2016: A YEAR IN REVIEW

I think every presence on the Internet is in agreement: 2016 was a strange year (underline, bold, triple exclamation mark). Donald Trump- business man, billionaire and whatever else- was elected president of the United States over former first lady, the very qualified Hilary Clinton. Some of our favourite stars passed away. So much so that I seen a tweet suggesting that David Bowie has created a superior alternate universe and is selecting the best people to join one by one. Considering the past few weeks, I’m beginning to believe it myself. What else? Britain left the European Union, and we’re all still wondering why. A mass of tragic events mapped out the year from the Orlando Shooting to Aleppo. It would only be natural to come out of 2016 feeling somewhat disheartened.

There has been so much arguably well deserved negativity filling my news feed and personal conversations throughout the year. I’m not bitter about it. It’s hard to be optimistic when the world itself seems to be spiralling out of control. But in my self-reflection, which always happens at the end of the year (cliché but we know we all do it), I can’t honestly say that I’ve had a bad year. Gasp.

In some twisted reflection of the times, it seems almost selfish to feel positive and enthused about 2017 or even life in general. But I came across a quote yesterday that perfectly mirrored my own attitudes towards the future:

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose” Lyndon. B. Johnson

Yes, we can grimace at the privileged student revelling in her state of contentedness with the support of an inspirational quote from an author who she has admittedly never heard of. But, there is something comforting about being able to turn around and acknowledge the good in what may seem like a never-ending cycle of bad. Though there has been so much sadness and disappointment cemented in the memory book of 2016 for a LOT of people, we all have the opportunity to learn, grow, evolve and inspire in result of everything we’ve experienced this year. Obviously this is not restricted to a year by year process; we’re lucky enough to have the chance to do this every new day. A very simple truth that human beings never seem to fully comprehend, in my humble opinion. It’s refreshing to read something positive about 2016, which people are claiming to be the worst year in history… come on now. Amongst endless amounts of admittedly quite funny tweets about the past year, I found a list of good things that happened in 2016 that has been circling the Internet this week. If you haven’t spotted it, you can find it here: Good things that happened in 2016. Whilst these don’t compensate for all the bad, it’s maybe something to smile about. So check it out!

Now for the personal stuff. (Feel free to exit now, my life really isn’t that interesting).

As each year comes to a close I tend to go into a reflective period reminiscing on the good times, thanking god the bad times are being left behind, and scrolling through my Facebook album dedicated to that year. Don’t we all? As this took place tonight it made me smile. I’ve had quite a rollercoaster of a year. When I look back to January, my life was so different to how it is now just 12 months later. So much constantly changes that memories blur into the background, forgotten. I enjoyed bringing them to the surface again and remembering everything I’ve loved about 2016, and how I’ve improved on the things that were bringing me down. Of course, there is no better way to reflect than by list-making, or maybe this is just a personal hobby. So I’ve compiled my fondest memories and biggest improvements of the year below, for anyone who may be remotely interested.

