2015 Roundup

I’m writing this because… Well, to be honest, it’s because I keep seeing people writing soppy Facebook statuses about the New Year and I wanted to do one, but I also didn’t want to embarrass myself. So why not do a longer post here, a forum completely dedicated to embarrassing myself? Ha ha. Anyway, it’s probably going to wind up being a lengthy one, so buckle up.

I should be revising. How strange, and yet how completely predictable that I’m back in the position I was in at this time last year, with a few marked differences. I’m panicking about first-year exams I haven’t revised enough for, preparing to go back to Exeter to start another term. But I’m studying something I enjoy. Even though I have to make myself work sometimes, and I still get distracted by stupid things, and a lot of the time I just want to stay in bed, I don’t feel helpless. I’m not held back by a cloud over my head which makes me doubt whether I’ll make it into the next week, let alone the next year.

I’m happy, all things considered. I have a lot of friends, I’m at a great university, finally studying something I love, and I’ve had so many amazing experiences this year. I have been so lucky to be able to turn my life around as I did.

This year has been… interesting, to say the least. 2015 has been a roller-coaster from start to finish. I started the year at one of the lowest points I’ve ever been in my life although I was trying hard to pretend I was fine, and I’ve always been quite successful with that. Although at the moment, I’m trying to iron out some lingering disappointments from recent months, I’m miles above where I was at the start of 2015.

Nailing it at this year’s Pole Essence showcase

There are far more days where I look outside and smile because everything is going well, when I share a joke with someone who really matters to me, or when I go for a run by the river just because I want to, or when I nail a new pole move, than days where I can’t think of anything that’s going right.

I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions because I think they’re usually unrealistic and people don’t keep to them. Including me. Maybe I’ll do another post about that. But I want to commit to doing things which make me happy. To putting myself first. To learning, constantly, about everything.

I am… A student, and an overachiever at heart, happiest when I know I’ve done well. An introverted extrovert, who’ll talk to everyone on a night out but is relieved to come home alone and take my make-up off.  A traveller. An overthinker. I love to dance and run and laugh and write and read and talk. I’m a daughter, and a friend ,and I need to learn that that can be enough. I don’t need anyone to make me a whole because I am not incomplete.

This year I have been to Germany, a country I’ve always felt at home in, where I started to let go of the box I’d always tried to fit myself into, and where I finally realised that I am happiest without the outside influence of anyone else. That I can go anywhere I want without feeling bad about it.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

I have been to India, where I have met some of the kindest, most giving people I’ve ever known. Where I witnessed immeasurable poverty next to spectacles of historic wealth. Where I learnt so much about other people and about my own outlook on life. Where I let go (mostly) of my first broken heart. Undoubtedly not my last.

With my Indian family in Dehradun!

I have been to Thailand, where I found out that sometimes real happiness comes when you least expect it. That the best experiences can come straight out of the worst you’ve ever felt. Where I realised that I am so much more than feeling disappointed in myself for something that I can’t change. Where I learnt to ride a motorbike, and climbed a 50-storey abandoned hotel just for kicks.

Wide-eyed optimism on my first day in Bangkok

I have been to Cambodia, a trip which showed me, among other things, the very worst aspects of myself. My naivety, my addictive personality, my impulsiveness. But it also showed me that I have a capacity to recover from nearly anything, if I hadn’t realised that already. That I am stronger than the problems I encounter. I swam with phosphorescent plankton off the shore of an island I had to eventually run away from, and saw ancient temples, and learnt so much history I’d previously been ignorant of.

Exploring Angkor Wat!

I’ve come home to a little town which was exactly the way I’d left it, to a family who didn’t judge me on my flightiness and my indecision, but rather supported me in taking an unexpected path. I am so grateful. I returned to Exeter full of big ideas and an inflated idea of my own knowledge of the world. I reconnected with friends, got back in touch with some old ones, and had to let go of others. I was so full of optimism, some of which has rubbed off in the return to normality in England, but most of which has remained with me, and which I will carry into 2016.

I have been to France on a well-intentioned whim, and seen in Calais, the cruelty and the willingness of the world to turn a blind eye to suffering, alongside selfless acts of charity and kindness. Volunteering there only for a couple of days made me see things we’d all like to overlook, even when they’re right on our doorstep. I plan to go back and help again, because I saw that even one word of sympathy can do so much more than you think.

Solidarity with Refugees March in Calais

I returned to Exeter a little shell-shocked; the transition of travelling-home-Freshers Week-Calais-start of the academic year didn’t take as much of a toll on me as I’d feared but it was quite draining! I jumped into university life regardless. Three months later, here I am.

I’ve always sworn to be honest on this blog, and that means talking about personal things if they’re important to me at the time of writing. My heartbeat is speeding up in an angsty fashion even as I type this, preparing to bare my emotions to the internet again. But I suppose you’re all used to that. Just as at the start of this year, I was struggling with the end of a relationship, I find myself in a similar position now.

There come times in everyone’s lives, I think, when they go against the advice of people close to them, and indeed their own better judgement, because they want so badly for something to work. I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to be enough for someone else who, for a variety of reasons, couldn’t be there for me, without realising that it meant I couldn’t be what needed myself to be. I don’t like who I’ve been seeing myself turn into.

I don’t know how to deal with something which feels so unfinished, but I suppose sometimes things have to end once they’ve run their course, and this is ours. It’s horrible to have to admit that despite your best efforts, you’ve got to let someone go. Even if you still care. Even if you still have questions to ask. Even when you try to tie up the loose ends with a nice ribbon, it doesn’t necessarily get rid of the marks someone has left on you. Regardless of if you originally wanted or intended them to or not.

Such is the way of the world. I have met so many amazing people this year. “Out with the old and in with the new” is a stupid phrase. You can’t just throw out experiences and people which left indelible marks on who you are, just because they’re no longer part of your life. You learn from them, and carry forward those lessons into the next stage of your life.

Writing about all this rather than talking about it gives it more of a sense of finality. Those who know me well know I prefer to express myself in writing. It’s easier to order your thoughts that way. This is a place I can write from the bottom of my heart and even if nobody reads it, it’s out there. I’m not holding it inside me any more.

So this is me, signing out of 2015 with a vaguely rueful smile. Listening to indie pop which simultaneously drives and depresses me. As per.

If you got to the end, well done! I really mean the end of my post, but it applies to the year as well. You’re here. You still have today. Be happy. *insert more clichéd motivational phrases here*

I’ll leave this here, with a few more important words.

Dear Bea of 2016; I’d say don’t ever change, but I know you will. In 2015 you learnt to let go, and to hold on. I know you’ll make stupid choices but you’ll laugh about them later, and the pain you feel in your lonely moments will fade as it has before, and this year will bring, as it always does, bigger and brighter things. You’re stronger than you know.

Keep wandering, my dear.


P.s. A Very Happy New Year to everyone who is going into 2016 next to me, and to those who aren’t, to those who have touched my heart this year, and those who I haven’t met yet. May 2016 be kind. May you be kind to others and most importantly to yourself.


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