1 September 2018

Some Thoughts for the New Academic Year

To me, September has always been the month of new beginnings. Ironically, in both of our versions of 'new beginnings', namely September and January, nature doesn't actually mirror this human feeling of change.
"My September has always symbolised change."

In academic terms, however, September is the perfect month for new beginnings, and for myself, this is often more significant than the official New Years. My September has always symbolised change, and for those few years of high school during which I completely fell out of love with the education system, it symbolised a new season of 'trying harder'.

Yet, it has taken me a couple of years, since I left high school, to realise that it is completely okay if your version of learning doesn't match up with that of the education system. Since I have been a child, I have always been a voracious reader, and around the age of ten, I was reading works way beyond that of my 'age range'. This wasn't out of some desire to conform, but instead out of a real passion for literary exploration and the desire to mentally push myself beyond the boundaries. However, by the time I was around fifteen, I was scraping my way through GCSE English and realistically touched about two books within the entire year. I am extremely grateful that, thankfully, this flunk didn't last long, as I definitely lost touch with a part of myself during this time, however, unfortunately for many this flunk doesn't pass until it's too late.

Of course, I'm not trying to suggest that everyone falls out of love with reading, some never will fall in love with it in the first place and for others, it will never leave. Whatever your intellectual curiosity is, I urge you to feed it, not just in a way that conforms with educational standards, but in a way which fuels your soul. I know that it can feel like grades are more important than anything else and yes, it is extremely important to try hard to reach your educational potential, but in reality, there are also so many more important lessons to learn in this life.

Therefore, I beg of you, instead of using this September as the signifier for another year of more educational pressure, instead of balance this with activities that you love and help you to grow. Try and create a passion for your life, rather than just living within the robotic nature of the society that we live in, and ultimately, know that you are enough, in whatever shape or size you come in. Our society will try and label us, but the only label that can truly guide us is the one that we can create for ourselves.

"Individuality is freedom lived." John Dos Passos

30 June 2018

Summer ASOS Purchases



I thought that I'd write a quick post to share some ASOS pieces that I have purchased recently. Not only are we currently experiencing a heatwave in the UK, but in three weeks I go on holiday to Italy. Therefore, recently I have been on the hunt to find some classic summer pieces to integrate into my wardrobe, and of course, my first port of call was ASOS. I'm sure many of these items will also be featured in some outfit posts once I am in Italy, but I am sure many of you will currently be also hunting for some summer items, so hopefully, this post will give you some inspiration.







14 June 2018

Self-Care


The boundary between selfishness and self-care is one that is very often blurred and misinterpreted. This is a problem that I have often encountered, being a complete and utter people pleaser I have always found it incredibly different to say no to people. However, it is important to find the balance between respecting yourself and respecting other people too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with prioritising yourself from time to time, and I think that it is sad that many people are socialised to believe that self-prioritisation is selfish.
Here are three simple actions that can help you to better yourself.

1. Find some alone time
This perhaps seems like a very simple request, but it is remarkable the number of people who simply consider themselves to be too busy to spend any time alone. Just as socialising is important, so is independence and space. It is during these moments of solitude that your brain is really allowed to reflect and contemplate, and this is essential for self-growth. Take a look at your schedule, and try and find a couple of hours a week where you can prioritise yourself- take a bath, bake, read- whatever makes you feel centred and fulfilled. If you don't have this time already, then clear an obligation that you don't feel enthused by, and instead use this time to focus on yourself.

2. Listen to your body
There is a logic behind the phrase 'your body is a temple'. Your body is your powerhouse, it needs fuel, maintenance and respect. I'm not asking you to dive straight into an intense fitness regime, but merely asking you to respect your body. There are, of course, extremely obvious things that you can do such as drinking plenty of water, getting fresh air, engaging in some exercise, but there are also simple ways too. For example, if you're tired, then go to bed or if you're hungry, then eat. Live in sync with your body and listen to its request, don't power ahead despite feeling out of sync.

