Promises and Wishes: 2015 Edition

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On Christmas Eve 2014, I wrote a blog post titled Promises and Wishes, where I looked back on my university bucket list that I’d written three years prior. In the same post, I also made a 2015 to-do list of things I wanted to achieve by the end of the year.

As most of you know, the past year and a half has been very difficult for me. A year ago when I first wrote my Promises and Wishes post, I was five months into my recovery having been diagnosed with severe depression and an anxiety disorder. Since that post, I have completed 16 weeks of talking therapy and have just begun a cognitive behavioural therapy-based support group. I’m still on medication, I’m still struggling, but I’m winning the battle every day, and am that step closer to winning the war against my disorders and illness.

That being said, let’s look back and see what I wanted to achieve this year and whether I did or not.

  • Learn to manage my depression and anxiety.

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Sometimes meditating on a candle can be all you need to relax.

TICK. Although this is quite a difficult thing to measure, I’m beginning to know my own mind, know my triggers, not rely on safety seeking behaviours and find the courage to be more assertive, both emotionally and mentally. To be able to say that, and mean it, is a massive achievement for me.

  • Buy some trainers and take up running. 

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A photograph of the haul where I bought my trainers.

TICK. Well, half a tick. I bought some trainers and I TRIED to take up running, but unfortunately after my first run I conveniently had a panic attack afterwards. My energy levels are something I struggle with on a day to day basis, and I don’t think I’m at the stage of my recovery where I can successfully go for a run without doing some major damage. Regardless, I bought some trainers, gave it a go and saved the idea for when I’m a bit further down the road. (see what I did there?)

  • Do something that scares me. 

Wake up every day? Adult successfully? Do things by myself? Yes, I do things that scare me everyday. Once again, this one is hard to measure. Not sure if I have, or haven’t achieved it.

  • Learn to Knit.

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Mum’s scarf.

TICK. I actually learnt to knit. I knitted a whole scarf for my Mum who wears it with pride, especially now it’s winter.

  • Get better at French.

No tick. Don’t ask.

  • Pass my driving test.

Still, no. I have paused my driving lessons for the time being because my coordination isn’t good as a result of my medication (and is kind of a fundamental skill for driving), so once I am figuratively and literally further down the road of recovery, I shall pass and go on a road trip… probably… maybe not.

  • To finish The Last Four Years.

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The last day of progress on The Last Four Years.

TICK. BIG TICK. BIGGEST TICK EVER. Not only did I structure my story as a screenplay, I also completed NaNoWriMo and achieved 50,000. Doing NaNo was such an amazing tool to explore my story more and I found that I was really writing my best work. You can read about my progress here.

  • Get another piercing.

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The day I got my piercing done.

TICK. I got a labret piercing in February.

  • Get another tattoo.

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The day I got my tattoo done. 

TICK. I got a semi colon tattoo which donated money and services in aid of Mental Health charities and for the Mental Health Awareness Campaign.


So, I think it’s safe to say I had a pretty successful year in terms of goals. Now, let’s start as we mean to go on and look at what I hope to achieve by the end of 2016.

  • LEARN TO DRIVE.
  • GET BETTER AT FRENCH.
  • Start sending The Last Four Years out to literary agents.
  • Finishing structuring/plotting the next big idea.
  • Begin volunteering somewhere, even if it’s just an hour a week.
  • Come down on my medication dosage, as I think it’s contributing, at least some, towards my lack of energy. (Although a hefty dose of depression is enough…)
  • Write more blogs.

I’ll probably make some more along the way, but for now that seems like a decent, achievable amount of goals to have. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season and has a fantastic time full of food, family and frivolities!

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Promises and Wishes.

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In my first semester of university, in Autumn 2011, I made a list of goals I wanted to achieve by the end of my graduation year. I didn’t find this list again until early 2014, so I kept it safely knowing that come December I would have to sit down and have a good look at what I could tick off from my list of promises and wishes.

I’m a third generation Virgo, and we all have lived up to the name. From as early as I can remember my ambition had been to go to university, which I have now reached. So that’s a 100% success rate, right? I’m not sure that’s something I’ll be able to maintain, but I’ll go for over 50. One of the many attributes of a Virgo is list making, and for me it’s the perfect way to clear my head. So let’s have a look at what I promised to have accomplished by the end of 2014.

A 2:1 or First in Creative Writing BA.
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A copy of my dissertation marks that overall gave me 70.
TICK. I achieved a 2:1 overall and a First class mark on my dissertation – which I count as covering both areas. My dissertation was actually an idea that I’d been working on since the end of my first year so to have it be valued at a First class mark was beyond a dream.

To have learnt to drive/be learning.
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This picture was taken on one of my driving lessons.
TICK. I am currently learning to drive and I really enjoy it. I have a great instructor named Paul who is really understanding and helpful. I need to get my arse in gear and do my theory test and then I’ll really be on my way to passing. (Perhaps I will put that on my list for 2015)

To know where I want to take the next stage of my life.
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A book. One of my favourites. Just ’cause.
TICK. Sort of. I know that I want to work in the publishing industry, whether that be literary agency or editorial, I know I want to help other people’s book-dreams come true. As I can’t stop myself from editing a book as I’m reading it, I owe it to myself. In most recent events, my life has been turned (almost) upside down so I have been slightly shaken on the “future” category. Having said this, I still want to maintain my direction, although anything in the creative sector will suit me just fine.

