So much has happened this year that has truly transformed my life and with the year ending I wanted to take some time to sit and reflect on these.
The year started with me in a bad place. I had hit a new low. Going through the motions of living day by day and not feeling like doing anything. I had the weight of exams looming over me and a complete fear of failure. I was struggling with grief and loss. Feeling all alone. I wouldn’t wish this feeling upon anyone, the feeling of walking through tar every single day. Every step feeling like more effort than you possess. Honestly, if I hadn’t had my friends beside me I don’t think I would have pulled through this. They helped me rediscover the beauty in life again throughout this year. Showed me what joy was once more and honestly I can’t thank them more for this. From starting my year so low I went on to make such amazing memories with the people I chose to surround myself with. I purged out those people I called friends who made me doubt myself, made me feel I was no good. That was a weight off my shoulders. I got called harsh and brash but it was worth it. I stopped focusing on what others thought of me and began working on building my own self confidence, my own character to grow to love.
My self confidence grew insanely over the next few months. I was wearing crop tops and dresses I would have never dreamed of wearing. Alongside this I started going out more and spending more of my time out dancing and drinking with friends and strangers. Now I’m not saying that going out drinking is a bad thing. I say this as a reflection of my year. Despite growing in confidence I now look back and realise I was trying to control my problems through drink rather addressing them head on. This behaviour carried on until mid may when something in my head just clicked. I no longer felt the need to prove I was having fun. My nights out actually became enjoyable. I felt closer to my friends and actually met people who would go on to completely change my life for the better.
By May time my exams for university were here and I was completely shitting myself. My entire life failure has scared me. Failing my exams and not getting into uni felt like my world would end so yes, I became incredibly sleep deprived staying up to try and cram in every last bit of information for my 9 exams. Those three weeks honestly felt like a lifetime. I was sick, stressed and pretty sure I was slowly losing every capable brain cell that I owned. The relief when they were over was like taking off heals after a night out and I think I slept for nearly a solid week straight when they were done. After this I had time to focus on what really made me feel good.
Every week I had a lunch date with my best friend, to sit and catch up with her face to face rather than over social media. Yes it meant I was spending more money than I would have liked but the times I spent with her were some of the best memories I have from my summer break. We laughed, we cried, we shopped more than we would like to admit and god did we have fun doing it. In between this I worked and between that I hit the gym. My focus, however, had drifted away from training for aesthetics. I was training to make me feel good, really focusing on increasing my strength and I was loving it. I had never felt so confident in the gym. I was watching what I ate but was restricting no where near as much as I had been the previous year. I was enjoying the life I was living. My social life was bustling in the best way possible and I was being successful in my work and the gym. This has definitely been something I consider as an achievement this year as in previous years my life balance struggled as one thing tended to dominate above the others.
The utter highlight of my summer is one night in early August. I was having a low day and just wanted to get out of the house. One of the greatest people I know picked me up and we simply drove around for hours, listening to music and talking about everything and anything. We parked up by the beach and carried on talking, getting to know each other more than I thought I could. Around midnight we sat and watched as a thunderstorm rolled in and honestly it was breath-taking. Thinking back to the night is so clear in my mind and it still makes me smile nearly 5 months on. I am really happy to say that this experience has resulted me finding my partner in crime who stood by my side from that moment on and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
A couple days later was the day I had been refusing to think about for months. Results day. Early that morning I set off to pick up my friend, worried for what might be. I sat in a car park waiting for my friend to leave her house when I got an email telling me to check the status of my university application. Hesitantly I checked the website and cried when I saw the message saying I had gotten into my dream university to study sports rehabilitation. That morning went by in a blur. Hugs and congratulations were in order for most but for many I knew it was condolences and tears. Definitely one of the more emotional days of the year. That night however we celebrated in style, up all night dancing only to go home the following day with makeup still on from the night before.
From that point on my life was on countdown to university, preparing to move out and away from everything I had known for my entire life. I was excited to live on my own but scared to be in a new city with no one I knew. Move in day was horrible,for one I was hungover from leaving drinks the night before and secondly saying goodbye to my family, especially my dog was horrible. I spent most of that day sleeping rather than unpacking. I spoke more about my freshers experience in a previous blogpost about confidence but it certainly was eventful to say the least. I went through a whirlwind of not feeling like I fit in and that I was all alone. I still have days like this, low days where I just push through but generally I am enjoying this new experience. I look forward to the new year here and all the experiences university will continue to bring.
In terms of the gym I only go 2-3 times a week and one of those is part of my university course but I am discovering how to love my training again. I’ve learnt so many new things and have been introduced to Olympic lifting which I absolutely love! I am excited to get home and get back into my home gym and practice what I’ve learnt but ultimately I am enjoying taking a step back and listening more to my body. My diet is pretty good for a uni student, I would say I eat more vegetables now than I did when I was living at home. I find that I barely eat red meat now which is certainly a change from the beginning of the year and also find myself picking vegetarian options more frequently.
I’m pretty proud of the things I’ve done this year. I’ve moved away from home, become independent, travelled to both ends of the country to meet my boyfriends family (7 hours driving in snow is not fun), grown into an “adult” and most importantly learnt to love who I am. These might seem really irrelevant to most people but to me these are massive things about my year. I am proud of the person I’ve become in the space of 12 months and I don’t plan on looking back.
So here is to 2017. To the ones we have lost and the ones we have learnt to love. We are the people we decide to be and those 12 months can see a complete change in your person. So I bring on 2018, with my head held high and those I love by my side hand in hand to walk this journey with me.