3. Help others

This may seem contradictory in relation to self-care, but in reality, these actions are interlinked. The important thing is that this action is on your terms, not out of a feeling of guilt. One of the most rewarding feelings is found through volunteer work, which in turn makes you feel much more contented with yourself. By finding time to help others you are also finding time to help yourself. 

13 June 2018

An Update

I never thought that I'd be writing a post like this.  Of course, it is something that nobody ever mentally or physically prepares for, and the odds of it happening are extremely slim. Yet, in typical Amelia style, it has happened to me...
Basically, I haven't sat any of my exams.

If you've been following my blog over the months then you'll know that I have been working myself up to my exams for two years, since beginning college in 2016. Yet, the day before my first A-Level exam I was taken to the hospital for query appendicitis- having been ill for the previous few days. That same Thursday I was taken into surgery for an emergency appendectomy. It is now Wednesday, and I have officially missed all of my exams.

Everything is very up in the air at the moment, I don't know if I will still have my University place. I don't know if I'm reapplying, or deferring. I'm returning to college full-time in February 2019 to sit my exams next summer- so I am still going to gain my qualifications, I just have an 8-month hiatus. It is going to be incredibly difficult going back, I'd closed that chapter in my head, and everyone I've ever known will be at University by then, so I'm literally going to be friendless and completely alone.

However, I'm trying to view this situation from a fatalistic perspective. Ultimately, someone somewhere is trying to tell me something- I'm just trying to figure out what. In a strange way, I feel a sense of relief, I wasn't completely ready to move to University in September,  I was getting a lot of anxiety and for the past month or so I just couldn't mentally process the fact that I was leaving home, it's almost like my gut was telling me that it wasn't going to happen this year.

I need to work out what I'm going to do during this hiatus. Of course, I have things that I'd love to do, but because this situation was really sudden, I hadn't saved or prepared for any of them.  Obviously, I'm going to need to keep the academics ticking over, but ultimately I have no daily routine anymore. My first port of call is going to be getting a job, but who knows when or in what form, but I'm actively looking, although right now, my focus is on recovery.

Other than that, I really want to get involved in some work experience or internships. Thankfully, my dad has a lot of contacts so this has never been something that is in short supply, I've just never had the time to get involved before.

Finally, I want to pour myself into this blog. I have the time, energy and mental capacity now to really put some thought into my posts, so I want to know what you all want to read, please comment or message me and let me know as I am in need of some inspiration.

If you've sat exams this year, I hope that they've gone well for you! If you are or have been in a situation like mine, I would love to hear from you.

I'll be sure to update you all on what my plan is for the foreseeable future, once I know, but for the meantime, I'm focusing on recovery and getting my head around what has happened. I'm going to Italy at the end of July, so until then I'm probably going to get myself back on my feet, hopefully with a job lined up for when I get back.

The unknown is scary, and this is probably the most intimidating situation that I have ever been in, but the unknown can also be liberating. The unknown brings opportunity, so grasp it, and make the most of any situation regardless of how scary it is, as you have no idea of the good that can come from something that appears bad.

26 May 2018

Closing this Chapter

It's one of the most contradictory emotions when you find yourself held between two chapters of your life. You're on the last few pages of your current chapter, yet you still have to wait before the next chapter begins, so you are held in some sort of momentary suspension until your life decides that it is continuing.

That is exactly the position that I am in at the moment, as yesterday I left college. For those of you who aren't from the UK, this is the end of compulsory education at eighteen, and afterwards, you progress into the big, scary world of adulthood in the form of university, an apprenticeship or a job. This is the point in life where you really have to figure out what you want out of your life, and most importantly how you are going to get it. I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't a lot of pressure. I have one week of study leave, two weeks of exams and then I am completely finished. How strange.

Perhaps the strangest feeling of all is that it is two years since I left high school. On the one hand, I feel like a completely different person, yet I still feel as vulnerable as I did when I was sixteen. This has me wondering whether you ever get to the point where you feel completely secure in yourself, or whether you are always going to feel slightly insecure and in need of your parents.

