Here we are. Just one day away from 2018. A brand new 365 days. A new start, a whole new bloomin’ year. The whole ‘this year has gone so fast!!!’ chat may be as boring as small-talk about the weather (corrrr, isn’t it cold?!) but that truly is it, this past year has gone incredibly fast and honestly, it doesn’t feel right to be sitting down and reflecting on 2017 already.
Truth is, after Christmas, those few days between the big day and New Years are my favourite. I cleverly took a day off work so I’ve used those few days to simply slob about, eating all the left-over Christmas food (I’m just going to say it… I think I’m done with pigs and blankets… for now) and watching the remainder of good telly before it goes back to the normal resume. But mostly, I have spent the last few days reflecting on the last year and of course, the year ahead.
2017 was a huge year in my life. Even if, right now, sitting down typing this out it doesn’t feel like it. It has been a year that ultimately, I wish I had appreciated it more and it has been a year of saying “I wish time would just slow down” repeatably. It’s been a wonderful year mostly, full of adventures and major achievements in work and my ‘personal’ life and a year of truly learning. Learning about life and myself. Growing up, if you will.
So whilst I sit here suffering from a chocolate and cheese related food coma, I felt it was time to reflect on the last three hundred and sixty-five days and all the adventures within them.
I said goodbye to University
Without a doubt the craziest adventure I’ve ever undertaken. 2017 was the year I graduated from university. And what a bittersweet ending it was. Getting my degree is one of my biggest ever achievements, it took relentless hard work and time to get that final certificate and it was an incredibly proud (and nervous!) moment walking across the stage to get that degree. There was the initial relief of it being all over. No more dissertation research, no more academic readings and lectures where I’d genuinely struggle to sometimes stay engaged.
But then, there was also no more daily sushi runs because we wanted a nice lunch for the library. No more walking down the corridors I knew so well. No more quick dissertation related chats to my course mates. No more living in Brighton, on my own, surrounded by the most beautiful place and all my favourite people. No more studying. No more of the life I created and came to adore.
Do I miss it? Yes and no. I miss the routine and the experience. And honestly, I do miss the variety of options to learn in a place where learning was truly encouraged. I miss seeing my friends every day and I miss Brighton and all its quirks like absolute crazy. But no, I don’t miss not being able to sleep because of work stress. Constantly refreshing my internet page because I would want to find out the grade I had received but also feeling sick with worry I hadn’t done good enough. I haven’t missed the undesirable stress I felt on deadline days.
There are parts of me that wish I had taken part in more things and got to know certain people better. But most of all, the biggest part of me just wants to do it all again. Without a doubt, the greatest achievement of 2017.
There are plenty of people who will say that university isn’t ‘hard’ but believe me, by the time June rolled around I was very ready to sleep for a very long time. Thankfully, my friend Georgia is always thinking the same thing as me and we booked a little trip away to Gran Canaria in the middle of June. We swam, tanned, read, drunk, laughed and just enjoyed the sunshine and I mostly enjoyed telling people ‘it’s really hot!”. It was so lovely just being away and after last years travel fuelled year, I was so looking forward to jetting away again, just for something a little calmer.
The trip really delivered what we needed, a little bit of vitamin D and relaxation. It was perfect knowing that we had no deadlines or anything university related to worry about. The little trip away also really taught me that I definitely over-stress on things I shouldn’t and in turn, really helped that as well. G, can we do it again next year, please?!
I learnt to celebrate my achievements
I was always that person who hated telling anyone what I had achieved in fear of people thinking “well, isn’t she a show-off?!” and not wanting to be a brag, but really, who gives a f*ck? If you’re proud of something you’ve achieved, shout it from the rooftops! Jealously is a thing and I have no doubt some people do do things with the intention to purely brag but ultimately, we should all be proud of other peoples successes. And your own!
I used to hate telling people my university grades, good or bad because I didn’t want people to think I had done badly nor did I want them to be upset if they hadn’t got a ‘good’ mark. But then it got to the point where I thought if they are willing to share their mark, why can’t I? Regardless of what it is. I put it so much hard work in my final year of university and it really paid off and I was lucky to receive a first in almost every piece of work I did which for me, was truly insane. So sometimes I would share it on social media, or tell my friends just because I was so proud I could burst. My friends were always really happy for me and so was the social media community.
It’s the same for blogging achievements. Even if I do not share them on social media or on here, I celebrate them and pat my back when they happen instead of shying away from it. They are a product of hard work and when shouldn’t we celebrate that?!
This was the year I truly learnt to celebrate my achievements and not give a damn what anyone else thinks.
I learnt to let go
Of toxic people. Toxic things and mostly, toxic feelings. Life isn’t perfect by any stretch but life is also so full of amazing, beautiful things that spark happiness and joy and 2017 was truly the year of realising that with so many wonders in the world, why keep anything around that makes you feel anything less than content. I learnt to accept that some friendships are one-sided and aren’t meant to be. I learnt that sometimes no matter how much you like or respect someone, it isn’t always going to be returned. I learnt that some things just aren’t made to work out and you’re meant to let them go.
But most of all I learnt that when you let those things go, you mind repays you in happiness.
I struggled and I got better
My mental health has been something that has played on my mind since starting my third year of university last year. I’m not going to go into crazy amounts of detail, but fast forward a whole year, I decided it was finally the time to get help. The Summer just gone was one of my lowest times. I was immensely down and low all the time. I hated waking up in the mornings but wouldn’t sleep at night. There was no motivation for anything. I had no emotion apart from just drained. Ultimately, I wasn’t a very happy person and it got to the point where it was affecting more and more people around me.
It took everything to make that first step. It really did. But, with encouragement, I did it and now I’m in a really good place. By taking that step and admitting that I wasn’t one hundred percent I managed changed my life. Motivation started to crawl back, I started to feel happier and I started sleeping through the night as normal. Life and emotions aren’t always perfect, but I am certainly in a better place than I was five months ago.
Through all the ups and downs, I had a great year
I’m so thankful for everything 2017 chucked at me and taught me. I’m thankful for all the amazing memories, from that feeling of weightlessness when I handed in my dissertation, from driving home from Georgia’s 21st feeling so thankful for the amazing friends I have, to singing louldy at Harry Style’s concert, to watching my parents open their gift at Christmas. What a year. Hey, let’s bring on the next one, shall we?!
I hope you all had an amazing 2017 and here’s to 2018, whatever it may be! The biggest thank you for your continued support and love in 2017, you’ve all been amazing and I am blooming lucky. Thank you.
Thank you for reading!