Is it just me, or does it feel like 2018 only started a few days ago?
Initially, when I started thinking about writing an end of year wrap-up, I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to say – and anything I do have to say, I’d surely blogged about already.
But then I remember that sometimes it can be good to reflect on the year that’s past, and as I do so, I’m realising that 2018 was actually a pretty big year for me, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time. For a start, 2018 was the first full year I’ve spent living in London, which has been a huge change to my life. For that matter, it’s been the first year I’ve spent outside of full-time education. And you know what, these aren’t small things, so in this blog post, I’ve decided to take a look back at what else I’ve been up to, and I’d like to share with you some of the highlights.
Up until now my life has been characterised by some combination of lectures, exams, coursework, timetables, and studying, but just before the start of 2018 I left all that behind for my first full time job. Then, as the year went on, I realised that the job I was in wasn’t the one for me, and as of a couple of months ago, I’ve moved to a job where I can do something I really love, and so far it’s everything I’d hoped for (read more here).
Getting to a place where I’m doing a job I love and working in an amazing and creative environment has been a crazy, exciting, time consuming process, and one that appears to have paid off pretty well.
This year I visited two new countries and revisited another. I went to Budapest in Hungary, Venice in Italy, and for the first time ever, I visited a country I’d been longing to see for a long time… Japan!
This was definitely a huge benefit of working full time – it’s hard to afford a trip out of the continent when you’re not making any money. In Japan, I visited the Studio Ghibli museum, spent time in lots of temples, adopted some Japanese fashions, and ate myself into some serious food comas with the kind of sushi, ramen and katsu that dreams are made of. Easily a highlight of my year. And as I write this, I’ve just booked a holiday to Los Angeles to see Critical Role live, which may be the most crazy, impulsive and exciting decision ever.
The one thing I haven’t done well at this year has been blogging. I didn’t feel motivated to do this for a long time, and even now, I have so much to do that it’s still taking a backseat. I miss getting to talk about books and games and shows I love every week, but at the same time, I think I’m finding a good balance of using the time I used to spend blogging to try new things, while posting updates like this every now and then. I’ve also been writing some fiction in my spare time, which has helped me to feel creative again.
Dungeons and Dragons 🐲
A huge highlight of this year for me is the fact that I joined a new D&D group, and have been having so much fun playing a badass goth warlock alongside some of my old work friends. Being able to geek out like this is a big deal for me, and makes me feel so much happier (read more here). I’ve also started learning to DM, which I’m super excited about.
Another thing it’s been a great year for are the conventions! This year, my main conventions were MCM London Comic Con and YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention). MCM Comic Con this October was amazing thanks to getting to meet so many Critical Role fans and managing to get into a panel to see the cast in real life. YALC was also great fun and I got to meet up with some of the friends I made there last year. I also went to MCM London in the spring, which was wonderful, as I met a lot of awesome people who I’m still in touch with now.
Finally, a big part of my year has been coding! This year has seen me get back into coding and start attending coding meetups. These have been so valuable in helping me get my job and I’ve met some great people. I’ve also managed to give a couple of last minute talks/panels, which has been scary, but a great challenge, and I gave my first attempt at mentoring!
Was 2018 a “good year”? 🤷🏼♀️
Of course, I’m painting a pretty picture of my 2018 when we all know nothing is as good as people pretend on the internet – after all, who wants to share the ugly bits? I won’t pretend this year has been perfect, or even that I acknowledged most of the achievements I mentioned above when they happened. It’s been a really tough year for me and for my mental health, and there have been a lot of challenges and stresses along the way. Reading about politics has got me down, I’ve burnt myself out, and I had a rough patch for a while as I figured out where I wanted to go from here.
However, my personal mantra (which I definitely didn’t make up) is that no matter what, each year is an improvement on the last. Now, I get that this might not strictly be true in all situations, and it doesn’t always feel true either. But I also know that each year I learn more, I push myself more, and I grow to (hopefully) become something stronger than I was before. Even if it wasn’t the best year, I’m one step closer to where I want to be.
Heres to 2019 taking me even closer.
Happy new year! 🎉