The irony is that by the time that I leave university in three years, at the age of twenty-one, I'll probably again feel completely different to how I do now. This is even scarier to think of as I can't fathom in my innocent, little brain how I could possibly have much more growing to do, but I do, we all do. I guess growing is consistently continuous until we reach the end of our lives and we suddenly don't grow anymore.

It's going to be a long summer, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life whilst soaking up the last few months of living at home full-time. I'd be lying if I said that the future didn't terrify me, but embracing the fear feels like a necessary evil to progress to the type of person that I want to be. Essentially, I know that if I don't leave home now then I never will.

However, I'm very excited to resurrect this blog over the summer. I have so much built up creative energy that essay writing simply can't unleash, thus it is extremely cathartic for me to be able to express my emotions in the form of a blog post. I'm also hoping to explore some different interests of mine within this blog, as I am fully aware that as of now it is simply a relaying of my random thoughts with a few random photographs. I am determined to build this platform into something helpful for all of you.

Let's see where this crazy journey of life takes us.

21 April 2018

Paris

"Paris is always a good idea"- Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina












22 March 2018

Big Life Changes

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself to be so overwhelmed with school, that I haven't had time to stop and think. I am sure that this happens to the best of us, when you are distracted from something that is causing you pain or anxiety, but then it suddenly comes to surface seemingly unprovoked.

This happened to me last night. I was in the shower- a strange location but an evening shower seems to always provoke deep reflection- and I suddenly had the realisation of how much my life is going to change over the coming months. 

Of course, there is a certain amount of nervous anticipation that I feel, alongside excitement. Describing my emotions to other people can sometimes be difficult as I am ultimately excited. Yet, this doesn't detach from the fact that I currently feel like I am walking around with a cloud looming over my head, or a person always lingering in the background wherever I go.

The prospect of moving away to University has always scared me to my core. I love the idea of being indepedenent and living away from home, but part of me does not yet feel ready to let go of my childhood.

I understand that not everyone will feel this way, and quite frankly I envy those that don't. I know that to some extent everyone faces nerves, but this feeling that I am symbolically giving something good up in the hope of gaining something better is terrifying. What if it isn't better? What if I hate it? What if people don't like me?

I've always been really close to my parents and my brother.  I have lived in the same home my entire life and I have always heavily relied on my parents for comfort and support. Even now I still sometimes feel like the shy little girl who used to cry when she had a baby sitter or a night separated from her parents. Of course, I've inevitably grown and developed since then, but this general fear of situations that makes me uncomfortable is still a very prominent obstacle in my life. 

I guess I'm praying that in five months time I'll feel a lot more mature and prepared, and even if I don't I know that this is something that I need to do and that I will learn to love. Yet, sitting here in my childhood home, the prospect seems alien and unreal.

The biggest question that I seem unable to answer is:
How do I say goodbye to everyone and everything that I've ever known or loved?

And I guess that, like everyone else, I am simply going to have to answer this question as I work it out. 

22 February 2018

Confessions of a Girl with Social Anxiety

One of the biggest stresses in my daily life is trying to please everyone around me, even at the cost of my own happiness.
I respond perculiary to social situations, I suffer with social anxiety, but I have always made an effort to go out and see people despite the fact that I'd much rather stay home, alone. However, sometimes I'm too busy, need some alone time or I just don't want to go. It doesn't mean that I don't like you, or don't care, but it stems from the fact that I seem to subconsciously keep an emotional distance from most people and that there is an unbareable amount of stress and anxiety that goes in to each social event.
However, I always feel like most people just don't get it. They can't understand why I'm so withdrawn, quiet or reserved. I think the worst part is that I really empathise with these convictions, I wish that I was naturally outspoken, but I can't pretend that I'm something that I'm not.
From some individuals or groups I have always felt an overwhelming pressure to be social and to interact with them, even to the point where I have been informed by others that they have taken offence to the fact that I have hardly seen them or I am quiet in their company. Yet, it is nothing personal, there is not dislike, laziness or boredom attached, I  simply genuinley find it really difficult to initiate conversation and I would much rather be in my own company.
If I use a reason such as 'I'm ill' or 'I have too much work' then they simply think that I don't want to see them or that I'm using poor excuses, even if these are genuinley the cases (which they quite often are). Yet, if I agree to a social event, even if its a few months away, I guarantee that it will be constantly on my mind and cause me an unbareable amount of anxiety until its over.
I'm sure a lot of you feel the same, and so many people suffer with different forms of anxiety, yet why do people find it so difficult to understand? We're all too obsessed with what is normal and what isn't. So what if I'd rather be in my own company, does it detrimentaly affect anyone else other than myself? I'm not condoning friendships or relationships, but you can care about people and support them without feeling immense pressure to constantly be available.
At the end of the day, the only person's happiness that you can fully control is your own. If other people don't get it then they can't have your best interests at heart, learn to be selfish sometimes and that it's okay to say no.

