirely solo. My only company will be a sketch-pad, two pens and a pile of novels. The ‘Year of Yes’ doesn’t allow you to hide in anyone’s shadow, its fierce independence, its scary, its brilliant and its truly LIVING. There is something very liberating, rather than always looking forwards, about just living in the here and now… the surprising calmness of trusting that your path will be great.
I may never fully repair from loosing the love of my life, but I truly believe that if you must grow from times of devastation to make the pain worth something.

To my friend: in the face of your tragedy you saved me. I dedicate this year of living to you just as much as ME. Much love.

Now- on to finding a warehouse conversion, starting my own men’s fashion label and learning sign language. It’s going to be one hell of a ride, as every day of each of our lives SHOULD be.”



2 Responses

  1. Loveena

    July 26, 2013 3:02 pm

    Hannah’s blog was amazing to read. I personally had the l love of my life walk out my life. I cried reading this blog cause I could relate to every part of it. Recently I started my own journey of self love and it is so comforting to know that there are others there who are doing the same. I haven’t known where to begin until I read this blog. So thank you Hannah x

    • Julie Anne

      July 31, 2013 4:55 pm

      Hi Loveena – I just wanted to let you know I passed your comment on to Hannah. She said it brightened her day (and she was having a rough day after the news of the loss of a loved one). So I just wanted to pass on my thanks for taking the time to say thank you, it’s really really appreciated 🙂


Leave a Reply