Lessons Learnt in 2017

by - Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 - what a wild ride eh? It's felt like the longest of my life in many ways, and yet it seems like just yesterday that I was sitting on my front lawn cursing the summer heatwave. It's been a year where I've packed a lot in, made plenty of changes and boy, am I ready for a new year with hopefully a whole lot less personal drama. Still, you never know what's round the corner...before we head into 2018, let's reflect on what I've learnt this year. 

This year I've made the first proper new friendship group since Uni. We're similar yet different, in all the best ways. I've learnt the power of womanhood in tough times, and the strength in finding other women of colour to share experiences of childhood with. I've rediscovered the power of a late night out, having a social life outside of a relationship and the importance of really loving where you work. Thankyou Chloe, Dessie, Eve, Chenice, Lilli, Bobbi, Nathan and Callum for turning up in my life exactly when I needed you. 

Turning your back on things that you've started but don't want to finish isn't a failure. It's a sense of respect for your own time, your mental health and your finances. Maybe one day I'll get that driving license. Maybe I won't. Either way, putting it on hold was a decision that benefitted me at the time and one I'll stick with until it doesn't benefit me any longer. I'm cool with that.

I've written more paid, published pieces for outside publications this year than in any other. I'm really, really proud of that.

I've not written anywhere near enough for myself this year. I'm really not proud of that. Please 2018, be the year I finally manage to commit to a blogging schedule. 

I've been to more gigs in 2017 than I have since I left uni, but listened to less new music. 2018, please bring me some new inspiring artists to get on board with - and a new Arctic Monkeys record, of course. 

My journey of self discovery through blackness is a big work in progress, but I'm beginning to reflect on my youth in a way that is productive and cathartic in helping me navigate my place in a still highly screwed world order. I'm seeing the strength and humour in being me too - working with Gal-Dem this year on a very personal piece was one of my entire year's highlights and something I'm keen to do more of, telling stories that other people can relate to.

I'm learning to live my life without striving for perfection. I'm learning to find my voice online, to say no to things that I'm not 100% into, and to say yes to things that I can't guarantee I'll be good at. It's working out alright so far.

Antidepressants work. And therapy works. Not all the time, and not completely but on the whole, they can pull you out of a whole just enough to see the light for yourself again, and that can make all the difference in helping pull yourself out. But nothing, nothing works as well as escaping away for a week in the sun with your best schoolfriends. Georgie, Reema and Caitlin, thankyou for making me laugh till it genuinely hurt. 

Aside from beach holidays, there are few things more cathartic that holding your best friends hand as you say goodbye to your favourite childhood band as they play their biggest gig to date. The power of live music has never meant quite as much as it did in 2017. Thankyou The Maccabees, you truly were wonderful. Thankyou Anna, the last twenty years of friendship are only just our beginning. And thankyou Manchester - the strength of your city and community in the face of horrendous adversity was truly inspiring, and showed that the show really does have to go on. 

People really, really appreciate a good glow up. Unless you're my boyfriend, in which case you'll just freak out and demand to know what happened to my real face. Make-up is great, but it's not as great as loving your face the way it is, or being with somebody who is fully on board with who you are. 

My bigtime goals remain the same. Write, study, be a good friend and partner. Own a home, embrace my personal style, stay creative. 2017 was the groundwork, 2018 will hopefully be the execution.

And lastly, one bonus point...

Good things come to those who wait. Or rather,  Drake will finally play a gig in your city at which you will do many cries and decide to write your entire Masters degree about the man himself, inteweaving all the aspects of popular culture that interest you most deeply. Nothing feels as freeing as placing yourself right back in the world that makes you most happy, writing and reading and learning. No matter what anybody else thinks, the things that are important to you must be clung onto tightly - your passions are who you are. 

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