2018. You’ve been a year full of unexpected people, events, and things.
2016 and 2017 were whirlwinds. I received a new diagnosis that made sense of so many years, worked through another round of CBT, and pushed myself out of my comfort zone - all in an effort to tackle depression and social anxiety head on. I reconnected with old pals, toured around the UK to meet the friends I had made online, and flew solo to America to travel around Arizona, California, and Nevada with a bunch of strangers. I kicked major ass.
2018 dragged. I neglected the goals I set myself in January, and am ending the year with them incomplete. I stopped throwing myself into the hobbies and exercise routines I once enjoyed; noticing I was constantly competing with myself to do more, rather than finding happiness in actually doing them. And I spent months feeling completely lost and unfulfilled. At a glance, 2018 sounds like a dud year, huh?
I thought so, until I reflected again; looking past the initial idea of achievements I could check off a list. I soon came to realise that 2018 has been a year of looking inwards. Particularly through on-going, open-ended, talking therapy I started a few months back. 'My allotted worry time’ as I like to think of it, has caused me look at aspects of my life, that have troubled me for years, in a whole new light.
I have found that I am terrified to disappoint or upset those closest to me, and so always put their feelings before my own - no matter the toll it takes on my health; that I am unhappy in the career I have chosen, because it just isn’t the right fit for me; and that I worry. A lot. These realisations have caused me to action changes in my life. Including stepping away from A Film Club for the foreseeable future, focusing all of my energy into working on my portraiture, clueing up on how to overhaul my space and style, as well as trying to make time for myself.
I believe this has played a part in strengthening some of my relationships in 2018 too. I went on trips with Eleanor, Emma, Luke, and Lauren. Partied on at gigs aplenty with friends and family - including reliving my teenage years with Lizzie, at You Me At Six’s Take Off Your Colours 10th Anniversary tour - and started a ~ romantic ~ relationship with my now boyfriend. All of which have helped me to slow down, and live in the moment more. I am lucky to have the people in my life that I do.
The last time, or should I say couple of times, I wrote about life stuff, I felt like I was floundering with no direction. I felt stagnant, lacked a drive, and feared I was slipping into unhealthy habits. The whole experience, and related feelings, bothered me immensely. I wanted to know where I was going, and I wanted to know it now.
But, from the lessons learned in therapy and time spent with loved ones, I can see that a successful year does not always mean reaching huge milestone, after huge milestone. That actually, understanding my priorities and working to establish a balance between moving forward and rest, will help me make the choices that subsequently lead to progress, and reaching those milestones. And that, no matter how small, an achievement is still an achievement