Looking Back… and Looking Forward

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash.

Ten months ago, I would have said that 2017 was the worst year of my life, but that I was hopeful about 2018. Well, move over, 2017, because 2018 has officially pushed you off the podium. This has been the worst year of my life.

I don’t want to make it sound as though I consider each year of my life to get progressively worse – they don’t. 2016 was okay, ’15 and ’14 were pretty good. But all 2018 has been for me is an in-between period: the limbo between medications. We know it doesn’t work, but we don’t yet know what we’re going to do about it. In the meantime, I have to sit. And wait. Wait for the next appointment. Wait for the next test. Wait for the next results. And on, and on, and suddenly I’ve blinked and this cycle has continued for over a year.

Of course, 2018 hasn’t been all bad. Sure, the first month saw the spectacular crash-and-burn of my mental health, but after I got myself onto an antidepressant and into therapy, I saw an exponential increase in my mental health. I still have shaky days, but I no longer feel the suffocating haze of depression every day. I feel more balanced, mentally, and I smile a lot more than I did last year. 2018 also saw the completion of my first year at university and my progression onto my second with excellent grades (take that, Crohn’s, anxiety and depression!). I started to rediscover the things I used to love, like cooking and reading. I started learning to be kind to myself again. Whereas last year I just sat there while things happened to me, now I’m actually going out and doing them: university, volunteering (both as a society committee member and with my university’s peer support network), blogging, socialising, trying to soak up as many experiences as possible.

So 2018 feels like I’m waking up from a dream that lasted 14 months, and I’m only just becoming fully conscious. Instead of kicking myself for what now feels like wasted time, I’ve been inspired by Hannah Witton’s brilliant blog post to compose my own set of goals for the last few months of the year. Hannah is one of my favourite bloggers/vloggers, and reading what she wrote about gathering enough momentum to take on 2019 really resonated with me. Here’s my #2018homestretch to end this year on a high note:

MY #2018HOMESTRETCH

  • Read 10 books. Reading is an excellent way for me to slow down, to force my brain to focus on something that isn’t work or stress. It’s fallen by the wayside a little bit this year, so while I can’t complete an entire Goodreads challenge, I’m going to do my best to read at least 10 new books (old books I have on my phone don’t count) before the end of the year. My Goodreads is here, if you want to keep up with how I’m doing!
  • Make (and document) 5 new recipes. I’ve been experiencing a renaissance of my love of cooking now that I’ve got my own kitchenette (more on this in a later post!). So I want to start being a little bit more adventurous in the kitchen, and documenting my experiments for the blog – be they successes or failures!
  • Set aside at least an hour a week for art. I’m not a skilled artist, but I find it immensely soothing, and, like cooking, I want to transform it: from a task that I feel like I have no time for, into one that’s smoothly integrated into my routine. I know I’ll feel better for it.
  • Publish at least two blog posts a month. I love blogging. I do! I know, it doesn’t seem like it, given the dearth of posts on my blog at the moment. But you aren’t seeing everything I’ve written and then chucked out, or lost, or forgotten to write down. I’m giving myself free rein to stop over-analysing everything I want to put into words and to just write.
  • Continue to streamline my life. As every student who has moved to/from university accommodation knows, a lot of stuff goes into living. While I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, I know I want to cut down on the amount of objects I keep. I started off this summer with a full clean-out of my wardrobe, and I want to continue by clearing out my childhood books from my bedroom at home. After all, I’ve only got a tiny bookshelf, and if I want to read 10 more new books by the end of the year, I’ll need somewhere to keep them!

I feel good about these goals: ambitious enough that I’m excited to achieve them, but realistic enough that I actually have a chance to do so. Do you have any goals for the last few months of the year? Let me know what you want to get done! Here’s to ending 2018 on a high note – let’s smash it!

 

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash.

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