Just like every year in my life, 2017 has had its really terrible moments. It has also had some incredible moments. There will be many memories from 2017, some that I would rather forget and some that I will cherish every single day for the rest of my life.
Over the last couple of years my hopes, dreams and targets have always been fairly unrealistic, not SMART enough as educators would state, and sure enough they fell by the wayside sooner rather than later but in my mind their are always self-enforced expectations.
At the start of the year I was in a dream world of hoping to start saving for the wedding, for a mortgage deposit, to able to move into a larger flat in the mean time, starting to learn to drive and start taking my passion (this blog) a lot more seriously. I live in London where the rent for our poxy storage lacking box alone is 75% of my monthly wage… none of those things were ever going to happen… but good things did happen (though looking at my list perhaps not as much as a 23 year old could hope for). LET’S GO.
- I started to cook a lot more of my two favourite foods and incorporating different ingredients and methods. Mac n cheese and risotto, please never leave me. Okay this is bigger than cooking the foods that I love and make me have that comforting feeling inside, this is about acknowledging what both my mind and body needs with foods at certain points and going with it. Mind telling me I need takeaway pizza? Mac n cheese is a carby cheesy comforting goodness that comes close enough and the process of cooking lifts me too!
- Linking to the last point, I brought my social media and blog back more to food and I started to interact with the food community more too. From knowing the latest cookbooks that are out, the upcoming chefs and the spots to go and eat I know all about it and sometimes even find a way to purchase the recipe book or attend it (though I did go to a fair few restaurants this year and reviewed them too). Sure it hasn’t been me diving into the food community and making myself known but it has made me happier with myself and the direction of my content.
- At the start of the year I was forced to go to the other side of London to two cooking courses which in itself was pretty cool but it was a day that filled me with dread (and the idea of doing so again still does) and made me very nervous. I managed to do it and learnt some things along the way though haven’t actually put any of the cooking skills to use so essentially it was just a day of anxiety but at least I can say I “did it”…
- I supported Sub Terra on kickstarter, started to pay attention to the boardgaming community, went to two boardgame cafes this year (visited three but didn’t sit down in the one in Bromley so it doesn’t count) and purchased more games for our miniature collection and actually played them.
- We had a general election. And bloody hell I am still pissed off that Labour didn’t sweep into Downing Street that night but locally we had a success and I can say that I was part of that. I did have to leave Croydon mid-campaign to go to a family funeral and that did sort of kick me out the habit of canvassing every night after work but I still did more than I could possibly have imagined would be mentally or physically possible. I mean the very first few days of the campaign before we even really had a plan from region or national we were already hitting the doors and talking to people. AND you know what else? The general election resulted in me going from sort of knowing people in the party to having a bunch of friends.
- That is right, you can close your mouth from the shock now before we accidentally kill a fly, I MADE FRIENDS. Friends that I speak with and see regularly, that understand sometimes I just need to chill and hide away from everybody for a couple of days and that get my interests (even away from politics). To be clear I do have more friends than this particular group but 2017 gave me a chance to enhance and cement friendships with existing friends as well as properly become part of a newly formed friendship circle. This is without doubt the best thing that happened to me in 2017.
- Since that general election I have been elected as treasurer and Local Campaign Forum representative for my Constituency Labour Party. From attending extra meetings, whipping up spreadsheets and helping to oversee council selections as well as now helping to form new branches under some boundary changes I have done a lot of the politics thing this year. I even got up at London Regional Conference and spoke on a rule change.
- One of the friends I made has helped me to start on the journey of making my blog and social media photography less shit. It is going to be a long journey but we are on the way to at least getting images that you don’t feel your skin crawling up at whenever you look at them. We will never be talking magazine quality images, we need a food stylist in the house for that, but maybe we can reach student website levels… P.S I like my photos really bright and I apologise to all the actual photographers that upsets.
- I worked with the Co-op on a number of campaigns; I went to two wine tasting events and participated in an Easter project with them. They all flowed on from the Sorted Food event they arranged at the end of 2016 so it has been great to continue to develop that relationship with them and meet a number of fantastic bloggers along the way. Then just a few days ago I partnered up with Venture Travel as they start on their online travel agency path and it is great to be part of a community and acknowledged from time to time.
- I finished my level three apprenticeship in business administration and have progressed to being Operations Manager in my workplace. I am pleased that I managed to actually complete something in my life for once and have managed to progress in terms of work and position. We even got Highly Commended in the Croydon Business Awards for Customer Service so I got all dressed up and spent the evening at the ceremony. When I started it was from a place of desperation rather than anything else; desperate to get enough money to literally keep the roof over my head, desperate to show people I could make something of my life and desperate to just find a purpose for existing. None of it helped me to get out of being depressed, that desperation often made things worse, and even now there are days when having to go to work actually makes the problems inside my head 10 times worse but I am still desperately trying to keep going to not show the haters I am the failure they deem me to be.
- I surpassed the number of blog views I had last year, with one day getting over 2000 views alone, and my DA has slowly started to rise since I read up on it and how to help make myself more ‘present’. Numbers are certainly not things that matter to me but they do provide some sort of validation for blogging being something that I continue to do in my far-too-busy life and give me something to focus on and to aim for – having something to aim for also makes me feel personally that my hobby is more worthwhile and productive. Essentially I need structure in my life and numbers happen to allow for that.