Goodbye 2018

Portraits by  Luke

Portraits by Luke

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

I may not feel ‘found’ just yet, but I feel like I am heading in the right direction, and closer to myself than I have ever been. I am excited to see what the new year brings. Roll on 2019.

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#the31dayclearaway is a decluttering activity and method, with the aim to decrease the number of possessions owned, by thoughtfully disposing, donating, recycling and selling them, over a 31 day period.

In the hopes of creating a small decluttering community, I will be hosting this activity via my new lifestyle-oriented instagram @sianlives, throughout January 2019. Whether you are at the beginning of a decluttering journey, a seasoned minimalist looking for a refresh, or just someone wanting to put their possessions in order, everyone is welcome to join in. And, depending on the level of decluttering you would like to do, there are two ways to get involved; The Overhaul or The Tidy Up.

The Overhaul is for those who feel like the amount of things they own is starting to overwhelm them. For this option, the amount of items that are cleared away corresponds to the day of the month. I.e. 1 item on the 1st, 2 items on the 2nd, 3 items on the 3rd… All the way up to 31 items on the 31st.

The Tidy Up is then for those who find themselves surrounded by bits and bobs, that have worked a way into their possessions over time, and want to give their space a spruce. This option involves clearing away 1 item a day, for 31 days.


Over the last couple of years, I have become increasingly interested in decluttering, intentional living and minimalism. Even more so after I noticed that clean, tidy and simplistic spaces have a positive impact on my mental health. Being in a space where I know exactly what is there, and where everything is or belongs, gives my stimulated mind one less thing to think about - which, when living with anxiety and depression, is a dream.

Even though I have significantly decreased the amount I own over the last year, donating bags and bags of clothes, books and more, I still have a fair bit left to do. Struggling with hoarding in my younger years and early teens has had long lasting effects on my ability to remove things from my life with ease, but I feel like this activity and method will set up my 2019 off on the right track. I can’t wait to get stuck in!

As I had such a wonderful response to this, then secret, declutter-with-me method on Twitter, I decided to get things underway a little earlier than initially planned, by getting everyone clued in now. A big thank you to Lizzie for helping come up with the name, and to everyone who expressed an interest in the method. Keep your eyes peeled on @sianlives, and I’ll see you on January 1st to get started…

Will you be joining #the31dayclearaway? Let me know on INSTAGRAM and I WILL keep you notified!

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