As the clock hit midnight on New Year’s Eve, I welcomed in 2017 on the dance floor of Remedies, my hometown’s only night club, coated in glitter, wearing sparkly, tinsel covered head boppers my mum had made me, singing loudly (and badly) with some of my closest friends and my older brother. It was magical.
It’s been 10 days since that night and I’ve already had a busy January full of friends, family, university work and Harry Potter marathons.
Before I can talk about the year to come and the hopes and goals I’ve set myself leading into 2017, I feel as though I should first reflect on 2016, so I’ve split this post into two sections.
While the year started out incredibly, with high results at university, having three articles published during my work experience, a trip to London for my birthday and an actual social life, it went quickly downhill from there. My grandmother had several strokes, leading her to need constant medical care, my beautiful goddaughter was hospitalised with meningococcal and suspected septicaemia, I was hospitalised with a stomach ulcer; all this in the first six weeks of 2016, and things didn’t exactly improve from there. Between Brexit and Trump, my faith in humanity slowly slipped away and was replaced with bewilderment at how people could support such divisive campaigns when we have worked so long and hard for acceptance and diversity.
Between February and August my personal life improved significantly, I was on medicine to soothe the ulcer, my grandmother was adjusting to life in her new nursing home and my goddaughter was recovering as though she’d never been so ill in the first place. However my contentment was abruptly changed when I went through the worst breakup I’ve ever had (detailed in my previous blog post ‘Somebody That I Used To Know‘) and was thrown into a spiral of heartbreak and bitterness which lasted for the remainder of 2016 and made my life at university 10x harder than I had anticipated.
From August onwards I not only lost the person I loved so deeply, I lost contact with my goddaughter and her mother (it only for about 6 weeks thankfully), I wrote off my Ford in a my first car accident, my stomach ulcer returned, I realised I couldn’t return to cheerleading with all of the university work I had to manage alongside my job at Lush, my ex smashed my car windscreen and I had a near-mental breakdown attempting to juggle all the work I had and found myself either at work or at university where I would often stay until at least 10pm trying to get everything done. It was horrific. When Christmas finally arrived I wasn’t even excited because I just so desperately wanted the year to end.
Despite all the awfulness that happened, it would be unfair of me to say that 2016 was a year solely full of heartbreak, sadness and stress, because it wasn’t all so bad. Some of my highlights include:
- My goddaughter saying my name for the first time
- Visiting London with my mum for my birthday where we had afternoon tea at Harrods, wandered around the Natural History Museum and saw Matilda the musical on the West End
- Competing in three Cheerleading competitions with UWE Comets Galaxy (placing 1st in the last of them)
- Visiting the Harry Potter studios in London
- A six hour hiking date from Clevedon to Portishead
- Finishing my fourth year of university with a high 2:1
- A two and a half week trip to Georgia and Florida where I spent time with some of my favourite people and got to laze by the beach and pool in the sunshine, eat incredible food, I held an alligator, went paddleboarding with manatees, watched the sunrise over Cocoa Beach, drank my weight in Pina Coladas and visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
- Taking a trip to my home of Devon with my ex, which included a walking tour of my hometown, double dates with my favourite couples and a long, incredible walk across Woolacombe Bay, over Baggy Point to Croyde Bay for icecream, then back again where we met up with my mum (and dog) and had fish & chips overlooking the beach
- Seeing Busted live in Manchester with an old friend
- Summer evenings spent body boarding at Croyde Bay with my mum and her friend
- Being caught in a lightning storm while peddle-o-ing on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park
- Meeting a member of Earth, Wine and Fire
- Visiting a crocodilian zoo in Oxfordshire followed by lunch and a rainy walk in Bourton-on-the-Water
- A week-long camping trip to the New Forest
- Getting a job at Lush Cosmetics
- Celebrating my Uncle’s woodland wedding in the New Forest with my whole family (well, the whole of my Dad’s side of the family)
- Discovering Bingo Lingo at Motion and Propaganda at The Fleece
- Becoming friends with some of the most supportive, kind and incredible people that have been my saving grace over the last few months
- Kesha liking my Instagram selfie of me dressed as her for Halloween (link to the instagram picture- https://www.instagram.com/p/BMM8hbLDW42/)
- Taking a trip to Disneyland Paris with one of my best friends and walking up the Eiffel Tower, seeing the Mona Lisa, Notre Dame and Love Lock Bridge during our day trip to Paris
