2018 Review and 2019 Resolutions

2018 has been nothing short of a joyride to hell. 2017 may have been turbulent, but this year was a whole new level of chaotic. I’ve had extreme highs and lows, sandwiched between weeks of absolutely nothing. I say this to myself and my friends every year: so much has happened this year, but also not really. Did anything even happen at all? I feel life has dragged but also slipped through my fingers so quickly.

Every year I reflect on what I’ve accomplished. Reading through my 2017: A Review post made me realise how optimistic I was going into 2018. I’d achieved so much, I’d so much to be happy about and to look forward to. Surely, 2018 would bring about the same thing.

As I write this, I’m not particularly happy with myself. I’m just getting by and keeping my head low. I had such a completely different mindset at the end of 2017/start of 2018. I was set on certain plans that backfired early on so I had to start from scratch. It caused my mental health to dip to the point where I had my first anxiety attack in public and more. Thankfully, I have better control of it now.

There were some good bits—like how I’ve made new friends in unexpected places and realised that K-Pop honestly isn’t all that bad. Self-care has been a journey and a half, to say the least. One day, it’ll click and I’ll find out once and for all why everything that’s happened this year has had to happen.

To summarise how my 2018 went (as if I didn’t already yammer on about it), I:

  • Moved to Bristol. I knew I was going to eventually, but I wasn’t expecting to be so sad leaving Bath. I guess after living somewhere during some of your most life-changing years makes you feel a certain way about the place.
  • Completed my undergraduate degree at Bath Spa. I’ve not graduated officially due to a huge personal mishap, but that part of my life is finally over and done with.
  • Got accepted into a Masters course at UWE. I wasn’t expecting to be accepted, to be honest, especially because it was such a last minute decision and my grades were not as excellent as I wanted them to be.
  • Started identifying as panromantic and agender. I’ve not come out to everyone yet, but I’ve accepted that that’s who I am and that’s all that matters for now. Maybe when I have all my thoughts in order, I’ll write a proper post about it.
  • Celebrated my first anniversary with my beloved. He is as lovely and supportive as ever, if not better. I genuinely could not ask for a better person to be with.
  • Got my first office job. It was a temp summer one, but it was lush—which is saying something about a typical 9 to 5. The job itself was tedious (answering calls and updating bank details can take a lot out of you), but everyone was so friendly and the office itself was gorgeous and spacious. Needless to say, I was emotional when I had to go. I’d love to go work there again.
  • Started my photography account and kept it going for a good portion of the year.  I’ve gained a small following so I will work on being more consistent with posting.
  • Dyed my hair for the first time. I coloured my fringe teal; I didn’t want to risk ruining a whole head of hair. I’ve wanted to do it for the longest time. It’s all grown out now, though; the tips of my fringe is now a brownish green. It’s actually kind of ugly and distracting.
  • Improved my cooking. Again, being stingy with myself means I resorted to cooking the same things over and over again. I also finally have an oven to cook with when I moved to Bristol; it’s telling how adult I am because that was one of the first things I was excited about. I cooked up with a variety of dishes over the summer and I loved every single one.
  • Took care of myself physically. I ate healthier (with the occasional cheat meal), cut out junk food and snacks, and started swimming again. I’ve lost most of my sweet tooth, too, and the clothes I’ve owned since I was a teenager have so much room in them now. Last I checked, I’m the lightest I’ve been in the past five years.
  • Took care of myself mentally. I went to my first counselling session in February and it went so much better than expected. I learned more about myself, what makes me tick, and a bunch of others things to help me better control my anxiety and bouts of depression.
  • Improved my sense of style. I will forever prioritise comfort and practicality when it comes to my fashion, but I’ve discovered new pieces that fulfil the two criteria whilst still maintaining an elevated, effortless look.
  • Spent more time with my schoolmates. Two of them have recently moved to the UK for higher education. Though we can’t always meet up or talk, this is the closest we’ve been since graduating high school.
  • Experienced snow for the first time. That snowstorm in March was a weird one, wasn’t it?
  • Got approached by two independent authors to review their books. I’m both happy and sad about this one. Happy because never in my life would I think any author would care about my reviews that much and approach me willingly for one. Sad because it was such awful timing with university and job hunting that I wasn’t able to keep in touch with the authors as much as I wanted. I did review their works, but looking back, I wish I’d spared a bit more time for them.
  • Travelled in the name of novel research. It was only the one day trip to London, but it was still fun.
  • Saw my favourite YouTubers live. The fifteen-year-old me inside squealed with joy when Dan and Phil appeared on stage.
  • Became even closer with my family. Like I said in last year’s post, distance really does make the heart grow fonder.

