As the year begins to draw to a close, I find myself pausing and reflecting, possibly giving a sigh of relief that I made it through pretty much unscathed! Alongside all of the bizarreness we’ve all experienced, 2020 has brought so much change to my life. I find myself staring at a pretty different person in the mirror. Although we still have just under two months to go, I’d like to document my thoughts on this year: the highs, lows and changes I’ve experienced. I hope to bring you some comfort because you can usually find another person who’s experienced the same issues as you. 2020 has given all of us at least several things that could have really pushed us down. Although you could chose to focus on the negatives that we’ve experienced, the tough times that have happened, things non of us ever expected, it may be nicer to think about the positives. The way that our communities came together to support one another in the best ways we could. The different ways we expressed our love to our families and friends – without being face to face. The ways we found joy in the smallest of things and got creative with our time. The chance we had to focus on ourselves and those we live with, or the chance we had to relax more, rest, and not do a great deal.
I think 2020 showed me how resilient and adaptable I am. I never ever expected to be in the situations I have been in this year, and yet I found myself bouncing back every time. I also realised that I actually quite like time to myself, and the chance to do what pleases me. I’m very much a people pleaser, who doesn’t say no often, but having time at home showed me the importance of focusing on myself too.
Changes 2020 brought me.
A change of scenery. In more ways than one! At the beginning of this year, I lived in a rented house in a small town called Natland, just South of the Lake District. I worked as a Teaching Assistant in a special needs school and spent my weekends with family, friends or working a second job. At the end of this year, I find myself living in the Scottish Highlands in a house that we’ve been lucky enough to make our own. I quit my job (more on that later) and fully launched myself into becoming a copy editor and proofreader. I spend my weekends with my partner and puppy, staring out onto mountains and the loch, enjoying a quieter pace of life. Although I miss my family and friends, strangely I don’t miss going out and getting drunk too much, or shopping the high street.
I worked on and improved my mental health. Honestly, aside from lockdown and covid, I found myself in one of the lowest places I’ve ever mentally been in for the first quarter of this year. I can’t put this down to just one thing, as that black cloud loomed over me no matter what. I didn’t find joy in my work or my day to day life, and I had a heck of a lot of baggage that I was unknowingly carrying round. One of the changes I experienced was being lucky enough to get therapy. I discovered things about myself and my past that I never knew and was able to safely work through many things that plagued me more than I knew. I decided to cut out the things that brought me unhappiness – my job, the fact that I could never say no, and the triggers caused by a past relationship. I processed all of this, reflected, and it allowed me to make some peace and grow mentally. Deciding to move and allowing myself to makes changes really allowed me to truthfully say that I’m happy.
Exploring and developing a new career and hobbies. For a while, I’d been broaching the idea of changing my career. When lockdown arrived, I suddenly had a lot more free time on my hands, so I made that leap and dove into the world of books, editing, proofreading and beta reading. This really has been a pivotal point in my life, doing something that could be risky, but makes me so happy and brings me a great deal of joy, inspiration and knowledge. I’ve also been able to begin writing for myself too, and this is progressing really well, especially now that I’m completing NaNoWriMo. I’m so happy!
My little family. Before July, my partner and I rented a property that didn’t allow pets. We knew right from the beginning of our relationship that we wanted a doggy, but we just never had the time for one, even if we were allowed. When we moved house, we spent the rest of the summer working in my partner’s parents seasonal café to save enough to get us through winter. Once the café closed, we got our little fur baby – Lula. She truly lights up our lives, and I really feel like I have my own family of three now, which is so lovely. A dog’s love for their humans is indeed unconditional, and the amount of happiness and purpose she brings to us is immeasurable. Lula’s probably the best thing to happen to us this year!
Basic goals for 2021
Now that the year is drawing to a close, being able to reflect lets me plan and think about goals I may have for next year. I’ve never really been a new year’s resolution girl, but I think having things to aspire to will help to ground me for the time to come, as well as letting me think about things to plan for and ways I can continue to grow. With that in mind, I’ve thought of a few simple goals that I’d like to work on achieving. I’m pretty kind to myself, so these aren’t concrete, and if it doesn’t happen, that’s fine, but hopefully, they allow me to keep both feet on the ground and be sure of what I want out of life in 2021.
- Continue to develop my career. 2020 allowed me to properly start a new career meaning that 2021 should be the year where I can really fine-tune it, gain more clients, more knowledge and more security. I’d like to join the CIEP and complete more courses to expand my skills, as well as further developing my social media community and website. I’d like to ensure a good routine with my blogging, being proactive and using it to my advantage.
- Save for a house. When the cafe season opens back up in March, I believe we will both make time in our schedule to work work work, and I’d love to build our savings pot up enough to have a good deposit and other funds necessary to finding a house. This is a big goal for me and something I really would love for us to achieve.
- Explore more of the highlands. If you haven’t been to this neck of the woods before, then you should know that the Scottish Highlands are stunning. Possibly one of the most amazing areas I’ve experienced, let alone lived in. While I live here, I want to do more exploring, taking Lula on walks; and visiting the remote islands and towns. I’m so lucky to live here, so I really aim to make the most of it.
- Continue to write. Writing is quite a new hobby for me. I always loved reading and words, but I never really realised how well this correlated to me being able to put pen to paper – or hands to keyboard! I’m taking it pretty slowly, and although I’m currently attempting NaNoWriMo, it’s coming from a place of exploration and learning, so I hope to develop this hobby and continue to write. Really I’d love to finish my first novel in 2021, but either way, the goal is to write for me and enjoy the challenge and freedom it brings my mind.
As we enter the last couple of months, I must admit that I’m apprehensive about what they’ll bring. I absolutely adore Christmas, which makes me nervous about not being able to make plans. It’s sad that I know I’ll be missing out on some traditions and seeing all the people I love. I’m sure whatever I do, I’ll make the most of it, even if it’s getting to have a lot more one-person dance parties to Christmas music or completing a Christmas film advent challenge! Whatever happens, I’ll raise a toast to 2021 with open arms, determined to make the most of whatever comes my way.
How are you feeling about the year drawing to a close? Did you discover anything new about yourself or experience many changes?