1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
- Finished a degree! This was huge for me, I’m 33 now and had first gone to uni when I was 18 and dropped out twice, so to finally get through a course was such a monumental moment for me!
- I therefore graduated! It was such a lovely day with some cherished friends and family there. I rocked the mortar board, too. I still can’t believe it some days. I am a graduate! FINALLY!
- Qualified in my profession. I now have a professional title, and a professional identity, which is odd.
- Was pivotal in literally saving some people’s lives. It is a very, very weird feeling, to do that. Sort of cool though. Definitely a privilege.
- Loads of work related stuff…
- Probably other stuff that I can’t remember.
- Just felt more…whole.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I cannot remember if I made any! I think they are relatively the same though. I want to cook more and exercise more and generally have a better work/life balance, because I end up working then dreaming about work then being tired from work and not doing anything etc etc… I definitely want to continue being creative, practice meditation more and see friends more.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! One of my best friends from school. He’s a beaut.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
I don’t think so? I guess that means no?
5. What countries did you visit?
Quite a few, haha. Scotland in January, France in June, Denmark in October, India in November and Spain in December. I also did quite a few weekends away and spent around a week in Devon in August. I would like to travel a little bit less in 2017 and enjoy where I live more.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
*deep breath* A baby. Big stuff! I’m scared that my ovaries will be dried up and also scared that I will be a shit mum but also mostly aware that I think I can be a good enough mum. In addition to that, a good living situation, these cats (that we look after, not ours!) are fucking me off and I want to be able to just sit on my yellow sofa and have it be yellow and not covered with rubbish throws to prevent scratching/mud/cat wee. I would also like to not live up a massive hill far away from town and my friends. And would like to be able live somewhere more easily accessible to cycling.
7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I can’t remember literal dates, but:
- Edinburgh weekend is up there because it was so much fun.
- Last lectures at Uni where we all went out and got drunk.
- When I found out I got a First.
- The time in Devon where I had that massive breakthrough and just felt so connected, to myself and everything. Most amazing feeling. Also a lot of that week, the inadvertent 14 mile walks and discovering the most beautiful countryside and beaches and being mostly alone.
- First day at work.
- My last session of the year. It was just really, really special and I felt really connected.
- Boxing Day. It was really perfect.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finishing my degree, getting a First, starting work. All things that say, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought possible. It’s pretty amazing. And staying relatively sane throughout it! I’ve not had one day off work related to mental health stuff (of course it means my days off weren’t exactly always bundles of laughs) and my job is one of the most stressful out there. So probably that. AND continuing to connect to myself and learn more about my needs and how to meet them (despite also not wanting t0).
9. What was your biggest failure?
I don’t know. I don’t think much has been a failure? I’ve done really well with what I’ve had. I haven’t maintained relationships that well, but I’m working on that. Everything else, I’m still working on too. I don’t see it as a failure. Even stuff like, “I should have done X sooner”, it’s all a learning curve isn’t it?
Oh yeah going to bed early. Like, now. FFS!
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
2 asthma exacerbations, some D&V, minimal migraines (maybe 2 or 3?), a couple of alcohol voms. Other than that, not really. Migraines have become a lot less prevalent the more I have worked through trauma stuff.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought so much stuff but I can’t remember. Perhaps my Kindle? Also a book my therapist recommended to me was pretty good. I bought stuff like storage for my make-up. Dresses! Boots! It was so nice to have money again after so long without! I guess best stuff was really things like travel tickets or accommodation.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Loads of people. Nick’s for being just completely amazing (mostly). He has been unbelievably supportive, through the course, through the amount of times I have been headmashed after sessions, not wanting to go out, etc. He’s so brilliant. My friends have also been brilliant. They have helped carry me through not just this year but the years preceding it. I wouldn’t be here without them. My family were actually pretty great too, at points, like when my sister, mum and granddad all clubbed together for me to go away after my course and get pampered. That was so lovely and unexpected. And my therapist continues to be fantastic too and has helped me work through a lot of stuff this year, remaining steady while I rage and despair and the usual.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Sometimes my family. Sometimes Nick but ONLY with the house stuff (he doesn’t want to move, I do, we argue, nothing changes…yet).
14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, travel, PRETTY THINGS FINALLY, food. I have spent so much money this year :|
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing friends. Therapy, sometimes. Going away on my various jaunts. Christmas! I got really excited about Christmas.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
As usual, there is never one song. This is me. So, in no particular order (most of them aren’t even new!):
- Let Go – Frou Frou (weird rediscovery, based on getting the line “beauty in the breakdown” in my head in Devon).