I’ve somehow done more this time around, which is weird considering that for most of the year, I felt sorry for myself for achieving barely anything. Goes to show how we can’t look at our achievements objectively and it’s important to take it easy and, again, how absolutely fucked my perception of time is.

So, I guess, without further ado, it’s time for the main event: the resolution list.

Learn how to budget properly

I think of all the things I’ve included in my list, this has to take top priority. I have some money left over from my previous jobs and my parents, but given that I might not be able to work with the demands of my Master’s course, it’s crucial for me to start properly saving up. I’ve spent a good portion of this year, particularly the weeks leading up to Black Friday and beyond, blowing my savings. I have too much stuff as it is. I need to learn how to prioritise my needs and wants and stick with them. That doesn’t mean I’m going to completely stop treating myself, just not as often.

Explore different styles

I’ve dabbled with some new fashion choices this year, especially in the last couple of months (may or may not have anything to do with my Black Friday shopping spree). Hell, I’ve even found a style icon: Moonbyul of MAMAMOO. Her style may not be the boldest or the most original, but it is absolutely up my alley.

So now that I have a better sense of what it is that I like and think looks great on me, I want to try elevating it more. I’ve started French tucking all my shirts thanks to Queer Eye. I read on Emma Blackery’s blog post about how a belt can accentuate your top from your bottom and pull a look together. If I come across any more fashion tips, I’ll be sure to try it out.

I also want to start accessorising. I’ve never been the biggest jewellery person (most I wear is a black plastic choker), but lately, I’ve been into geometric earrings and stackable rings. I have quite a few saved up on different shop wishlists already.

Become less materialistic

I feel like this both goes hand-in-hand with the previous promises, but also contradicts it a bit. Not going to lie, I’m one of the most materialistic people I know. It’s like as Tom Haverford said: “Love fades away. But things . . . things are forever.” But it’s time to cut back. No one person needs this many clothes or trinkets. I need to start thinking of my spending in terms of how many usages I can get out of it and how useful and practical it is on a day-to-day basis. What I do have now, I can either sell or donate them to a charity shop.

Go on at least one holiday

I do have something lined up for my birthday, but it’s not concrete yet. I’m crossing all my fingers that it happens or I will riot.

Complete the hurdle that is my Master’s degree

Pretty self-explanatory. All I can do is my best and keep all my fingers crossed.

Learn a new language

Or, rather, continue learning a language I’m already kind of familiar with. Just like how I used to hate K-Pop but not so much now (understatement of the year, really), I’ve come to realise that Mandarin isn’t an awful language. It’s just that all the teachers I’ve had in the past were awful, thus how my hatred for the language began. I’ve had the Duolingo owl harass me since the start of November so it only makes sense for me to let it do that. I also know how to ask people for their numbers now.

Keep my connections alive

With me moving to Bristol and all my friends leading proper adult lives, I’ve found it difficult to keep in touch with a lot of them. This isn’t a reflection of our friendship (life does get in the way of things sometimes), it’s just me. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people; I wouldn’t be surprised if half my friendships have died off and forgotten who I am. Or, worse, not care at all. I also live in a different city from my boyfriend now. I mean, it’s only a bus or train ride away, but it sucks when we used to live half an hour away from each other. I just want to put more effort into making time to meet up with my friends, both old and new. Simple as.

So those are my resolutions for 2019. Sorry if this post seems a bit different than usual (I feel like it is, anyway), I’m still not feeling 100% like myself but there’s always hope for the future. Here’s to checking all the boxes and having a better year ahead.

Until next time,
Dev.

(Image is taken from here)

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