I’ve been reading a lot of 2016 roundup posts in the past couple of weeks, and most bloggers share the same sentiment that I’m about to share now: as a whole, 2016 has been kind of extremely shoddy, but on a more personal level, we’ve all experienced a bunch of really great stuff amongst the general crap of life.
For me, 2016 has been both phenomenal and heart-wrenching, sometimes at the same time. If this year was accompanied by a sort of best bits highlight reel, it would look something like this:
I Became Single
2016 didn’t start off with the happiest of circumstances, which is kind of a huge understatement. A significant chunk of January was spent mourning the loss of a relationship that had lasted for almost 2 years, but ultimately, I ended up being a lot happier for it. Still, it was my first serious relationship, which meant it was also my first time Becoming Single. It’s always good to experience new things, I guess?
I Focused on Friends + Family
I hate to admit it, but when I was in a relationship, I didn’t make nearly as much time to spend with friends as I had done before. However, they were all ready for a bottle of wine and a trip to the cinema when I needed them the most. This year, my friends and I have worked together, graduated together, drank together, danced together, gone on spa days together, ate a huge amount of food together, gone on mini-breaks together, and laughed together. They’ve gotten me through some very tough times, and I count myself lucky to have each and every one of them.
And now that I’ve moved to Australia, I’ve been reunited with a whole host of aunties and cousins that I haven’t seen properly in years! Babysitting might not be your idea of a good time, but I love nothing more than snuggling up with my cousin’s little kids and watching Cars 2 for the fourth time this month. (Hey, at least it’s not Minions.)
I Dated, like, Properly
Before I got into a relationship, I never really dated. I’d kind of bump into people and meet up with people and give people a cheeky snog or two on the dancefloor, but dating wasn’t something I was super into. After my newfound singledom fell into my lap, I found myself wandering into the dating scene. I was going for drinks and arranging brunch plans on the reg, and it was fun. I am totally here for dating, as long as the person isn’t a complete bore, obviously.
What?! Can somebody please explain to me how three years has passed by in the time it takes me to do a big sneeze? Yep, I graduated with my fancy degree in Creative Writing, I didn’t trip when I crossed the stage, my hand wasn’t super sweaty when I went in for the handshake, and I didn’t lose my cap to the wind when I tossed it up into the sky.
And now people expect me to be, like, a qualified adult or something?
I Learned to Drive
I honestly think I’m prouder of learning to drive than I am of graduating. For years, I had absolutely no interest in taking the big leap and taking lessons, and then, out of nowhere, something clicked. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was know how to manipulate a small vehicle so that it would take me wherever I wanted to go. And I did it! Exactly 5 months after my first lesson, I passed my test!
I Worked, Hard
Somewhere at the end of my first year of university, panic hit and I decided I wasn’t working hard enough. During my second year, I picked up the pace a bit, and in 2016, I’ve been something of a machine. I managed to snag a 1st in my degree while working two jobs, being a course representative and a PR manager for a student magazine, AND running a food blog that I posted on almost every week. Now that I’m in Australia, I’m a part-time worker and a part-time relaxer. Let me tell you, it feels weird to be taking a bit of time off.
I Got Inked, Again
Every time I decide I want a tattoo, I make myself wait for a good couple of years at least before going ahead with it, just to make sure I really want it. I got my first tattoo – a big illustration of the sun – when I was 19, after thinking about it for three years. And I got my second tattoo this July after four years of contemplating. The tattoo itself is a section of my favourite quote from my favourite book (The Great Gatsby, if you’re wondering!), edged by Sweet William flowers, in honour of my lovely grandma who passed away in 2011, and I love it.
I Ate, like, A Lot
Did you really expect me not to include food in my highlight reel of the year? Pfft! In 2016, I ate some of the best food. There’s been tapas, there’s been pizza, and there’s been my first ever experience of mussels. There’s been a hell of a lot of brunch and the beginnings of my obsession with prawns. There’s been freakshakes and doughnuts and pancakes aplenty. Just a lot of really, really great food.
I Became a Blonde
My hair has been a lot of things over the years – long, short, full-fringe, middle parting – and for the most part, it’s been the dark brown it always has been. It’s also dabbled in red, black, blue, and purple, but one thing I never thought my hair would be is blonde. But, in an attempt to go silver a few months back, I found myself accidentally in love with my pale waves, and I decided to ditch the grey and keep it. So now I’m blonde, which might honestly be the biggest change I’ve encountered this year.
I Said Goodbye to Nottingham
One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to leave Nottingham behind. Throughout the three years that Notts was my home, it became my favourite place to be. I know the streets like the back of my hand, I know the prices of all my favourite cocktails at all of the best bars, and I know where to get the best slice of pizza when all you need is some cheesy goodness.
I left on the same day that I graduated, just in case I needed a more obvious sign that my university days were over, and as our car drove out of the city for the final time, I had a big cry. There’s still a huge part of me that is planning to move back there as soon as possible.
I Packed My Bags and Moved to Australia
Yep, and I still count going blonde as the biggest change in my life this year. On the 29th March, I applied for a Working Holiday visa that would let me chill out in Australia for a year. It was approved within half an hour, and before I knew it my flights were booked and the day had arrived. After a quick pit stop in Bali, I settled down into my new life in Australia. I’m perpetually sunburnt and I miss my friends in England like crazy, but I’m having a bloody great time. (And the sky is ALWAYS blue!)
I Was a Bridesmaid at the Most Beautiful Wedding Ever
A lot of 2016 has focused on love. I’ve experienced the painful loss of love, the healing love of friends and family, and the transformative act of loving yourself. And in November I got to stand and watch as my sister married the love of her life. It was the most gorgeous day I have ever seen, and I danced for so long and so hard that by the end of the night, I had cuts on my feet.
I Thought About the Future
While I was a student, I didn’t need to think any further forward than what I was going to drink on Friday night. I was secure in the knowledge that three years would last forever, and the future wouldn’t come a-knocking until I was good and ready to open the door.
It turns out that this was not the case. The future came a-knocking and I’d only just gotten out of the shower, my hair was still wet, my make-up wasn’t finished, and I didn’t even know what I was going to wear, yet. In other words, I was not ready. And to be honest, I’m still not. I think about the future almost every single day. Some days, I think about it in a flurry of panic, convinced that I’ll never be ready. Other days, I think about it and I tell myself that hey, it’s okay. There’s no need to have it figured out yet. Everything’s cool.
2017, I don’t have a clue what you have in store for me. This time last year, I was still in a relationship, I was planning on moving to London, and I would never have thought in a million years that I’d be spending my days stretched out on a beach in the middle of December on the other side of the world. Basically, we can’t predict anything, so why try?
2017, I hope you’re good to me, but I feel pretty confident that you know what you’re doing, and that I’ll be just fine.