Looking back on 2018 – The year that was

5 Things I learned from a photoshoot with my 2-year-old

(Photo Credit: Lara Salvo with Vienna Hayden // @ViennaHayden)

If you’re relatively new here with me, you might not know that I’ve done one of these posts for the past couple of years. I did one back in 2016, and in 2017, so go read them if you’re so inclined. These questions are not easy, but they’re amazing for introspection. I normally find the “look back on the past year” posts to be pretty cliche, but this one goes WAY deeper than normal. In fact, some of these questions are downright uncomfortable. But they help give a real picture of the year, so I think it’s a worthwhile exercise.

Normally, I did this post before articulating my goals for the coming year. But my goals were so clear in my head this time, I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve done this out of order.


1. What are you most proud in terms of what you achieved, accomplished or brought into being this year – in life and work?

In life, I’m so proud of all I’ve done to help make my local FB group for working moms a vibrant community. I’ve organized get-togethers and events, and it’s amazing to have not only met so many lovely ladies but also their families. And because of those events and meet-ups, I’ve helped other people meet and bond, making us all feel closer and happier.

For work, I actually did a lot that I’m proud of. I re-launched my YouTube channel and have stuck with my publishing schedule there. I’ve put out new videos twice a week for a few months now, and I’ve seen the impact that’s had. I’ve also given a bit more attention to this blog, although not as much as I’d like to in the future. Plus my freelance work has continued to go well, earning me enough money to do the things I need to do. Launching the coaching side of things is still very new, but it makes me feel accomplished just to know it’s something I want to contribute in the coming year.

2. What did these achievements or actions, in turn, make possible – for you, your family, your organization, your financial situation, and your health and well-being, for others? Why did they matter so much to you?

The FB group has honestly been huge for me. When we were new in the area, I felt so isolated. We didn’t have friends and my daily social interaction came from chatting to the checkout ladies at the supermarket, the staff at the gym or the teachers at Harley’s school. I didn’t connect with most of the other people I met in our area, and I was honestly considering that we might have moved to the wrong part of town. Now, I’ve met a ton of amazing friends, people who I honestly enjoy being around. Our families have become close and it feels like these are bonds that will last for a long time.

The work stuff has also made our lives possible in big ways. Thanks to growth in my freelance writing work, I’ve been able to live my dream life of working from home and earning enough cash to buy whatever food we want at the store, to take time every day to go to the gym, to go on a vacation to LA, and generally just live a nice, comfortable life.

3. What makes your heart warm just to think about it today?

Mainly, the wonderful friendships I’ve formed this year. If I think back to even six months ago, we barely knew anyone in the area and it was a pretty sad and lonely time. Now, we had friends to invite for Harley’s birthday party. I have friends to meet for happy hour. I still have wonderful connections with friends back in South Africa and around the world, so I always have people to message after a bad day, but there’s something so wonderful about also having local friends to meet up with.


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I sometimes think we get so caught up in how we see ourselves that we forget that other people see us differently. Absolutely LOVE this portrait from the #catchmeatluxe event. * I can’t even imagine that I might look like this some days, but it is the truth. Despite all the bumps in the road (oh so many bumps!!) I am feeling really happy and confident in most parts of my life. It’s taken a while to get here, and I still have times when the weight of motherhood, moving, work, body image crap and everything else feels like it might crush me. But I also have times when I get to watch my kid play, or just a moment to pause and think, and I find my true happiness. * 📷: @viennahayden

A post shared by Zoe Hawkins | Born Geek (@moonstormer) on


4. What event or experience represented the “worst” of the year, and why exactly?

I think the beginning of the year was the hardest. Struggling with getting settled, a never-ending flow of bills, and generally just feeling like we weren’t making it was really tough. It got easier, but those first few months of the year when we were broke, without friends and feeling rather isolated were hard.

5. What action(s) did you take that you want to eradicate from your behavior forever?

I think I was too focused on superficial stuff for a while. I went to an amazing farm tour, and then the blogger photoshoot thing, and they were fabulous, but also made me feel like I was less-than as a blogger. I was convinced that I needed to get more followers, do more to grow my audience, etc etc. When in reality, I’m happiest when I’m CONNECTING, not just broadcasting. I was so hung up on the numbers and analytics and growth hacking crap, instead of just doing the stuff I enjoy and attracting those people who also enjoy those things.

6. What makes you feel ashamed and “less than,” or even toxic to others?

I think my jealousy. I was jealous of other bloggers’ success, or other influencers’ reach. I was jealous of the way I saw Dean spending his time, with seemingly fewer cares or responsibilities. I think I was too caught up in comparing, which truly is the death of joy.

7. What brings tears of unhappiness and feelings of shame when you think about it?

Um, nothing really. I know that sounds weird, but for the first year since I started doing this, I don’t think there’s anything that makes me feel ashamed or tearfully unhappy. I did my best this year, and I think we did well. Even those feelings of jealousy, I don’t think I took them out on other people. I didn’t put down other bloggers to make myself feel better or fight with my husband because of my jealousy about how he spends his time. I’m certainly not a saint, but I don’t think I have anything to worry about with this question.


8. What outcomes or achievements do you want to build on next year?

I really want to continue connecting with people. I want my friendships to grow even more in the coming year. I want our family to have closer bonds, not just me, although I know I can’t really control that. But I want those social connections to be solid in the coming year.

I also want to continue to grow my professional side. From networking to grow my freelance writing pool and coaching clients, to being more consistent on this blog the way I’ve been on YouTube, I want to pursue regular activities that can help me earn more and feel more connected in my career.

Oh, and exercise. I want to stick with my awesome challenge results and keep striving for even more fitness, inches lost and general wellbeing.


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This blurry little Rescue Bot (new Transformers) LOVED #halloween. She was so excited to go trick or treating and had so much fun! *** Amazing the difference a year makes. Now that we know people in the area, Harley was part of a troupe of kids going door to door, and of course I had company with other parents, too. *** Of course it was also exhausting, but so worth it. Harley kept darting to the front of the group because she wanted to “be the leader”, which meant I did partial sprints for over a mile as we went from door to door. But it was great to see her confidence and happiness – she thoroughly enjoyed getting to say trick or treat, thank you and happy Halloween to each person. I think she liked the process of getting candy more than the candy itself. *** I love getting to create these traditions with her. It’s such fun to mark occasions and see how thrilled she is by everything from her #halloweencostume to seeing her friends as they all dress up and go. And of course it’s great to create fun new traditions with friends, too!

A post shared by Zoe Hawkins | Born Geek (@moonstormer) on

9. What parts of yourself do you wish to expand and strengthen, and let out in the world?

2019 is about letting go of stress. I want to meditate and find my balance again. I want to share my perspectives on what it means to be successful and how to get there with other working moms.

10. What role models and supportive people do you want to connect with more deeply?

I listened to some amazing audiobooks in 2018, and as a result, I feel like I have some fabulous role models. Shonda Rhimes, Arianna Huffington, and Serena Williams were all my role models this year, and I’d love to continue finding empowered women who inspire me to be the best version of myself.

Looking back on 2018 - The year that was

So, that’s my 2018 round up. How has this year gone for you? What were your biggest achievements, and the greatest hurdles you had to overcome? Was it a good year or a bad year for you, and are you looking forward to 2019?


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