There’s also that weird trend of making huge resolutions and vowing to change your habits and sometimes personality in the course of one evening. Yes, I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of New Year’s Eve.
For the first few days of 2019, social media was full of reflections from the past year, whereby everyone shared all the things they did, all the places they visited – but this just make me feel like I hadn’t accomplished much in 2018 and felt a bit dull in comparison. I really should stop following influencers with millions of followers who have the means to have the adventures they do (or the brand sponsorship to have the adventures they do). But when I stopped (and stopped scrolling) and thought about it, I have accomplished more in 2018 than I set out to do. And hopefully, in 2019, I can enjoy some more of the same accidental successes that I enjoyed last year.
To give you some background though: 2017 was not a good year for me. I was in a job, that I wasn’t getting joy out of anymore. I resigned, moved countries, and struggled further. I was unemployed for the remainder of 2017, and struggled through two internships that I found fascinating, but knew weren’t quite right for me. I fell asleep worrying about money more nights than I could count. My family was on the other side of the world (and my brother had a baby on the way) and I’d never felt more alone.
My mental health took a deep dive, as I was unprepared with how unemployment would make me feel. My physical health deteriorated alongside my mental health – the worse my depression got, the worse my eating habits got. I would come home from an internship, lock myself in my room, and just smash down whatever lollies or chocolate I’d gotten from Poundland. My parents were so supportive, and left the door open for me to come back anytime I wanted, but I personally felt like that would be coming back with my tail between my legs and would equate to failure (I’m very stubborn). I’m pretty sure one of my only resolutions when 2017 ticked over the 2018 was to get a job. I just desperately, desperately, wanted (and needed!) a job.
2018 brought me that. Well, technically, my manager and HR team at my work brought me that… but still! I had a job that I enjoyed, that I didn’t dread going to, with colleagues that have become good friends. I started walking to work, originally from my place in Camden, and then when I moved, I walked the hour from Battersea. I managed to rack up walking 55km over the course of a week. I moved to an area that suited me better, with wonderful, hilarious roommates that cook and bake all the time and are super generous with their food (which is very important to me in a friendship). I started cooking for myself (some of the time). I’ve had a couple of articles published in different magazines and on different websites. I’ve made some great friends in London, and I’ve travelled to both Amsterdam and Paris. I surprised my family over Christmas and got to meet my nephew for the first time ever (as a first-time aunt!). And most importantly, I decided to take charge of my mental health, instead of struggling with it on my own, and went on medication to help with it. In comparison to others, it may not be much. Others have travelled more, exercise more, cooked more (but probably not ate more). But for me, these are all huge accomplishments that I’m proud of.
And now we’re nearly at the end of the first month of 2019. I haven’t done much so far this year – a horrific sunburn has finally finished peeling off, so I guess I have a whole new layer of skin? I have some trips loosely planned but haven’t got any big resolutions. Now that I’ve taken charge of my mental health, I’d like to begin to take care of my physical health. I haven’t assigned myself a particular size or particular weight – just regular exercise and less junk food (mi goreng, I really will miss you). When 2019 ticks into 2020, I’ll probably still be at home being the Ebenezer Scrooge of New Year’s Eve. Hopefully I’ll have another list of small quiet accomplishments to be proud of – maybe I’ll even make an annoying little highlights reel about it on my Instagram story (if that’s still what people are using at the end of 2019).