I’m not the first to say that 2016 has been an odd one. Globally of course it has been a total clusterfuck, but personally it’s been a totally mixed bag. I’ve experienced the most change since I graduated and moved to London almost seven years ago, but actually it’s all ended up incredibly positive – even if it didn’t necessarily feel like it at the time.
In January this year I was in a job I hated, living in a city I was rapidly falling out of love with, and in a relationship I really shouldn’t have been. Now? I’m back living the full-pelt agency life that I feel happiest in, me and London have made up big time, and I’m single and absolutely a-OK with it. It may not necessarily be where I thought I’d be at this point in my life but right now I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year has made me stronger than I thought I could be (although my wonderful friends have told me I’m capable of it all along), and you know what? I’m bloody proud of myself. I’ve had achievements and experiences that I never expected and those bright days have totally outshone the dark and gloomy ones. Without getting too philosophical, this is what I feel I’ve learnt in 2016:
If you’re unhappy, make a change
Like I said, I’m in a very different place at the end of this year compared to the beginning. In January I genuinely felt trapped by everything in my life, but I took the plunge in quitting my job to travel and I’m unbelievably glad that I did. Making changes sounds like a sweeping statement, but it’s not easy. Even when you know something is wrong, sometimes fear of change can hold you back. I very much knew what I had to change but it terrified me and I certainly didn’t feel an immediate lift in mood once I did make those changes. But after a few days, a week, a month, I realised I didn’t have the crushing impact of sheer bloody misery on me, and it was utterly liberating.
Travel means everything to me
This year I’ve travelled to Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, and when this post is published I’ll be living it up in South Africa. I’ve taken numerous trips across the UK too, including finally exploring Margate and discovering the culinary delights of the Isle of Wight. I am exploring the world and it truly is the thing that makes me most happy. I have met wonderful people, seen absolutely beautiful sights, spent quality time with friends who live far away, eaten EVERYTHING and discovered that seeing the world is, for me, absolutely essential.
I’m a grown up
2016 has seen the biggest influx of engagements, weddings and babies that I’ve experienced thus far. There’s housewarmings for people who have actually BOUGHT properties. At first, when I was still stuck in my own world of shittiness, this rang bells of YOU ARE FAILING. But actually, since I’ve made positive changes to my own life, I’ve been able to fully embrace the exciting things happening to my nearest and dearest. My friends are the most incredible bunch of weirdos and I am so proud of each and every one of them.
London is where I want to be
When the news is rife with crazy rent prices and train strikes, London can look like a hell hole. Yes, it’s busy and it’s expensive but it’s also exciting and innovative. It’s full of beautiful architecture, fascinating history and a whole heap of my favourite people. OK, so the rent I pay for the flat share I live in could get me a three bed house in Yorkshire, but I love my attic room in north London with my awesome housemates and adopted cat. I love always having something new to do or somewhere amazing to eat. I left London to see if I missed it. I did.
I actually care about this blog
I know that sounds weird because why else would I write here? Well, three things happened to make me realise this. I started getting amazing opportunities, like staying at the Shangri-La hotel in Shanghai and being an ambassador for JK Rowling’s charity, Lumos. I’m still baffled that this little slice of internet has given me such experiences. Secondly, when I felt at my most low, I stopped writing. And then I realised that I didn’t want negative things to stop me from doing something I actually really enjoy, so I put my ‘fuck this’ hat on and carried on. And finally, I was nominated for TWO awards. Being up for Best Travel Blog at the Bloggers Blog Awards and the UK Blog Awards has been insane, and the fact that people actually read my ramblings still blows my mind.
Thank you for reading this year. Thanks for commenting and sharing and generally making me feel all warm and fluffy inside. You’re a bunch of legends and I hope 2017 brings you all the extra helpings of dessert and free flight upgrades you could wish for.