My 2016 Overview.


This year has been a shitty one for the world, let's face it. Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong. People we look up to and fragments of our childhoods have died, the world is hating each other from all sides, and there's a question as to whether dumb people should vote. It's been a horrible roller-coaster of a year. Which makes it somewhat awkward for me to say that, personally, my year was pretty darn good. From meeting my better half in person, travelling, to personal achievements. And seen as this is my blog, I'm going to choose to concentrate on the good stuff as those are the things I want to remember. Before I get chatting (or typing), I'm going to warn you that I have the worst cold of my life and I'm currently on a whole lot of medication. So if I'm rambly, well, that's just naturally me... but the sentence alignments that make no sense is ill Anne! Blame her!

If I were to categorise my year into levels of importance, love would be the one shining bright. I was in love last year, but I hadn't truly felt the love that one can offer in person. I'm a creature of the Internet, I hide behind screens and put my feelings into text - it's my comfort zone. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it until I was face to face with someone I love, and was able to reach out and touch them. People trash LDR relationships like it's going out of style, but until you experience it for yourself, you can never know how surreal it is to have someone touch you without ever having touched you. If that makes sense. It was weird, overwhelmingly so, but... normal? I don't know if that's the correct word to choose but I can't think of another way of putting it. Despite the way your heart beats with every message and the way your cheeks will hurt from smiling after a Skype date, nothing can prepare you for the sudden wave of happiness that comes from existing with someone in the same space.  I hadn't experienced anything like it and I would happily give a limb to relive it over and over. If my year was a sundae, love would be the entire glass of ice cream.

Originally when my partner visited back in April, we planned to do both Scotland and Ireland. But between funds and limited time, it wound up making more sense to stick to one and save the other for a future trip. It seemed better to devote all our attention to one place and not have a limited experience due to over cramming, you know. Yeah, you know. Scotland was beautiful. The company made it better. You can read about our trip HERE and HERE, but it was easily one of my highlights from this year.

I like to be in America! Ok  by me in America! West Side Story? Just me? Okay. This was the cherry on top of the year or sundae, and not just because of the fact I got to return home into the arms of a man I care so deeply for (making you nauseous yet?), but because it was a bloody massive step for my personal growth. It seems ironic that the girl who gets anxious from having to go to the local shop to pick up a tin of tuna for the cat can travel that far alone. I know, my mind is still a mystery to me and I've lived with it for the past 20 years, I'm proud of myself. Sure, it was terrifying and I almost missed my first plane and I kept freaking out whether I needed to pick up my case or not (next time, future Anne, just listen to the desk clerk... the one that gave you the wrong boarding pass. Okay, don't. Trust your instincts, girl.). The trip itself was filled with love, experiences, and lots of poptarts. I met his family and friends, all of whom were friendly and inviting, which completely boggled my mind because that many people surely can't be nice. Maybe I've been with the British too long (That was a joke, get your hopes down boyfriend). But really, jokes aside, I was comfortable and happy throughout the entire three weeks and for me that is what I'd call an achievement. Life is one funny little thing.

During the trip I experienced things that I never thought would be in my future, let alone near future. The little girl in me spent the entire trip with her mouth wide open in shock. Bar for Germany last year, I've never done a full on vacation and it felt surreal throughout every touristy thing that we did. It was so much fun.

Gilmore Girls
The whipped cream under my cherry (I should really stop using this euphemism now), Gilmore Girls returned! The Stars Hollow groupies got together once more to fill our lives with a little more cheer and family warmth. To say I was excited for this is an understatement, I was counting down those days. Like many, me and my mother see ourselves in the dynamic duo that is Lorelai and Rory. Our relationship has always been more friendship than family and as complicated as that can be, I wouldn't change it for the world. It's shaped me into who I am and I will forever be grateful for weekends spent watching Buffy or Angel on the floor because the dog took the couch, eating frozen lasagna at 2am, and disliking everyone around us. The renewal of our beloved show was all that we could've hoped for. But really... where was Rory's underwear?

