As I’m writing this, I’m sort of in a state of disbelief that 2017 is already over? Where has the time gone?
Having a birthday at the end of the year is pretty handy, as I’m able to look back on everything the year has held, sort of since my last birthday. One of my other favourite things to do at this time of year is to create a collage of events and achievements of this year, and when compiling the list, I’m always astounded at how much I manage to pack into a year! (I’ve hidden some names to keep their privacy – but you can get the picture!)
Here are a couple of my reflections about 2017 – as I’m looking into 2018, I want to learn from this year, but also appreciate all the opportunities I’ve had.
It’s been a year of the unexpected.
This time last year I had a pretty solid idea of what 2017 would look like. I’ve always been one for a plan, and 2017 consisted of finish school, get good A levels, secure my university place, and go off on a gap year adventure to serve God in some far-flung place.
While some of those things happened, it definitely didn’t all go the way I expected. I’ve dealt with sudden changes, I’ve learnt to handle situations where I’m unable to plan, and challenged myself to not shy away from an “unconventional route”.
While I smashed my A levels (fully complete with tears of shock on results day), i was rejected from my top choice uni, and eventually ended up withdrawing from UCAS completely in Y13. I’ve now reapplied (yes, with an entirely new personal statement), and as of now, waiting to hear from two more universities.
My gap year plans fell apart in the summer when I realised I needed to stop ignoring my health and to start looking after myself. Instead of spending 6 months in Nepal, I’m working for my church in an intern role. It’s different, challenging, but I’m learning new things that I couldn’t have expected.
It’s been a year of learning lessons.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is that sometimes, it’s really necessary to slow life down, and change the pace.
I’ve been running full steam for the last few years, with exams being the dominant focus throughout. While this accomplished something, I reached the end of it with burnout. I’ve had to learn that slowing down is acceptable, and actually, learn HOW to rest.
It’s also been a challenge to learn how to cope when people move away, and I’ve felt like I’ve been left behind. Yet despite that, I haven’t been left alone, and things have always worked out – something that is a testament to God’s faithfulness.
And, I can’t forget the hundreds of lessons I had this year in the lead up to my a levels. I miss school in so many ways, and can’t wait to get back into studying at university next year.
It’s been a year of making memories.
Despite all the unexpected changes that happened this year, I’ve had so many opportunities to make memories, and I’m so thankful for them.
I’ve been able to travel: to France, Lisbon, and to Edinburgh, where I stayed away with friends and without my family for the first time.
We celebrated the end of school – while it was bittersweet in many ways, the memories and photos from the last few days will stay with me for a long time.
I’ve had the opportunity to see a number of shows: both ones in London on the West End (Half a Sixpence and An American in Paris), but also The Addams Family from its UK tour, and the local theatre group’s productions of Annie and High School Music.
It’s been a year of new adventures.
One of the biggest new adventures of this year has got to be my blog! While it’s something I’ve thought about before, I’m not sure I ever properly expected to start it!
I’m really enjoying having a different creative outlet, and I know there is so much more I have to learn!
I’ve embarked into life in the ‘real’ world – as in out of school education, and I’m learning more in my new job.
I’ve enjoyed being able to look back on 2017 with you, and make a note of what the year has held. I’m looking forward to 2018, and all that may be in store.