The stretch of 2019 stands before me, the mouth of a cave. It is a year of anticipation, of hope for travel and humility. I started my look back, my rewind, on 2018 in my journal with this line: it was a weird year, neither wholly bad nor wholly good. I think of that line now and it occurs to me that is it not, in fact, an accurate assumption: 2018 was mostly good, a sum of 365 days divided into achievements and new starts, with a handful of “meh” days. And that’s okay.
I look back upon 2018, fresh into 2019, and think about the achievements. I focus upon the achievements, the good and the positive. Too often we emphasise the negative, and I want to stop doing that so much.
In January, I spent three days in Nowhere, Derbyshire (not an actual place) with my university class for a writing retreat. The truth is I did very little writing, but filled the days with laughter cramps and laughter tears
In February, I took a breath and came out to my parents. I won’t go into detail as you can read it in my coming out story.
In April, I handed in my dissertation, closed the tabs of researching Victorian slang and the origins of rock-paper-scissors. I also, finally, had inked upon my skin my dedication to Adam Parrish, a character who remains my strength, my reminder that I am my own Magician and that my power exists even when I feel powerless.
In May I handed in my final piece of coursework, finished my studies. It was exhilarating and terrifying, and something I talked about more in this coffee talk.
In June I went abroad for the first time alone, placed the weight of major holiday responsibility upon my shoulders, and filled five days at one of the happiest places on earth. Five days at Disneyland Paris were five days of laughter, of exhilaration, and of buying arguably too much Tangled merchandise. It was celebrating finishing my degree, and finding out on the final day that I had finished with first class honours.
In July I turned twenty-one, marked the day with good friends and joy.
In August and September I worked an internship with my local museum service. It was an internship that taught me that I am capable of so much more than I ever realised. I spent my final day throwing fairy-lights at ceiling rafters to set up a wedding reception. I got teary-eyed as I walked away.
In November I donned the cap and gown. I walked across the stage and became an official graduate in creative writing.
And in December, I took a much needed and much wanted social detox.
2018 wasn’t easy. Sometimes it sucked. Sometimes I wanted nothing more than to scream, hurl insults at it like punches to the throat. But, as I said, I’m focusing on the positives.
And so here is 2019. I’m not one for resolutions. Frankly, I know I’ll break them within the seemingly never-ending month that is the bleak midwinter of January. I’ll cut down on carbs. I’ll save more money. I’ll create a capsule wardrobe. I will certainly not cut down on carbs, and a lot of my money gets spent on clothes after two months of having a capsule wardrobe because ooh that dress is cute.
So, no, I don’t make resolutions. Instead, I look upon what I have achieved over the last year and vow to keep working, to try harder. I will be kinder, more thoughtful with words, to others and to myself. I will give to charity more often. I will be more sustainable in diet and lifestyle. I will return to beloved places. I will continue to work on myself, continue to be myself unapologetically.
I will be myself, unapologetically.