  1. Let’s start light: I attended some amazing music events which will mostly be appreciated by fellow techno fans. These included: AVA festival, Belfast. Riverside festival, Glasgow. Jackmaster in the Art School, Glasgow. Alan Fitzpatrick in Subclub (probably one of my all time favourite nights). The Libertines in London (followed by after-partying with the band, singer sister perks!) and so many more
  2. I prioritised spending a lot of quality time with my family on my short visits home. This is an important one for me because I’ve neglected this side of my life for a long time. This year I finally realised (Kylie was so right) the importance of family. We can’t pick our families but for those of us lucky enough to have a few members that we truly connect with, they will be the ones there in the end of the day. Living away from home can be difficult in this respect and I’m sad to have missed so much of my baby niece’s first year of life, for example. But coming home to her walking, laughing and playing with me  was amazing; she is literally the cutest baby.
  3. I turned 20! Not that this changed my life much in any way whatsoever but not being a teenager anymore is surely worth a mention, right?
  4. I marked the first stage of adulthood by moving into my own little flat in Glasgow, which I adore. I’m not sure I can quite accredit myself as a responsible adult yet though. 2017, maybe?
  5. I satisfied my relentless wanderlust with some exceptional trips abroad, although I’ve had just about enough of airports and airplanes for a while. Highlight of the year goes without saying: our road trip of California from San Francisco all the way to San Diego. I was also lucky to get a winter weekend to Vienna and I’m still coming to terms with just how beautiful that city is.
  6. I enjoyed a few months of constant up-time, then some much needed downtime. Whilst I’ve definitely toned it down when it comes to partying I did have a lot of hilarious nights and memories that will always make me laugh, even if I do prefer binge watching Netflix lately (I swear it’s a phase and not old age creeping up on me prematurely). Of course, a shout out to Subclub and Flat 01 for some of my favourite nights. If you haven’t been to Glasgow, I’d consider a visit solely for these venues. I’m going to leave the pictures out of this one. No explanation required.
  7. I wrapped up my first year at university, managed to scrape a pass by doing virtually nothing and made new friends from all over the world. Credit where credit is due: moving to Glasgow was probably the scariest and most rewarding decision I have ever made. Moving away from home comforts is daunting and difficult and completely worth it. You will probably go crazy with the newfound freedom, reinvent yourself a zillion times, try to be an adult and consequently fail, and in the process you may be lucky enough to end up discovering so much more about yourself, what you want from others, and what you want from life. Sometimes home can feel like being trapped in a bubble and there isn’t much room for experimentation. You have the same faces to answer to everyday. Reputations are hard to get rid of, and new ones can be impossible to make. Not to say that there is anything wrong with staying at home for university. For a lot of people this was the best choice and it worked perfectly for them. But for me personally moving away seemed to ignite in me some underlying courage to do whatever I please, be whoever I want and not care what anyone has to say about it. I truly began living for myself, and it was invigorating. Rant over: first year of university will have its own THRONE in my memories, forever.
  8. Somehow, at some point in my crazy and adventurous journey that was 2016 I managed to get myself a boyfriend. He also happens to be my best friend and deserves a tonne of credit for my enjoyment of 2016. I’m already excited for what 2017 has in store for us but don’t want to freak anyone out by going overboard on the lovey-dovey stuff so i’ll leave it at he’s the best.
  9. Last but not least, perhaps the biggest landmark of the year for me wasn’t one particular moment, but a gradual process. Over a year ago, I began suffering from anxiety. At times it was so severe it affected my ability to do normal activities like making breakfast or going a walk, ridiculous as it may sound. For a very long period of my life it felt more normal to feel anxious. It was how I would wake up and how I would go to sleep. Anxious was my natural state and on the odd day that I didn’t feel this way the feeling of normality would make me anxious: a vicious cycle. It took a long time to admit that my lifestyle contributed greatly to this, and after making some significant life changes and taking care of my body and my mind I have slowly started to recover. So much so, that I would barely grant myself the title of an anxiety sufferer anymore(well, most of the time) hence my confidence in opening up. Understandably this means very little to anyone else, and my honest outpours may seem monotonous lately, but as a personal achievement this has been the gold medal. I’m not a mental health nurse nor ever claim to be an expert, but as someone who has been there themselves: my advice is to put yourself first. You don’t have to keep up with other people who aren’t fighting the same battle as you. It can be hard to cut things out of your life, but don’t cling onto toxicities and refuse yourself the opportunity to heal. Never underestimate just how effective some time out can be. I’d swear by it!

So to wrap up my own reflective purge, 2016 treated me well. No year is without its faults and of course there were tears and traumas along the way, but overall I had so much fun and that’s all that matters. I really hope everyone who hasn’t had the best year sees a positive change in 2017.

And most importantly, I hope everyone has a glass of prosecco in their hands tonight and someone to kiss at midnight.

Happy new year everyone! xo

Thanks for reading, feel free to drop a comment!

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