My volunteer work took a nose dive this year, partly because a unnamed manager from my previous workplace didn't fully grasp the 'unwell but wanting to help out' motto. Let's be honest, he put me off. Completely. And I hate myself for allowing someone to put a damper on what was initially something I thoroughly enjoyed. I desperately want to get my groove back (cool enough to say that? Doubtful.) in 2017 and try to put my inner worries aside and have faith that someone will be happy to accept my help without constantly sending me home because I'm quite literally useless to them. That aside, I continued with my local volunteering and loved it. I've done more arts and crafts this year than I have done in the past 5 years of my life, and you know what? It was well worth the catch up. Working with children is something that can only described as fulfilling. It's like an instant happiness boost and I only wish I could do it more regularly. Precious memories.

Okay, this is less about my own personal achievements but one for the girls behind #MentalMovement. The growth of this platform has been astounding to watch and I'm like a proud little fangirl in the wings 'yaying!' them at every opportunity. The aim of this entire foundation is beautiful and sits so close to my heart. The fact I'm honoured enough to write a few posts for them is a bonus. This year they grew into a Zine (which you can support HERE) and even if I hadn't been asked to post a little book review for them to be included, I would be so enthusiastic for what this means. The fast growing support and awareness for mental health is beautiful to watch. We still have so far to go, but we're getting there. One Zine at a time.

Physical Health
As a whole. I've had a pretty decent year with physical well being. My mornings haven't been as rough as last year and I'm so grateful for that. I've now completed physical therapy, hydrotherapy, counselling sessions, pain clinic, acupuncture, and am now awaiting an appointment with a psychiatrist (Thank God for the NHS). I've tried various dietary plans and nothing has offered the help I need, yet. But the more I tick off, the faster I am to finding the right thing. So I'm going into 2017 with hope that this year I may find something useful. The only thing that arose thing year that I'm finding difficulty in is car rides. The pain in my back is unmanageable with the constant rocking and any suggestions you may have, I'll truly appreciate. It isn't something I can avoid and in truth, it's worrying me. So.. suggestions, yes, please!

Mental Health
Mental health has been a yoyo, but I'm managing. My confidence has taken a large plummet and I desperately want to fix it next year. I want to eat far better and workout more (Classic resolution, aye?), but more for my mental state than anything. When I treat myself or whatnot, it plays on my mind for far too long and when I'm hating my body, I find it hard to find a positive in anything. Which, yes, is silly but I can't control my irrational brain. I'm never going to love my body, or look in a mirror and find something I'm happy with. I accept that and I know there are far better things to value in life, but if it adds to my overall happiness, then it's worth working on, right? My mind is like a game of dominoes sometimes and if one thing is off, it pulls everything else down with it. Probably something else I should work on.

Dear Future Anne, 
Don't connect all those dots in your brain. You feeling pretty really has nothing to do with why you hate crowds and definitely nothing to do with the moaning dog. Stop connecting! 
Sincerely, me... or you. Or past you. Or something.

Personal Growth : I'm Getting There
As mentioned above, the travelling played a big part in my inner strength this year. I've decided to start accepting that while some other peoples achievements in life right now are massive and defining, mine may be small and that's okay. I can't compare. The classic "grass is always greener" comes to mind, but I loathe grass so I'll ignore that. It's hard being shelled when others my age are doing extraordinary things and shaping their futures. I'm just a slow grower and, again, that's okay. So long as I'm working towards something, I'm doing okay. As written above, health is still not the best for me but I have more than most and I won't be taking that for granted in 2017. I won't hate on myself for only being able to do little steps and needing a rest. At least I'm walking, you know?

So there it is. My year in just over 1,000 words. It's crazy how we can capture a chunk of our lives with so little. This may of been my biggest year yet. I'm proud of all I accomplished this year and I hope to carry that mentality with me into the New Year. Next year will no doubt come with some obstacles, and possibly changes, which I have to learn to be okay with. I can't be the girl who hates change forever. Well, I can, but I shouldn't.

Happy New Years!

- Anne x

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