To have visited another country I haven’t visited before.
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The Falls – which are as breathtaking as they are in this photograph.
TICK. I did the Camp America experience in Summer 2013 which was brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and met some amazing people.

To have written a novel – 50,000 words or more.
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This is a picture of writing a very early draft.
TICK. Ish. THE NOVEL (as there is only one) currently stands at 20,000 and about 1,234 notebook notes. I decided not too long ago that I wanted to try the story as a film script which proved to be really successful. So I’m not sure what way it is going to best present itself… which leads me onto nicely…

To have sent a script premise to the BBC.
No picture.
Not so much of a TICK. I’ve always aspired to write a sitcom but sadly other areas of my writing have overtaken that wish. One day I will, but at the moment I’m happy to be focusing on my poetry and my novel/film-confused hybrid baby.

To have the implant reinstated.
No picture cause that would be gross!
TICK. This form of birth control suits me nicely and had it reinstated before I went to America circa 2013.

To get another piercing
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My clip on piercings.
Sort of TICK? I decided not so long ago to buy clip on piercings that suit me fine. That means I can try out the look before going through the pain and spending the money. At the moment I’m not set on getting snakebites permanently but could be persuaded by a septum ring.

To get another tattoo
No picture.
X. Still got lots of ideas that I would like but never got around to them. I will put this on my list for 2015.

Find my style
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My punk style.
TICK. I’ve come to accept that on a day to day basis I really cannot be asked to wear make up, but occasionally when I go out for a smart/casual evening or just a smart one, I do like to accessorize my outfit with something on my face. One thing I have come to accept is that I will always have a grungy style. I just love the punk rock look that I have been inspired by for the last ten years. (All thanks to Hayley Williams. GIRL POWER.) Even if I’m wearing something not so punk-rock-y, I like to jazz it up in my own style that suits me. I will always be a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl at heart.

So I would like to think that my three years at university ended on a pretty strong note, and I’m still living up to my Virgo status. So, to continue onward and upward, here are my promises and wishes for 2015. (Because three years is too long to get your arse ’round to something.)

Learn to manage my depression and anxiety.
Thus, the subject of the world-turning I mentioned earlier. I’m still in the early stages of my recovery but I aim to get myself on track at least enough to start participating in society again. I will be taking steps to do so like..

Buy some trainers and taking up running.
I had an epiphany. Said epiphany occurred when I ran for a train and instantly felt better.

Do something that scares me.
Not sure quite what that THING is yet. I’ll keep you posted on this one.

Learn to knit.
I’ve always wanted to knit, so I endeavor to learn this year. It may help my anxiety too.

Get better at French.
I don’t expect to be fluent and I certainly don’t expect to be better overnight, but I would like to get better at French with the help of Duolingo.

Pass my driving test!
Speaks for itself.

These are the ones I have thought of so far. The list may (and probably will) grow, especially once I start to get my confidence back. Look out for the update this time next year and many more poetry and prose updates throughout the year!

The art of chilling out.

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crisis definition

Having an existential crisis does not mean putting your head between your legs. It also does not mean breathing heavily into a brown paper bag. It does, however, mean that a certain amount of your thought process goes into thinking, wondering, and wishing.

I’m doing a bachelor degree in Creative Writing, and I’m about to become a graduate. The weeks are counting down as the word count on my dissertation goes up, and it’s safe to say I’m not enjoying it. In fact, I don’t actually know many people who are enjoying it.

Currently I’m sitting in the university library, surrounded by stressed third years sweating over a mountain of job applications, dissertation chapters and academic diaries. Scribble, strike, repeat. Scribble, strike, repeat. Highlight. Highlight. Scrunch. Throw. I’m sure the library staff are sick of seeing it. In fact, they’re probably placing bets on who is going to burst into tears first.

I’m sure there is at least one person reading this who has graduated, and you might say it’s not as bad we’re making it out. But let me tell you: Yes it is. Shut up.

I’m joking. You’re right obviously. All of this worry and stress does nothing except worry and stress us out more. Eventually we forget that although we need to work hard during the final push, we should also be celebrating. Sticking at something for three years, in times of great uncertainty and doubt, is a great achievement. Throughout the arguments with housemates and bad assessment grades, hopefully all of us will agree that it was completely worth it.

Cue cheesy, feel good, mantra: The end doesn’t always mean the end, it’s the beginning of a new chapter.

So upon leaving university, you’re expected to know what you want to do with your life, right? Wrong. No one knows. I guarantee that many people who have graduated end up down a completely different career path to the one they set out for themselves. Not from being misguided but because things change, life changes, people change.

Nobody expects you in the beginning of your twenties to have it all planned out. Take opportunities, have new experiences, meet new people and build a life for yourself.

So what am I going to do? Hand me the paper bag, please.

But really. I know I want to work in publishing and literary agency, and I have the rest of my life to do that so why not enjoy the journey getting there. It look me a good four months because I snapped out of my existential crisis and realised that actually it didn’t matter what I thought now, because that might change in a few months time. I might decide I want to become a heavyweight champion of the world by March.

Unlikely, because that involves going to the gym, but an example none the less!

So here is my advice to you, graduates of the world, who like me sweated and stressed over scribbled on bits of paper: chill out.