If anyone here suffers with anxiety, or feels the same as is described above, please feel free to message me to talk about it or leave a comment below and we can all support each other.

21 February 2018

An Early Quarter-Life Crisis

I'm sure everyone who is in their late teens is to some extent feeling exactly as I am right now, in the sense of wanting to achieve but lacking the motivation to put in the needed time. The desire to work hard in the permanent battle with the desire to let go and have fun.
I've been thinking rather hard recently, as a result of this internal battle, about why I am feeling this way. Perhaps, it is simply my brain's way of telling me that I've outgrown the life that I am currently living. To some extent, I can identify with this. I'm growing tired of feeling so isolated (I live in a rural area, the nearest mid-sized towns are at least twenty-five minutes away on a bus that only comes once an hour, and I can't afford to drive).
I've always been such a city person, I love the vast amounts of people, the noise, the bustling streets and the ambition. There is something about being in that environment that really motivates and inspires me, whereas living somewhere so secluded simply drains me. Equally, if I'm having a down morning or if I am feeling really de-motivated, there isn't anywhere to go. I can't just walk to a coffee shop, a busy street, or even shops. Therefore, isolation is definitely one of the biggest issues that I'm struggling with at the moment.
Similarly, my routine is boring me. I am really fortunate, and I know that my lifestyle is great, but it has been the same for too long, and my current position as the child in a house with my parents really don't lend towards breaking the boundaries of routine. Therefore, my life at the moment consists of living vicariously through TV shows like Gossip Girl and YouTubers, which isn't healthy and simply leaves me feeling more alone.
I feel like the older generations really don't understand these concepts as society was so different. Even my parents can't understand my innate desire for more, they are completely satisfied with their lifestyle in the suburbs and a yearly holiday to Europe. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I am extremely blessed and I know this, and if you feel content with that lifestyle then I really feel happy for you.
I am simply trying to explain that it's okay to feel like you haven't got it figured out, it's okay to feel conflicted, isolated and confused. We're all doing our best, and I guess the only change that we can make right now is to keep on working and slowly moving along towards our destinies, which will one day soon arrive.
You can do it.

5 February 2018

Identity

One of the biggest crises of humanity is who we are, and who we are supposed to be.
There is no time more confusing than being a teenager. You sit in that peculiar chasm, you're not yet an adult, nor are you a child. You haven't created your own life yet, but you've outgrown the one that your parents have provided you with. It's a challenge- you think that you have it all figured out, and then you crash.
We all have moments like this. I'm starting University in seven months, yet I have moments where I doubt whether I've applied for the right degree, at the right place, or even whether its the right time. There are moments when I feel academic and confident, and there are moments when I just want to defer and travel the world.
Your whole childhood you're forced to think about the future, and every little decision that you make from being as young as ten or eleven, you're taught define you as a person. Being a part of the 'iGeneration' is tougher than those who are older can realise. Through the growth of the media, there are constant points of comparison to remind you of the pressure. There are always those who are prettier, more intelligent and more successful. You compare all of these aspects to your life that hasn't really even begun yet, and you don't even know where to start.
All that I've ever known is that I want to leave my mark on the world. My dream career has continuously changed, I've wanted to be a nurse, vet, actor, singer, author, lawyer, journalist, even prime minister.  In fact, I would have been all of them at once if it was possible. Yet, all of these careers are merely symbols of who we think we should be, and not who we actually are. In reality, our sense of self is always changing and adapting, so its impossible to know 'who we should be' until we fall into it, unknowingly.
Even the 'escapist' aspect of the media can be just as detrimental to our sense of self. I've watched tv shows and films where I've begun to envy characters (or even the actors) for having wealth or success.  I know that it's unhealthy, but the unrealistic attributes of these worlds make them even more alluring. It comes down to the fact that nobody likes to advertise or discuss the tough stuff, and the media reflects this to create the most perfect world possible.
I guess, the moral is that it's normal to not feel complete, and I don't think that anybody ever honestly feels content with themselves. However, the key is to harness this desire, fuel it, manipulate it, and manifest it into something that you can be proud of. Nothing is ever permanent, and if you're not happy with your life, then change it.

