Faith. Family. Friendship. Fitness. Fearlessness. Fun.

These about sum up my key themes of 2015.

It has truly been an extraordinary year of personal growth and transformation for me.

It started with forcing myself to face up to some of the most painful events and feelings I’ve been suppressing because I was determined to annihilate negative patterns of behaviour that were destroying my relationships, break out of my comfort zone, and finally rise out of the shithole I had been stuck in for years.

I knew I had to go deep, to peel off the layers and hack away at the root. It was a terrifying journey of intense introspection and internal work.

I got in the ring and sparred with every skeleton, demon and monster under my bed that I’ve ever tried to hide from. Some days they won. The breakdowns were massive and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to sweep up the broken pieces and glue myself back together – events witnessed only by my nearest and dearest and I’m forever grateful for their love, compassion and patience with me through it all.

So I’ve spent this entire year trying to understand myself; why I was the way I was before, why I did some of the things I’ve done, and why I let certain people treat me in ways that were so damaging to my wellbeing. And let’s just say, there was a lot of forgiving of self and others, letting go, and healing involved.

Now something amazing happens when one is so completely broken. The total destruction of my self-concept paved the way for a euphoric epiphany: I could now be any damn thing I wanted to be.

This was my chance to rebuild myself – and my life – from the ground up. And as I embarked on the slow process of welding myself back together, I decided that I would no longer be a prisoner of the past. I cast off any labels previously slapped on me by judgmental folk (and myself) and for once in my life, I felt truly free to be whomever I wanted.

I was ecstatic at the thought that I could choose, in every moment, to be someone different. Someone better. There were no more limitations. I was bound to nothing and no one. My life now belonged to me completely (and, well, to God). For the first time in my 35 years, I experienced true ownership over my destiny.

I powered up the assembly line and began constructing Jamie 2.0. It wasn’t always easy to find the parts I wanted. I had to source for ‘fit’, ‘fearless’, ‘positive’, ‘optimistic’ and ‘morning person’ – all diametrically opposed concepts to my former self.

I rewired my circuitry through daily affirmations, meditation and journaling. I became more mindful about my internal programming. I stopped beating up on myself so much. I changed my story and my experience with the world around me began to change.

Along the way, there were of course technical malfunctions from time to time that required me to keep rebooting.

Eventually, I not only “found” myself again; I did one better and actually built a new me.

And my life literally changed.

I started seeing beauty in everyday things.

I began taking delight in the simplest pleasures of life.

Somehow, I managed to go from moody, sarcastic cynic to being a generally positive and happy person. Honest to God, all my life I believed I was one of those people born without the “happy gene” so this “new me” came as quite a shock to me, too.

I would wake up to the sweet sound of birds chirping, which I never took notice of before. My body clock naturally readjusted itself and I would often arise at the break of dawn even before my alarm went off. I would often start my days by watching the sunrise or running at the beach or dancing alone in my room. I was filled with a sense of peace and joy that I had never experienced before.

I went from surviving to drifting to thriving.

Now it’s all systems go but I still take time to appreciate all the places where I’ve been fused back together because they’re a reminder of how far I’ve come.

In battling all my demons these past 12 months, I’ve discovered how strong and resilient I really am. And I am the last one standing in the ring at the close of 2015. The monsters didn’t win — I did.

In overcoming my obstacles and challenges and limiting beliefs, I’ve developed newfound respect for myself.

In spending time getting to know my true self so intimately, I’ve fallen so head over heels in love with myself (in a healthy, non-narcissistic way, of course) that I’m able to finally embrace that old cliché about not needing anyone to complete me.

In dealing with rejection, I have chosen to transmute that pain and fill myself up with self-love and self-belief instead… things that I’ve always struggled with throughout my life.

And this is why I now believe in magic.

Because if you are able to take some of the most painful experiences of your life and transform them into something positive and wonderful, that’s alchemy right there.

2015, you’ve been bittersweet yet so spellbindingly beautiful, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.