- Taking a trip to Liverpool for my Uncle’s 40th birthday
- Taking a trip to Nottingham to start production on my Final Year Project
- Opening the brand new Lush shop in Cribbs Causeway, not only did I get to help Head Office merch the shop before it opened, I got to work to work the VIP opening event and put the first ever transaction of the new shop through the till
- Ice skating with one of my cheerleading friends for her birthday
- Chai latte dates with one of my best friends
- Dressing up in matching ‘Mrs Claus’ costumes with my best friends from home and going for a night out in our hometown
- Christmas baking with my goddaughter
- Celebrating Christmas multiple times with my family, my goddaughter’s family and my Dad’s family
- Harry Potter marathons
While it was undoubtedly an overall terrible year, it did have some incredible moments full of love, happiness, friends and family (and Harry Potter marathons) that I wouldn’t take back for anything. I grew up so much in 2016 and I learnt that you have to keep going and make the best out of a bad situation, which has lead to some incredible moments and even more incredible friendships.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I welcomed in the New Year spectacularly, it was just how I imagined it would be and was without a doubt one of the best New Year’s Eves I’ve had. Singing to Auld Lang Syne at midnight with confetti canons going off was a perfect beginning to 2017 and a wonderful way of ending a terrible year.
This year is going to be an important one for me as it’s the year I finally graduate my from undergraduate degree, which means I have from now until May to work as hard as I possibly can to achieve the results I want. While I was originally hell bent on graduating with a First, I’ve come to accept that I will be happy with a 2:1 for my degree. I’m super excited to start production on my final project which is a ten minute documentary on the misconceptions of British Cheerleading, I’ll be following the East Midlands Cheerleading Academy from training through to the ICC Nationals in March and I can’t wait to produce this piece which will hopefully shed a light on the sport I am so passionate about. I also get to design an activism campaign, which will likely focus on the protection of Alligators in Florida and write three feature length articles which will be pitched to various journalism outlets in hopes of publication.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do once I graduate in July, and whilst I intend to apply for the BBC and ITV trainee schemes, there’s a very slim chance I will be accepted due to the volume of applicants compared to the places they have on these schemes, so I have decided to continue my education with a Masters degree. That isn’t to say I won’t take an incredible job offer if it comes along, but in the likely event that doesn’t happen, I’ll be able to take a more in-depth look at Journalism and graduate with an accreditation which is something I’ve missed out on during my BA. Before writing this post, I submitted my application to two Masters courses, one at my current university and one at a Red Brick university, I plan to apply to at least one or two more to increase my chances of getting onto a course I can be passionate and excited about.
In 2017 I also hope to return to cheerleading as this break from the sport has been awful, I miss it terribly, hence why I chose it for my final project focus. I also hope to take a trip abroad at the end of May for a few weeks, preferably to volunteer as a teacher on a tropical island, but I’m still working out the details and possibilities.
While I’m not setting myself any resolutions this year, I have decided that I need to focus on myself and put myself first. One of my biggest flaws is that I care too much for people that don’t appreciate it and I change what I’m doing to accommodate others, I give too much to people who just care about taking and giving nothing back. I find it hard to tell people ‘No’ sometimes because I’m so worried I’ll disappoint them or they’ll get mad at me and I find myself taking the blame for things that aren’t my fault in order to appease others. It’s something I need to stop, I need to realise when a person or situation is worth my effort, because I give so much of myself to the people I care about, friends, family and people I’m romantically involved with; it’s draining to receive nothing back. So for my own mental health, I need to change that, which won’t be easy, but it will be worth it because I’ll hopefully be far less stressed and have more love and energy to give myself which will make a stronger person in the long run.
I would also like to read more, write more (including blogging), take more photographs, wear head boppers to every occasion that lends itself to them, spend more time outside and learn to fully appreciate my own company.
I hope 2017 is a year full of love, health, happiness, glitter, Harry Potter marathons, singing in the car, dancing the night away, friendship, family and positivity. Here’s to an exciting new year, I wish you all the best!