glancing backwards, looking forwards


Growing up I was never really one for New Year Resolutions; sometimes I'd make them knowing I would end up completely forgetting them by the second week of February but most of the time I just wouldn't make any.  However, while I'm not a very resolutiony person I am quite a reflective one, (personally speaking, not anti-vampire style.) and something I've often done at the start of each new year is to glance back at the last twelve months and just reflect on where I was at the beginning of the year and any events or moments that happened during it! Some are more pivotal and important and others are simply fun nights I had in my pyjamas with my housemates talking absolute rubbish for hours.

I started 2016 in quite a weird place: academically the first term of second year had completely wrecked me to the point where I got so stressed out that I genuinely considered dropping out of university over Christmas.  
I didn't and even ended up getting a first on a group presentation and a first on a written piece of work! (cue very proud grin every single time I remember that), I, and my class, created a site specific performance that we were all very proud of and that was definitely worth the bruises I gained from dragging a large wooden bed from one side of campus to the other (don't ask..)  But at the start of the year I was so drained and fed up with the entire thing that I ended up avoiding my essay literally until the morning it was due in; six hours later it was submitted and I swore I would never let it get that bad again; and I haven't.  Even when it's been hard and horrible and I've completely hated every single second I've always completed each assignment before the day it's due in; sometimes that has been almost a week and other times I've submitted it the evening before, but I haven't let myself avoid things to the extent I did over Christmas last year; which I like to think of as a lesson well learnt!

 At the beginning of the year I was talking / semi flirting with a girl I really shouldn't have given a second chance to (always trust your gut, especially when it's screaming at you to "walk away, ignore her, say no thankyou and goodbye"..)  but I soon found my courage and my voice to step away and say 'no thankyou and goodbye' and I know I'm a little stronger because of it; it wasn't a horrible experience but I definitely learnt the importance of listening to myself and that trusting myself is so worthwhile!

Throughout the year my mental health went from wobbly, to bad, to good, to awful and back again, repeatedly. I started six weeks of counselling in January and when I finished the run of sessions I never looked back; and by that I mean I walked out of my last one and jumped straight back into pretending I was completely fine.  I wasn't fine and if I'm being totally honest I spent most of this year being not fine.  I did manage to talk about it with my housemate which has benefited me so much in the sense that she can see when I'm having a bad week and will let me get on with it but always letting me know she is there which is something that I still don't know how to thank her for.  Anyway; 
I'm now back on the waiting list for counselling via my university again (six weeks only but I have the number of a more long term person that I'm currently trying to work up the courage to call but baby steps in the right direction is better than burying my head in my duvet!)

I also bought my brothers camera off him earlier this year and while I haven't used it as much as I wanted I have taken some photos that I'm very proud of; including this cat from Crete during quite possibly the best and most relaxing two weeks I had all year!  Taking photos is something I really enjoy and I'm hoping to do more of it next year!  

This year I set myself the goal of reading and finishing fifty books and while I'm not sure how many I actually read I'm pretty sure it wasn't quite fifty; which I find both disappointing and unbothering all at once; looking back now I can name several books I started reading and then never finished but I have honestly no idea what I did instead; I'm going for a wild guess of Netflix though.. I am going to read more in the upcoming year, I'm not setting myself a goal number of books this time though as I don't want it to be something I feel like have to do; I want it to be something that I just want to do.  Saying that I do have a selection of books that I am really desperate to read this year, some I've wanted for a while, a couple are new releases and a few are ones that have been sitting on my bookshelf that I just haven't got around to reading.  Speaking of books; I love them, I love reading (even though I don't do it enough) and I love thinking about them and talking about them so I'm going to be putting more of that on my blog this year.  It might take the form of reviews, list style posts or just general "this book was beautiful so I bought it" but there will be more bookish posts going up over the next twelve months!

 In the past few months (since August!) I've been part of the #GRLPOWR twitter account. we retweet your bloglinks if you include our @ or # in the tweet and host chats every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evening and the rest of the girls involved in the account are honestly amazing! There is so much 'behind the scenes' stuff that goes on to make sure everything runs as smoothly as it does and we ended the year with a blogmas post each day on our blog as well as doing a variety of chat topics, three Christmas movie nights and a Christmas countdown! Phew.  The account and everything that comes with it is amazing (check out @grlpowrchat on twitter to find us and find links to our blog and instagram!)  Since August I've been lucky enough to host several #GRLPOWR chats and each time it's so much fun (apart from the chat when my phone had a meltdown the second it started and crashed out of twitter everytime I sent a tweet...that was more stressful than they usually are but by the end of the hour it was like nothing had happened and no one seemed to mind that it had been a bit all over the place at the beginning.)   But I'd just like to say thankyou to all the other GRLPOWR girls for creating this amazing little (or not so little now) online community; and thankyou to you if you've ever sent us something to be retweeted or taken part in a chat! 

I'm not bothered at all about statistics: that isn't why I blog or tweet or anything but I do have to just take a moment to bounce happily around my room in shock because I'm currently only a few twitter followers away from 1200 which is just completely baffling to think about! When I restarted blogging and really threw myself into it I privately set a goal of 500 followers by the end of the year and I remember passing that in September just being totally amazed!  And now only a few months later I've somehow gained just over double that goal again- what?!! So thankyou for making me bounce in happiness everyone!

Being part of #GRLPOWR meant that I had the motivation to keep blogging and not just give up and over the year I slowly attempted to try out different things; including blogmas which I most definitely failed.. I had the first few days scheduled ready but then it caught up with me at the same time as my deadlines started shouting at me to pay attention to them and I got hit by a cold (which has actually returned this past week and I can't say I'm enjoying it anymore the second time.) so blogmas fell away to the sidelines because I didn't want to completely stress myself out and my uni assignments have to come first.  But I didn't give up blogging completely; over the year I bought my own domain, spent hours fiddling around with the coding system and played around with images and graphics. Blogwise I also just want to get better at it; now I know how to use the schedule button properly..  I want to write more about my life and interests and little things I find interesting so my blog, like myself, will be a work in progress but it will be progressing and that's the most important thing!

I can't think of anything more I want to say, there's a hello 2017 post going up tomorrow that I don't want to step on the toes of so for now I'll just say happy new year to you, I hope you have a good day and evening and I'll see you next year!

love el

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