A list of small, unimportant but also noteworthy things I achieved in 2016

I like to pride myself on always being on time. With a few, rare exceptions, and growing up with a mother whose idea of being punctual was only being half an hour late, doing things at the time they are supposed to be done has always been a strong desire of mine.

So why, three years down the line, have I still not achieved the majority of my new years resolutions? I wrote them down somewhere, multiple places in fact – scribbled in the back of a notebook, on the ‘notes’ section of my phone, a distant word file saved in the depths of my laptop – to the extent that I couldn’t really use technology without being reminded of my annual goals. Which, for the record, always seem to be the same.

A year is a pretty long time when you think about it. 365 days, 52 weeks, God knows how many hours and minutes and seconds. I noticed this especially when I (satirically) considered dropping my resolutions and waiting until next year. It’s only 361 days away, after all. It’s ironic to call it satirical though, I suppose, considering I haven’t actually achieved many of the goals I set pre uni, let alone a year ago.

I wrote a blog post at the end of 2015, eloquently called: “New year, new me? No, thank you.” which I seem to have taken slightly too literally. We have now entered 2017 and I still have not got into a perfect workout routine, passed my final shorthand exam or learnt a language. Nada.

Twitter seems to have been filled with repetitive “Look at what I achieved this year! Look at how many goals I’ve ticked off! Look at how motivated and productive and healthy I have been!” So I would like to take a stand, for what (I hope) is the majority of us who have not achieved all their wishes and dreams in the last 12 months.

I would love to say “look, this is me, this is what I haven’t done, and It’s! All! Okay!” but in all honesty I’m a bit pissed off with myself for not doing much. 2016 was a pretty shitty year, both personally and also on larger scale for the country as a whole, and as a result I don’t think 2017 could be much worse. Much. But 365 days seems like an awfully long time to have sat around.

So I thought I would make a list of all the small, semi important (in my head, at least) things I have achieved in 2016:

  1. I started and finished all six series of Gossip Girl: for those uninformed (and severely missing out) this equates to just over 130 hours of gossip girl. That is nearly an entire WEEK of my life dedicated to one programme. I will take applause and any questions now, and thank you.
  2. I increased the breadth of the very small number of alcoholic drinks I will optionally drink: as much as I would have loved to have been one of those cray-z young teens who drink anything alcoholic, I never was. Alcohol has never been my forte, and although I will gladly sip vodka lemonades on a night out, shots, wine, beer and a lot of spirits have never and probably will never be my friends. But this year I realised I can drink champagne too, so there you go Mum, be careful because ya girl is going off the rails.
  3. I grew my nails!!! This one deserves all the exclamation marks in the world, and also a small, very embarrassing back story. When I was a young’un back in Year 4 (we’re talking about nine years old here) my best friend bit her nails. I was desperately uncool and somehow, God knows how, started to copy and bite mine too. I guess it’s better than a smoking habit or heroin problem but my parents were less than impressed. Fast forward to September 2016 and I was taking the piss out of my friends who were about to go get their nails did. I was convinced to get mine done too, and three months later I have ~real~ proper nails. I am a fully grown adult now. The transformation is complete. Goodbye.
  4. I did lots of travelling: this was actually a ~proper~ goal of mine although it didn’t take much, if any, convincing, and instead was something I actually wanted to do, and so it will easily be continued this year. But this is a list of things I achieved and this is one thing I did achieve so let’s ignore the self indulgent nature and accept it as something to tick off the list. My semester abroad completely and entirely fucked up (see here, for details) which put a Pompeu Fabra shaped spanner in the works, but after around seven months, an article in The Independent and lots of angry phone calls, I got my money back. So longterm, and to ease my aching heart, I am considering it a free holiday. Last year I visited Berlin, Barcelona, Budapest, Prague and Paris. This year, I am trying to be slightly less alphabetical, and have Amsterdam and Lisbon lined up so far. I’m also aiming to do some traveling round Eastern Europe in April and I’m planning on going to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and hopefully Russia.
  5. I kind of, slightly, possibly improved my health: I’m still not the acai smoothie bowl for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch and steamed sweet potato for dinner girl I sometimes wish I was, but I have made a few ~positive~ changes. I have started eating breakfast (and not only breakfast, but porridge for breakfast – the epitome of Instagram #healthblogger breakfast) and I have introduced almond milk to my diet. I’m slowly cutting out the sweetener that I have in my coffee and, although I was doing quite well before, I made a conscious effort to eat my five a day, every day (most days).
  6. I, inadvertently, saved money: I’m not sure if this properly counts, because it wasn’t exactly optional. I worked the whole summer and my pals over at HMRC decided to tax me every. single. week. I can’t claim this back until April (which is finally, thank God, in the current year) and it will probably be spent on my next few holidays, but for the time being I can proudly say I saved nearly a quarter of my pay check, whilst living in London, going out most nights and weekends, and also going to Prague spontaneously. I’m taking this one as an achievement whether it counts or not.
  7. A few people gave me some real, physical, spendable money in return for my thoughts: You know what this means? There are people out there who have wanted the words in my head to the extent that they pay for them. As a student journalist, being paid to write is the dream. It’s not quite the full-time freelance career some could imagine but it is a start (so hmu if you’ve made it this far and would also like some words written for you).
  8. I finally stopped killing my hair: I have had blonde hair my entire life. When I was 15, my mum let me dye my hair – about two years after most of my friends were allowed some subtle highlights. Partially out of my own creativity but largely to make a point, I went on to dye my hair every colour of the rainbow, over the next few years. Since about 2014, when I finished easing out of my scene kid stage and went to university (perfect timing, some would say) I settled for my blonde hair again. Sadly, it’s never come back as blonde as before, so I’ve been bleaching it every few months to keep it white blonde. In December (so only very recently, but go with me here) I finally decided that I don’t really care what it looks like and my roots aren’t dark enough to make me look homeless, so, you know what? I think I’m going to let it go natural again.

Half an hour later and I am feeling much more positive about what I managed to do last year. Who knows which boxsets I will tackle this year? Who knows if my nails will make it through 365 days before stress leads me to chew them off again? Will my hair remain blonde? Will I graduate with a 2:1, or even, hopefully, fingers crossed and toes crossed and everything else that is physically crossable, graduate at all? Like a very uninteresting, slow paced and irregularly streamed series, let’s start the blind stumble into 2017 and see where we end up!

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