3 February 2018

London

Have you ever visited a place that just feels right for you? You can't explain how or why or when, but part of you knows that that is the place that you need to be. That's the feeling that I got when I first visited London.

It was summer 2008, and I was eight-years-old and extremely innocent. I grew up in a rural area of Yorkshire, in the North of England. Until I first visited London, I can't even remember being in a city. This is somewhat ironic, as my father is a rather cosmopolitan person. He attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, so hence lived there for three years of his life. My father's adoration for London is completely obvious, yet he did not have the finances or will to live there for the longer-term. My mother, on the other hand, is a character, and she has quite a nervous temperament. Therefore, she never wanted to take two young children (my brother and I) to any large cities, or abroad for that matter. I didn't travel abroad until I was ten either, and I can't really fault her for that. I had many happy summers on the English coasts in my perfect little microcosm.  However, I am glad that we started adventuring further a-field when we did.

We are extremely fortunate when it comes to visiting London. My father's friends live in London part-time, and therefore they own a flat there. I highly doubt I would have visited as many times as I have if they did not let us stay there. Having the ability to stay in a 'home away from home' gave me from a young age the experience of living there, the experience that you just don't get from a tourist's perspective.

I'd call myself a perspective fatalist. Therefore, as soon as I first visited London in 2008, I knew that it was somewhere that I wanted to live. It sounds hugely cliche, but I just got an overwhelming feeling that this was a place that was home. Even now, we go and stay in the flat at least twice a year. However, from the age of around eight to twelve, I'd say we visited on average four or five times a year. This was back in a period where we all had much more time on our hands, so thus had the time to visit for transformative weekends away.

When I was around fourteen, I began to think about University options. This sounds quite pedantic, yet I have always been a meticulous planner and obsessed with the future. I think this comes from the fact that- since been a teenager at least- I've always been kind of unhappy with where I live.  The countryside in Yorkshire is beautiful, but I've never really felt like I've fitted in up here. The towns feel restraining to me, and opportunity feels limited. I guess you could classify it, as in the words of Frank Sinatra, "little town blues".

I knew that I wanted to attend University in London, like my father. Throughout the years, I've looked at possibly every single course at every single University. Whenever anybody asked me what I wanted to do in the future, I'd tell them: "I just want to move to London." Of course, when you're young and 'naive' people struggle to take you seriously, and this always infuriated me. I'd researched, planned and budgeted the next ten years of my life; I was going to do it.

The feeling of it being 'right' intensified from this point. Every train journey I took to London felt like I was returning home and I always felt so melancholic when I had to come back home at the end of a trip, I felt like I had left a piece of myself there.

In September 2017 I attended some open days in London. I went down with my father, and it was a dream. I fell head over heels in love with King's College London. This surprised me, as I was actually expecting to prefer University College London, but no, I was mesmerised with King's. I went to talk with one of the English lecturers, and I was so awe-struck that I embarrasingly failed to formulate sentences. However, I convinced myself that I would never get in, and I felt completely like the University was far too good for me.

