We’re back in the roaring 20s! I’m in my 20s! My vision is 20/20! Life is good. Here is a recap of the last year and my goals for the next 12 months:
A year full of happiness and growth, although not necessarily at the same time. I spent the first 5 months of 2019 bouncing between nights out and the library, June was a dreamy month full of surfing and the last 6 months were my first taste of proper working life, half spent in Wales and the other half in Germany.
It was not an easy year and the learning curves to adulting are steep, but it was a largely positive year and I have come out of it with some wonderful friendships and memories.
Looking back on my goals for 2019, I’d say the most life changing/successful were:
- Improving how I spent my time and energy
- Communicating more
- Not accepting (or applying for) jobs I hate
- Having more self-belief
I achieved the first through regularly evaluating who/what was making me happy and where I could cut my losses. Better communication came with practise and mindfulness. Job-wise, my main objective last year was to find a data-related placement abroad. This was a stressful endeavour and I nearly gave up a couple of times and started glancing at finance roles in London. In the end, I was fortunate enough to get two exciting internship opportunities in different countries, saving me from another sweaty summer of waitressing. And lastly, self-belief came to me more easily at the end of the year when I looked back on all I had accomplished and realised I was more than capable of achieving any goal I wanted if I put my mind to it.
The most growth came during time I spent alone in Wales. I was living in a shared house with various people I rarely saw, developing an individual research project at work, in a city that’s not known for being very lively.
Prior to this experience, I’d say being alone was one of my greatest fears. I was afraid of being bored, of being stuck in my head. As a very social, extroverted person, I thought a lot of my happiness depended on being around people all the time.
What actually happened was firstly, I came to fully appreciate how all of my good relationships are not distance dependant. People who truly care will always find the time for a phone call or a meet up or even just a quick message to check in.
Secondly, by having all this alone time, I was able to sit with and sift through all my thoughts. This was not very enjoyable initially, but I came out of it with a greater sense of familiarity and peace with myself.
And finally, while working my 9-5 internship, I was still searching for a longer-term placement abroad, trying to replace my phone/contract, sorting out insurance stuff for the laptop I’d spilt wine on, filling in a million pieces of paperwork for uni etc. On top of trying to integrate in a new city and job, it was A Lot.But through some colossal effort and quite a few tears, I managed it all. So, when it came to doing it all over again in Germany, I was not afraid, because I’d done it before.
I am loving life, but there are always things I want to improve on. Here are my main focuses of 2020:
- Learn German
I am living in Germany so I should really learn the basics at least. I have paid for a 1-year babble membership and have plans to practise German with a friend over coffee at least once a week. By the time I leave Germany (in 6 months) I want to be able to have a basic conversation.
- Be more patient/forgiving
Both to myself and others, because things take time, and nobody is perfect. Last year I used mindfulness to focus on communication and built some good habits. This year I plan on just shifting my attention to this new goal.
- Exercise more consistently
Starting working life meant the first time in 15 years that I have not been part of a sports club with a fixed training routine. I am not the most motivated gym goer, but I am the grumpiest when I don’t exercise, so I will be trying to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just for a 2k row.
- Cook more
I had this goal last year and it wasn’t too successful. This year I want to add a page to my bullet journal with meal ideas and actually start making shopping lists before I go food shopping.
- Stop following thousands of accounts online
I got all my social media accounts around the age of 13/14 and have rarely unfollowed or unfriended anyone I have added over the years. This has led to my feeds being filled with hundreds of posts I don’t actually care about any more. Now, if I see a post from an account which no longer interests me (sorry cat accounts), I’ll unfollow them.
- Spend less time scrolling
This was also a 2019 goal, but I don’t feel like I made much headway. By cutting down my online following, hopefully the time I do spend scrolling will at least provide me with more engaging content. And for an alternative distraction before bed and during my commutes, I have bought a few new books that I am excited to read!
- Paint more
I find painting very therapeutic, but I rarely find time for it anymore. By scheduling time into my calendar to paint once a fortnight, I hope I will be more incentivised to pick up a paint brush.
- Start saving money
For the first time in my life I am earning (slightly) more money than I need to live. At the end of last year I opened a first time home buyer’s savings account and already this year I have made accounts and set up direct debits for travel savings and for my pension. While my savings this year may be minimal, I’m sure my future self will be thankful.
- Drink less
Spending time in countries and in the company of people where the main objective is not to get smashed every night really opened my eyes to the prevalence of binge drinking culture in the UK. I’m not a heavy drinker by any means, but more often than I’d like, one mid-week pint will turn into three and I’ve lost too many weekends to being hungover. I also get pretty bad hangover anxiety, so the obvious step forward is to drink less. I do like to drink though, so what I want to cut down on is the drinking-despite-being-drunk-just-so-I-have-a-cup-in-my-hand and pints 2 & 3 in a mid-week pub night.
A hungover morning in London
- Write more
I have started keeping spare postcards in my bag to I can write to my penpals/friends whenever I feel inspired. As for this blog, it has been very neglected over the last year and I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I write and whether I want to continue writing. The truth is, I love writing, and I have written and not shared a number of posts, but I am afraid of judgement. As Taylor Swift once said, haters gonna hate, so maybe it’s time I put less pressure on myself to post perfectly edited content on a blog whose readers consist of my mother, a few friends and some lost internet strangers.
The last 12 months were the best of my life so far. During this time, I travelled, laughed and grew more than ever before. But I have many plans for this next year already and am excited for everything to come!