Reflecting on the last year fills me with many emotions; happiness, sadness, a sense of achievement, love, motivation, joyful, thankful, tired.
I went on holiday to Barcelona. We went on a boat trip, visited Sagrada Familia, walked along alas ramblas and visited Parc Guel which was my favourite.
I really love road trips. Being in a car with someone for a long journey is one of my favourite things, and this year so many road-trips, whether for ‘pleasure’ or ‘business’…. Conventry, Bradford, Nottingham, Minehead, Weston Supermare, Sussex.
Saying “goodbye” and saying “hello”
This year I had to say “goodbye” to some really amazing organisations/Churches. In my second year of college, I did A Levels alongside working with a local church, and a gap year program with Youth For Christ. It was the best year ever, I learnt so much and made so many friends. Saying goodbye to the Church I worked with and to YFC was a lowlight of the year, but as Winnie the Pooh says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
I moved out of the family home and into a snug flat in the city-centre. I was living with a friend for the first 4 months, but sadly that didn’t work out, but those four months were some of the best of the year; watching movies together, cooking, going on day trips, comforting etc other and eating too much ice cream. They were some of the best memories my new home has seen. Just because they’re over now, doesn’t make them any less special.
I started university! I've made lots of friends there, which part of me didn't expect to. Me and a friend go to Mc Donalds every week we're at uni, and have 'mates-dates', putting the world to right and properly catching up, whilst still really getting to know each other.
I started a new job! It’s not just any job, but *the* job I’ve wanted since I was about fourteen. A few weeks ago I was speaking to someone I went to school with. Catching up on the past few years, he asked what I’m doing now. In reply to my answer, he said, “wow that’s amazing, that’s what you’ve always wanted to do”.
There have been multiple times over this year that I feel like I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.
In July I shared a testimony of how my year has gone at YFC’s End of Year Showcase, a time where line managers, colleagues and family members come to celebrate all that’s happened on The Year Out.
Also in July, after the encouragement from my friends, I led little bits on stage at Spree, in a venue of around fifty young people. I led reflections, prayers and a game, and it felt brilliant, I loved it!
In August I did the catering for the group I went with to Soul Survivor. Having not got a GCSE in maths and having dyscalculia, I found it challenging. I can’t get my head around numbers sometimes, which made quantities and timings quite hard. Less than a week ago, I had failed my A Levels, so I was already feeling pretty stupid. Doing the catering isn’t something I’d do again, but I’m proud of myself that I did do it, and I’m thankful for the help and encouragement that I had during. I also danced, something I'm usually not confident enough to do, and went on a Total Wipeout style inflatable 'thing', which took a lot of confidence (and convincing)!
Finally, in October, I shared my testimony for the first time ever at The Noise, a yearly youth mission event.
You can read more about Soul Survivor here
And you can read more about The Noise here
This year, I’ve been in Youth and Children’s Work magazine three times!
I came runner up in Premier’s Digital awards as Young Blogger of the Year.
Also blog related, I got the opportunity to interview David Gibbs, who is one of my favourite influencers on YouTube. You can check it out here.
One of the highlights this year has been the launch of Lightbox, a Worcester-based, drop-in Youth Cafe. Having been a little part of the planning, to then see it come to life is really amazing. I think it's really growing my confidence too. In February, I spent the day with two other leaders setting things up, building, painting, unboxing, ready for the launch the following month. This day was a highlight, which may seem strange - we really did just build, paint and unbox. But at the time I was feeling really low and stressed about what to do the following academic year. It was what I really needed - productivity, busyness and company.
I went on lots of youth trips too, like Hillsong and a wander around London, a trampoline park, and Soul Survivor.
In September I launched Youth House Group, which has become my favourite group that I run. We look at more topical series, like 'My Big Fat Mouth' which looked at lying, gossip and criticism. I really like the atmosphere and the vision of the group.
Don’t let social media, blogs and vlogs fool you. Just because someone posts a highlights reel on their Facebook, doesn’t mean they didn’t have any lowlights of the year. Just because someone’s instagram feed is full of engagement photos, new house, pictures of going out with friends, multiple holidays, doesn’t mean they had no struggles throughout the year.
- I didn’t get the A Level results I expected, and got a U in one of them
- I’ve felt lonely and have struggled in some friendships
- I’ve struggled with my mental health. But as the saying goes, “it does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop”
- I got diagnosed with PCOS - look it up, it deserves more awareness and for the stigma of women’s health to go.
New Year Resolutions
I haven’t done any New Year Resolutions this year. A friend posted a quote on her Instagram story, which says it better than I can:
“You don’t need replacing every year. The calendar is just another human invention. Don’t feel guilty about not dieting or exercising yourself into a temporary new form. Just be kind to yourself. Get to know the old you. Don’t throw yourself away like another piece of plastic trash. You are everything as you already are”.
I guess I have goals that I am continually working on, but I haven’t got a list of things that I must achieve/start doing/stop doing. I’d like to drink more water, continue to grow in self-confidence and body positivity, and I’d like to be more thankful and appreciative of the things around me. It’s a growing process, rather than, as this quote says, throwing away the old like a piece of plastic trash.
Thank you for reading, and for your support throughout this year.
What were your highlights and lowlights?