Well, it’s here: my annual sit-down post where I talk honestly about my year. I haven’t been writing these intimate posts at all lately. My blog has become more detached than ever. Nonetheless, I like writing and reading back on these posts so here goes…
2016 was a whirlwind of a year. I have completely changed as a person. I’m in a totally different headspace. Everything happened all at once and, yet, there were so many lulls of nothing. I am going through both my blog and my journal to write this so feel free to return through it with me.
I started with higher hopes for myself, given the depression of the winter. I set myself a month of challenges. I read a lot, I returned to London and my third year of uni. I saw Lumiere London and watched in wonder as my city lit up. I found the perfect red lip, went through a spot of homesickness, bought a planner in an attempt to stay on top of myself. I kept reading, I kept writing, I discovered poetry. I fell back down in March, under the stress of everything.
I turned everything around in an attempt to salvage myself and uni. I became minimalist, I donated nine black bags of my belongings to one charity shop in East Sheen. My room was empty and my headspace spring-cleaned. I had been spoiled for my birthday and felt all the love around me. I flourished. I admitted to you guys that I had adopted cats! I became productive at university. I took some more blogging work and began doing sponsored work and more detailed written work to find my feet.
I studied hard, I took my final exams and I celebrated finishing uni, reflecting on the good times and the bad. I got an important email about a novel I had written. I headed to my hometown to work on it immediately. I had to leave my student flat. I had saved £4000 and I moved into zone 2 with Adam in the heat of summer. We spent our days building flat pack furniture and buying plants, exploring London for art, our afternoons making friends in the neighbourhood and the evenings drinking in the park with pizza and a lot of hope. We had done everything we said we would. We were building our kingdom.
Though I looked happy, there was a lot going on behind the scenes for us. I couldn’t find full-time work and, having applied and been rejected to upwards of 70 jobs, I was losing hope. I was reserved, entirely self-consumed by the financial pit I was slipping into and worried everything would be ruined. I was a month away from having to move back home.
I got a call from a recruiter one day saying that there was a social media management role I might be interested in. It was a full time blogging job for an events company. They wanted me to write about cool things to do in London. I wrote a cover letter, got a first interview, had a general chat and was called back a few days later. I took a marketing plan and my previous published works. Midway through looking at my online portfolio, my mum even text me good luck, knowing it was my last chance before I gave up and went back to retail! Long story short, I beat 75 other people to the post and got the job! With a loan from my nan while I worked my first month, I was back on my feet!
I was inspired again. I bought a typewriter, I wrote things. I read things. I explored new places– not just our new area but where we work too. Adam got a banking job in the city by St Paul’s and I revelled in being surrounded by beauty and art everywhere we went.
The Best Day of My Life
I was so nervous when my mum received the confirmation of my degree. I had gotten it into my head that I wanted a first and nothing less. I had worked so hard, studied for so long and put everything into those nine hours of exam time… It paid off. I got a first. On paper. I had the best graduation ever — all my family were there on Southbank, my favourite place. Right there in the centre of London, I cried tears of happiness and said goodbye to the biggest life-changing chapter of my life. The one that took me right out of my tiny home-town and dropped me somewhere I actually belonged. I looked at my beautiful friends who had been there from day 1 and felt so blessed.
Getting that first class degree reminded me of something. Everything I have ever said I would do, I have done. I could do anything. I could create anything. I left graduation, hungry for more.
I took some events to blog for both work and Hannah’s Happy. I made new friends, experienced new things and just how far writing could get me. I was thinking big again. I was so busy. I’d work a full day’s work, go to an evening event (sometimes I’d party, sometimes it would be tame). I would come home, eat something, work some more for Hannah’s Happy and plan some stuff for the store. I was getting invitations left, right and centre and was so busy but so happy. Then another life-changing thing happened.
The Best Day of My Life Take 2
My book was picked up by a publisher. The project I had spent far too long working on, the manuscript that I had poured not just my frustrations but my heart into. I had bared everything in it and wanted so badly for it to be read by just one other person who might take something from it but was losing hope of it ever coming to reality after a number of rejections. I had nearly forgotten all about it when, suddenly, I was thrown back into the imaginary world I had written to edit and sharpen and start the publishing process. I said I was going to become an author. I had achieved that too.
An Ode to 2016
2016 was one of the hardest years of my life. Sometimes I pushed myself, enthusiastically, into a lot of hard work. Other times, it felt more like I was dragging my sorry self through a number of crappy days. My lowest lows matched my highest highs. 2016 was the year of loss but also the year of new beginnings. It was the year that shot me down so much, I thought I’d never get through it.
But it was also the year I discovered just how much I can withstand. I have more ambition than can be contained in such a small person. But I know, thanks to 2016, that I’m the kind of person that makes stuff happen. Seeing your achievements is like meeting yourself for the first time and I’m not so bad.
So, 2017, what I’m hoping for from you is prosperity, new experiences and, above all else, I’m going travelling!