- almost the whole of Angel Olsen’s new album, but particularly “Not Gonna Kill You”, which was pivotal when I went through a very bad patch in October and was very close to cutting for the first time in a long time and basically just had to sit with the feelings and it was hard. Harder than hard.
- Reflecting Light – Sam Phillips. It reminds me of when I feel like me, and when I feel safe in therapy.
- Owen Pallet’s cover of Your Ex-Lover is Dead by Stars. One of my favourite songs anyway, but I listened to it when I was in a (different) bad place, it reflected very very young feelings that I wasn’t able to articulate and was comforting.
- Ministry of Defence and Community of Hope by PJ Harvey. Finally got to see her live and she was mesmerising and these songs were highlights.
- Disappointing by John Grant. A weirdly touching love song.
- Feliz Navidad!
- Muppet Christmas Carol soundtrack, particularly the Finale: When Love is Found/It Feels Like Christmas. Probably now in my top songs ever. It sounds like what love feels like. And it makes me happy and bouncy and dance in a very silly way.
- Too Cool by Rudimental. A bit of a WTF for me but I LOVE IT!
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier! I don’t have a dissertation or any academic stress!
b) thinner or fatter?
Probably fatter? Not sure I care though.
c) richer or poorer?
Richer! I am still in a lot of debt but I am at least earning now.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Seen friends, cooked, exercised, the usual…
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stress. Faff around. I am so good at faffing. Hating myself. Being scared. Eating beige food. STAYING UP LATE!
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it with Nick at home, after working Christmas Eve and spending the remainder of that evening with my best friend and her boyfriend which was fun! And on Boxing Day we had our usual traditions that we have made ours that was so lovely – much better than Christmas Day! We watched a lot of films and ate a lot and it was really nice.
21. How will you be spending New Year?
I was in bed by 10.30 because I had to work the next day. :( But before that I had had dinner with friends and we exchanged thoughtful and meaningful and lovely gifts which was again really nice! I am very lucky (despite having to work).
22. Did you fall in love in 2016?
No, just loved more. A lot more.
23. How many one-night stands?
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. I still have moments of hate every now and then, but I think those are really young feelings and I try and just ride it out.
25. What was your favourite restaurant of 2016?
I’m not sure! I didn’t eat out much. Probably this tapas place in Barcelona where I had the most amazing beef cheek and also these aubergines with honey and lime which I am literally salivating about now as I write. Also probably D’Raj in Goa where we ate like proper royalty for about £10 each night while we played Travel Scrabble.
26. What were your favourite TV programs?
Holby… GBBO I guess… Gilmore Girls revival was ok. Not really sure. Planet Earth II was pretty bloody great.
27. What was the best book you read?
I started reading again! Mosquitoland was very enjoyable, as was Only Ever Yours. I really enjoyed Susie Orbach’s In Therapy too, because I love her writing style and her insights into psychoanalysis. Others that I enjoyed were We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, A Little Life, The Examined Life, Olive Kitteridge, All My Puny Sorrows… I read quite a lot this year.
28. What were your greatest musical discoveries?
Not sure I particularly discovered anyone new this year…not that I properly fell in love with, or remember off the top of my head, anyway.
29. What were your favourite films of this year?
I can’t remember! I went to the cinema a couple of times but again don’t remember loving it. I, Daniel Blake was bloody great but I felt like I’d been hit by a bus when I came out of the cinema.
30. What did you want and get?
A First! Good(ish) at my job. A nice team to work with. A yellow sofa!
31. What did you want and not get?
The usual, really. The life I should have had and will never get, etc… nothing too big haha. It’s still hard sometimes though (and when it’s hard, it’s overwhelmingly hard, and then it feels like it’s always hard). Also an easier job, but that’s probably my fault really, and that’s something I might need to sort this year.
32. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 33, and I met my BFF for coffee and cake and then had therapy, which was surprisingly nice, then went and got massively triggered on the way home and ended up having d&v later that night. Nice!
33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Better living situation and more staff at work (can’t choose).
34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Relatively nice? Boots and dresses and cardigans or boots and jeans and cardigans. Bit more smart than before.
35. What kept you sane?
TV, writing in my diary, listening to podcasts, listening to the same songs over and over and over again as usual…same stuff really.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
God, I try not to watch/read too much news because it’s all a bit dark isn’t it? And I deal with dark every day. Pretty much everything though, and GOD the American Election GOD GOD GOD that orange twat WTF…
37. Who did you miss?
My friends and family. And my therapist a lot, and in new ways (not just grasping small person ways). I miss her right now. And also myself when I wasn’t available.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Gabi probably, but also a lot of people at work.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
I am ok, and I am enough, and I always have been.
A little haiku I wrote while away this summer:
whatever I need is now
inside me, somewhere
Which is nice to finally learn, and realise, and truly feel.