After a gruelling UCAS application process, in November 2017 I received an offer to study English at King's College London. It's now February 2018, and I am beginning to feel more content than I ever previously have. Of course, I'm only part of my way through this journey, and meeting the grades that I need to get in is a challenge in itself. However, I am trying to remain positive, while figuring out if this is a step that I am ready to make at this point in my life. I thought I'd share this little anecdote with you, just as it is fascinating how a place can symbolise everything that you are, and everything that you want to be.

I'm planning on writing another blogpost about the University application process as I begin to reach the end of that journey in a few months time.

Hopefully, I'll be able to take you along with me on the journey.

31 January 2018

Time

I do not know if this is merely the trait of someone who is an anomalously deep thinker, but I undoubtedly romanticise the past.
For those of you who aren't particularly reflective, or interested in the past at that, this will most likely seem a rather odd concept. However, I know that some of you will completely identify with this.
Isn't it fascinating how, as humans, we are never satisfied with what we have right in front of us. Whether regarding the present or the future, we always crave more than we have. It is almost like it is an inbuilt and unchanging shared characteristic. Ultimately, to extinguish the flames of desire is to extinguish the flames of possibility. Yet, I can't help but feel like it is this desire that creates so much melancholy in our existence.
The concept of time is somewhat perplexing if you consider it. We are all the same. Our ancestors shared our biology, and ultimately there are parts of all of us in those that we've never even met. You're the legacy of your own past.
I've always felt like I belonged in a bygone era. When I was younger, this revelation caused me much discomfort. I wanted nothing more than to be like all of my friends, to enjoy all of the modern luxuries of being a teenager in the twenty-first century. I often felt a somewhat perplexing sadness, as I felt like I struggled to truly connect with those around me. There are, of course, those odd people that you meet that have the same thought processes as you. However, finding them can feel impossible.
However, as I have grown slightly older, I have realised that there is nothing wrong with feeling a disillusionment with the present. It is the craving of the past, and the future at that, that creates our identity and an undying desire for success.
I may be a seventeen-year-old in twenty-eighteen, but I feel more at home with the literature of the likes of Fitzgerald and Hemingway than I do with modern mass culture. Similarly, I can't imagine anything worse than a drinking holiday in Ibiza when there are beautiful, romantic cities such as Paris and Venice to explore.
Ultimately, it's this fact that makes me unique and an individual.
Make your life the epitome of everything that you idealise.
Time doesn't stop for anybody.

17 January 2018

My Goals for 2018

At the start of a new year, I always find it both satisfying and motivational to set a series of goals for myself. Some may call these new years resolutions, however, I believe that setting resolutions can actually be rather counter-productive. Often these resolutions are cliche, or difficult to maintain, and therefore when they are broken (which at some point they most likely will) it is demotivating. Instead, goals are something to achieve rather than something to change.
For example, instead of saying 'I want to exercise more' it is more of a case of saying 'I am aiming to exercise four times a week'. Setting these targets can be motivating and stimulating to achieve.
The way that I organised my goals for 2018 was in the terms of 'short-term' and 'long-term' goals. By this, I am referring to whether the goal is imminently achievable, or a lifestyle goal that is generally achieved over a longer period of time. For example, a short-term goal could be to pursue a vegan diet in January, whereas a long-term goal could be to actively incorporate meditation into daily life. I hope that this differentiation makes sense, but I promise if you try this in the future, you will feel much more organised in setting out things to achieve.
In continuation, in this post, I am going to be sharing some of my short and long-term goals for 2018. Hopefully, these goals will motivate you to strive for achievement (in whatever context) and ultimately inspire you to make a positive change in your life.


Short-Term Goals


1. Achieve top grades at the completion of my A-Levels in August 2018.
This goal may seem peculiar to some, however, I have found that setting myself goals like this make me hungry for success. It is also a good idea to set yourself up for success I believe.

2. Enrol to study English Literature at my dream University in August 2018.
Again, this is a goal to motivate me to push myself. If you can visualise where you want to be at a particular point in time, it is much easier to work backwards and plan out the necessary steps to achieve this goal.

