Firstly, 2018 has been a life-changing year. Out of all my years on this earth, this year has been the one where my circumstances, attitude and approach has adjusted the most. The only other year I can think of as being this memorable is 2012, when I was 16 and felt like nothing could bring me down.
Well, 2018 brought me down. But it was also the year that built me back up again and I’m going into the New Year with the best headspace yet.
I wrote a blog post quite a while back about the truths of friendship and also my personal experience when it comes to losing a friendship. It’s definitely one of the most difficult things I have been through and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Friends drifting away and the breakdown of friendships sometimes just happens, but that’s OK. Those friends might not be forever, but there’s friends out there that are.
This is something I have always known, but it was really reinforced this year. I have always struggled financially. I grew up in a single-parent household and learned the value of a pound at a very young age. I’m always conscious of the amount of money I have, and how long it will last. But 2018 taught me that no matter how many coins I have, my happiness starts with me. Obviously, money makes life easier but it doesn’t bring the lasting happiness that every human needs.
I have always thought there was a big moment when you all of a sudden realised you’re successful. Like you’d go to sleep one night, and wake up in the morning and realise that you’ve made it, success has been achieved and life is good. When I started blogging, I kept waiting for that moment where I would consider myself a successful blogger but it never came. The reason it never came was because I can define my own success, and my expectations will continue to grow. So with blogging, I don’t think there really is a “top”, you just kinda keep doing it.
I always believed the idea that blood is thicker than water and you must stick with your family no matter what. And although it’s very true that family are important, I do think we have the right to decide who we can class as family and who we don’t. For example, my extended family and I aren’t all that close. We used to be, but not anymore. And I kept thinking I must force a relationship because… we’re related. But in fact, I have others around me who treat me like a real family and they’re all I need. So I choose them.
2018 was the year that I got back into reading. I set a goal of 15 books on Goodreads and I have already passed my target. Since reading for fun again, my imagination has grown so much and I feel so much more excited to create. I’m inspired by the characters I’m following and genuinely feel happy among my growing collection of literature. There are SO many books out there to read, and I have plenty of time to read them.
I used to think that being adult meant knowing everything, and never having to experience learning again. Now I’m 22, adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and I see how important it is to try new things and learn new skills. For me, writing and photography is something I’d like to practise more because there’s always room to improve. I’m also trying to pick a new language to learn but so far I’m terrible at all of them.
Growing up, I was always the only black girl in the room. The only girl with dark skin and different hair – it wasn’t easy to accept myself. Even now, my family are one of the only black families living in my area and I’ve been subject to couple of racist comments every so often. It’s not an easy thing to deal with, and being made to feel like you’re not right because you’re a different colour isn’t OK. I started to focus on the things I like about myself, rather than the things others didn’t like, and began to appreciate what makes me stand out rather than trying to blend in. Now, my mindset is completely different and I’m proud of the skin I have.
This year I actually took a day when I needed a day. I used to feel a little guilty when I couldn’t even get out of bed because I was so down, and used to hate treating myself when my anxiety was at a high because I felt like I didn’t deserve it. But during October, I decided I was going to take a self-care day if I really needed one and it’s made all the difference. I’m no longer as stressed when it comes to everyday life because I have had that time to look after my brain. It doesn’t always have to be a full day, and I absolutely love coming back to life with a fresh mind.
What have you learned in 2018?