Looking Back on My 2016

We’ve finally arrived at the end of 2016. It’s been a year that almost every person I know has looked on negatively; with so much tragedy happening worldwide, it’s difficult to remember anything good happening in the past 12 months at all.

Every year, I spend most of my December reflecting on the past year of my existence – and 2016 has been no different. I think about what my goals were at the start of the year, and whether I achieved them. I think about the people in my life – who I’ve met, and who I’ve lost. How I’ve grown as a person. What I’ve learned. And I start to think about the year ahead. In this post, I’ll be sharing those reflective thoughts with you. In some ways, these posts are like a diary for me – but I think it’s important to share our growth with others, in the hope that they might grow too.

Every year has its ups and downs. It’s virtually impossible to have a perfect 12-month period, although we all hope that the ups will outweigh the downs. 2016 has definitely had its good and bad points for me – sometimes at the same time. It’s safe to say that 2016 has been one of the best years of my life – but it’s been by far the worst year of my life too.

Of course, I want to focus this post on the good things that happened to me in 2016 – but it wouldn’t be fair or accurate of me to leave out a vastly life-changing event to affect my family and I. Losing my mum in June has been one of the most difficult life experiences I’ve ever had to face – and possibly ever will face. Sometimes, even 6 months later, I still find it hard to believe that she’s not here anymore. I’m hoping to write a post about my experience with grief at some point in the coming months.

I know that I’ll always miss my mum, and that there will be moments and occasions where it all comes flooding back. But looking inwards, I can see that I’m a much stronger person than I ever thought I was. I’m doing okay – and before my mum passed away, I couldn’t imagine myself even coping, let alone ever being okay. I thought I would break completely – but I haven’t, and a large part of that is because of the incredible family and friends around me.

I’ve met some amazing people this year. A lot of those friendships have begun via the internet – I organised a small meetup in London in June, which was great fun! I also got to spend time with so many friends at Summer in the City in August – can’t wait for next year! My birthday was the week after SitC, and my squad made me the loveliest birthday video; I genuinely burst into tears watching it.

My offline friends have also been a great support to me – even though I’ve been pretty much horrendous at keeping in touch! I’m so grateful to have people around me that I can be open and honest with about how I’m feeling; although I don’t tend to tell everyone when I’m having an off day, it’s good to have someone you can rant to!

One of my biggest sources of support this year has been my boyfriend. Without going all soppy, he’s been incredibly patient with me. He may not always understand exactly how I’m feeling, especially when he’s 250 miles away, but he’ll always try to understand – and make me smile! Being in a relationship has taken a bit of adjusting on my part – I was single for so long, I’d become very independent! Of course it’s difficult when you’re long distance, but we’re in contact every day – and it’s definitely worth it.

I’ve also been luck enough to meet a lot of people that I hold in high esteem in terms of YouTube. I got to meet Doug Armstrong and Cherry Wallis again this year at Summer in the City, as well as Raphael Gomes and Helen Anderson. I got to meet Emma Blackery when she toured a few months ago. Also in the music domain, I met All Time Low again at the start of the year. I briefly met Good Charlotte, which was nuts. I got to hang out with The Summer Set before their tour as well. It’s been pretty awesome!

A lot of my successes and achievements in 2016 relate to my career aspirations. I started the year almost halfway through a college qualification; not only did I gain my HNC in Media & Communication, I achieved so much more. I organised an open mic night as part of a group from scratch. I produced, directed and acted in my own short film – and got an A for it.

Now I’m halfway through my HND. I’ve applied to university, which I was totally against a year ago. I’m working on developing a website, a podcast and 4 documentaries. I’m volunteering at a hospital radio station. I’m hopefully getting involved with my college radio station in 2017. If anyone had told me 3 or 4 years ago that I’d be doing things like this, I’d have laughed!

2016 was a very difficult year for me. There have been times where I’ve doubted my ability to cope. I’ve had people suggest that I seek help, or defer my HND until next year. But I know that I can do anything I bloody well want to. And if I want to succeed in my career, I’ll do it. Ambition keeps me sane – and 2017’s gonna be jam-packed!

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