3. Be conscious of how much coffee I am drinking to help with stress and anxiety.
This is a rather personal one, but during highly anxious and stressful periods (e.g. exam season) I find that drinking coffee sends me spiralling at a point when I am already on high alert. Therefore, I have set myself this goal with the aim of slowly 'weaning' myself off of regular coffee drinking so that I can reap the benefits later on in the year during exam season.

4. Plan for starting a blog in January.
I have to say, this is the goal that I was most excited for and I am absolutely enthralled to have already achieved. For me, creative writing is such an outlet and joy, therefore I knew that I wanted to incorporate this into my life in 2018. 

5. Read at least 25 books throughout the year.
This is a personal goal that I have set to encourage me to regularly read. On one hand I am a complete bookworm, however, on the other hand, I struggle to clear the time to read. This is something that I desperately wanted to work on in 2018, and by setting a realistic goal to strive for I will hopefully feel intrinsically pushed to read more in daily life. 


Long-Term Goals


1. Look after my body through regular diet and exercise.
This is perhaps the most cliche of my goals. However, this is definitely something that I want to incorporate into my lifestyle. I love exercising and feeling healthy, yet in 2017 it always seemed to get pushed to the bottom of the pile in comparison to other social events, or academic deadlines. Therefore, for 2018 I am going to strive to attend the gym at least twice a week, as well as concentrating on 'refining' my diet back to its pre-Christmas state.

2. Look after my mind through daily yoga or mediation. 
Again, this is another rather cliche goal. However, in 2017 I put my mental wellbeing on the backburner. By completing daily yoga or mediation I am hoping that I will feel generally more productive and less stressed and that this is a lifestyle that I can incorporate into my life for the longer term. 

3. Embrace change.
Internally, I struggle with the changes in my life. I think that being seventeen/eighteen is really difficult in the terms of feeling trapped between a child and adult, which is exactly how I feel. I am excited to create a life of my own (that I hopefully love) yet I still find the thought of leaving my childhood home for University terrifying. Therefore, I really want to teach myself to embrace change. This is definitely an 'easier said than done' goal, however, this is a mindset that I really want to strive to adapt to the future.

4. Create my own sense of security.
Again, this relates to how I intrinsically feel. I have lived in the same home my entire life, I've never spent more than a week away from my parents and I've grown accustomed to living a pretty sheltered childhood. I'm aware that moving away to University this summer is going to be a huge step, and part of working towards this goal for me is creating my own sense of security. By this, I mean that I need to learn to rely on myself, rather than on other people or places for comfort. Although I am independent, I have never lived without the concept of home, and I know that when the time comes I am going to find it really difficult, hence why I need to work on feeling secure within myself, rather than based upon other people or surroundings.

5. Work on my confidence and social skills. 
Lastly, I really want to work on my confidence and social skills. I was an extremely shy child who hid mostly behind her parents in social situations. I have definitely started to work towards being more confident, and I have noticed a change in myself in the past few years. However, to get myself out into the adult world successfully, I need to work on being able to talk to people, and feeling confident in myself whilst doing so. 

Here are my goals, what are yours?
Remember, this is your year. Embrace it.

13 January 2018

Passion

I am a lover of poetry. 
For the past couple of years, I have been writing poetry in my own time, but I have never had an outlet to publish it. Therefore, I am planning on publishing a couple of my poems on here, to share with anyone who adores poetry as much as I do. 


This first one is called Passion:


Passion

I believed myself to be in love,
A stereotyped happiness,
An impending sadness,
You made me float,
Way above mortal affection.

Yet,
I can’t explain,
My love for you.

It disappears,
Like the sun in the winter,
Like the snow in the summer.
A gentle breeze,
A dead man’s liquor,
A passionless affair.

Should we question ourselves,
On all that is felt,
Or all that is absent,
An unsigned agreement.

Or do I simply wave goodbye,
To a young girl’s dream,
A melancholic high.

A passionless love,
Or a loveless passion,
Its beyond repair,

My inexplicable love affair.

