Sunday, 31 December 2017

Year In Review: 2017 - Thank God it's over!

So it’s that time of year again. I’ll be honest with you now, if you somehow like reading my Year In Review posts at Hogmanay, I really didn’t want to document this past year like I have done the previous ones. Even looking back on what happened just makes me feel really low. Last year I completed a dissertation, did my performance recital, got an honours degree and thought I finally found someone decent to love and be with. Let’s just say what a difference a year makes.

In general, this year has been really hard, soul destroying at times, lonely and just downright sucky. Yes, some good things did happen like seeing Queen for the 2nd time ever in Glasgow, cutting my hair for the Little Princess Trust and raising £250 for the charity, donating more of my money to certain charities, Social Bite in particular, donating blood for the first time this year (3 donations so far and I am loving it!), volunteering with Aberdeen Jazz Festival and Aberdeen International Youth Festival, playing saxophone with ensembles in different locations and finding a job which will hopefully be the dream combination of working in music and additional support needs education that I have been looking for.

However, the majority of this year has had several down periods: I faced real financial difficulty. I was bullied severely at a previous job, to the point where I was told I was completely pointless. I gave up things I wanted to do just to get my life back together. I injured my hand just by tripping over an uneven slab, where it was in pain for almost 4 months. I faced the worst spell of depression I had ever faced. A close member of my family had a heart attack. Another has been off work ill also. Just recently I fell out of love with someone I had unrequitedly loved for over 18 months, which made the loneliness and isolation almost unbearable at points.

Looking back on these resolutions I set for the year, I had only completed one: which was moving to my own flat. And have gone through periods of isolation and loneliness since living there. However, I am still going to document this year. As in the future, I will look back and think, ‘Damn, how I got through this shit, I dunno but I have come so far since then.’ This year has also made me realise who your friends really are and how people can surprise you.

At the end of 2016, I knew I was going to leave a difficult job, start a new one and will hopefully get my life back. Unfortunately, that was far from the case. It was promising the first couple of weeks and then I made a couple of mistakes, as you do when you start a new job. You think as soon as you leave school, you won’t face bullying ever again. Until it slaps you hard on the face and knocks you to the ground. I had never been felt so much hatred and fear towards someone as I have done towards this person. I lost all of my confidence in myself thanks to this situation at my job and got so ill I had to take nine days off with a sick note. Yet I still faced the heart-breaking decision of leaving the children I had met and had formed strong bonds with, for a while these children were the only friends I had. One of the hardest things I had to go through was not being able to say goodbye from them. It’s been seven months or so now, I have new jobs with staff that are in majority really nice but it still stings today when a child from my old job comes into my new work and gets startled.

After a rough start to the year, summer came when I went back to an old job and was going through a bunch of different interviews & faced really difficult decisions. I then made my choice and thought things were finally going to fit into place. Then I received that FaceTime on that Monday evening, last week in September. And nothing mattered at that moment in time. It was a huge shock to everyone in the family, so much so that it has changed their lives and their relationships. It did give you some perspective as to who are your friends and who are the people you can count on during difficult times. You regained some faith in humanity but felt like the world was taking it out on the nice people.

As for thinking I had finally found the love of my life, even I realised I was living in a dream land and noticed that this person was never going to love me the same way I loved them. Thankfully one day, I woke up and even though I still care about him, I fell out of love with him. Even though it was a relief, it was also heart-breaking as it made me realise how alone I felt. Whether someone else will come along in 2018, who knows but I do know I have little time off as it is working three part time jobs.

So, here we go. My goals for 2017, did I complete them? Oh jeez.

1.     Pass my Sign language classes in May
I did get my SCQF Level 3, which was the class I did in 2016. The exam was in January this year. Due to the stress I received from my job at the time, I decided to leave the next level, which I regret. However, I knew if I stayed, I would have affected my health even more. I would like to see if I can take part in the next level in the near future, especially as I am now beginning to use it working with ASN children & young adults.

2.     Start driving lessons and sit my Driving Test, at least pass my Theory.
I get so much pressure from so many people to start driving lessons, since my first lesson in October 2016, I haven’t sat behind the wheel of a car since. It is a constant struggle just to afford rent in employment that pays minimum wage. It is definitely something I would like to look into the New Year for various reasons.

3.     Move to my own flat somewhere in the summer
That goal I did achieve, in June, I moved into the Casa de Eilidh and have enjoyed having my own space. It has been tricky at times living on my own but I love looking forward to going back to my pad, with tea and a blanket and not worry about having to act sociable. I love making it a home for myself and feel so cosy and warm here.

4.     Travel to more places, ideally Orkney & Shetland
I started the year in Broughty Ferry & Dundee. A new Street Art festival was introduced to Aberdeen, which helped to make you feel like a tourist exploring in your own home. I was finally able to visit both Drum and Crathes Castle this year and with going back to work in tourism over the summer, it meant I went to Stonehaven for work most days. I explored Glasgow more in December. Whether I can visit Orkney or Shetland this year, I am not sure but it’s still something I would love to do. I would like to go to Bordeaux to visit my best friend during his placement, but yet again I am not 100% sure whether it would happen.

5.     Gain more experience in working with children, possibly start postgraduate
I guess I definitely had more experience working with children, full time, part time & casual whether it is in childcare, music, volunteering or working for a visitor attraction for children. I have attended more training courses and have really built up a passion to work with children. As for a postgraduate, that was something I was interested in, now I am not so sure. Unfortunately due to budget cuts, music education is getting cut left, right and centre. So there is a chance I may have to go down another career path, maybe more into childcare as there is a demand for it.

6.     Get better. In terms of mental health. <3
That I still need to work on, what I realised this year is how long of a process it is to recover from a mental illness, especially if the origins of it began in your childhood.

Now the main goal for 2018 is for it not to be anywhere near as shit as 2017. Then I’ll be happy. But here are some extra goals for 2018 that I would like to get close to completing.

1.     Gain my confidence back in the workplace, maintain a healthy balance between jobs and get fully settled in them all.
2.     Save money, for holidays or treats, mainly to pay back overdraft. Possibly to pay for au pair trip to America.
3.      Organise a birthday trip away. Even if the trip has to be in July. My birthday is in March by the way.
4.     Sit driving test by the end of the year. Pass theory at least.
5.     Start dating, eventually.
6.     Travel to Orkney/Shetland? Maybe?

Right, so this was a mess of a post. I’m now going to enjoy whatever I get up to back in the Highlands tonight, praying it will be staying in a cosy house watching Hootenanny. Happy New Year to you all, have a safe Hogmanay and all the very best wishes for 2018! Let’s all pray that it’s a big improvement on 2017.