10 January 2018

Lessons That I've Learned in 2017

As of the day that I am writing this, we are officially a week into 2018.

I know that I am slightly late in publishing my reflections of 2017. However, I do believe it is important to take the time to consider the decisions, achievements and changes that occurred in the previous year as a key part of your personal growth. Therefore, whether reflection is catalysed by the new year itself, or some mid-year inspiration, reflection is a vital part of personal growth.

On that note, here are seven lessons that I've learned in 2017:


1. Hard work pays off.

In 2016, during my GCSEs, I had a rather troublesome relationship with education that created a lot of stress and anxiety. Ultimately, this came down to the fact that I was not emotionally prepared for exams, nor did I feel prepared in exam technique or effective revision. I still achieved good grades, but I knew that I had so much more to offer. Therefore, when I started college in September 2016 I made a promise to myself that I was never going to feel like I was 'failing' again. From that moment I have put everything into educational achievement (and perhaps a little too much... I'll get on to this later), and ultimately this has paid off. I am now achieving the grades that I knew I was capable of, but even more than that, I fell back in love with learning. Therefore, to me, this is evidence that if you want something enough, and you put enough work and energy into it, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Although I still have the tough part to go (exams) I feel so much more confident in my own abilities than I ever could have done at GCSE, and that truly makes me feel proud of myself. 

2. People aren't always going to like you.

This was quite an important lesson for me. I have always been a complete and utter people pleaser, perhaps even better described as a pushover. I have known that for some years, yet I was so desperate to maintain some friendships, that I somehow justified letting myself be walked all over. 2017 is the year that I can genuinely say that this changed. Although this was stemmed by the losses of quite a few friends (in circumstances that I still don't understand) I can now understand why these events had to take place- from a reflective and fatalistic perspective of course. Ultimately, I have learnt the crucial lesson that people aren't always going to like me, and that's okay. Even more so, that people aren't always going to get me, nor are they going to perceive things in the same way that I am. These things are okay too, the problem occurs when people don't communicate how they are feeling. This was a mistake of both myself and those around me, and yes it did result in unhappiness on all parts. However, I learnt so much about myself and how people function during this experience, and thus forth I really feel like this experience has taught me that it is okay for everyone to not like you, life would be very boring otherwise.

3. Be grateful.

2017 was the year that I really came to appreciate my family. As a teenager, I've always been ridiculously independent and introverted. Therefore, I never really 'let' my parents into my personal life as such. However, this year I've found myself being incredibly grateful for having such a kind and giving family. I think that this has probably stemmed from the fact that I now have the fate of University now just over the horizon, so I know that family life as I know it won't exist for much longer. I know that change is positive and important, but in 2017 I have found that I have really become sentimental over my family and home. Moreover, its okay to feel that way, its okay to want to cling to your childhood for longer, and its okay to feel afraid of 'growing up'. It's how you channel these energies and appreciate those around you that matters the most.

4. You have your whole life ahead of you.

I am obsessed with the future. I am obsessed with planning, researching and organisation. I am so obsessed with this that I sometimes forget that I am living in the present, not the future. In 2017, I really learnt that you have your whole life ahead of you to live. These goals and dreams that you have are amazing, and you will get there, but right now you are in an A-Level English classroom and you should enjoy that adventure instead. Yes, one day you will have your own house with all your own decorations, but for this time just appreciate your mum's uncoordinated ornaments as being homely and eclectic. Live in the present, not the future, because the present will become the past, the future will become the present and you'll find more goals to obsess over. 

5. Educational achievement isn't everything.

Despite the key lesson I learnt in where hard work can take you, I also learnt that educational attainment isn't everything. Some of the most valuable experiences that you have are outside of school and college, and an A* doesn't necessarily make up for the fact that you don't know how to drive a car or pay bills. Although it is amazing to work hard and strive for success, you can't let it consume your whole life. It is also just as important to look after yourself and those around you. Find your balance.

6. The only person you can trust is yourself. 

This is a rather sad one, but in 2017 I have ultimately learnt that the only person that you can truly trust is yourself. Yes, there are some people who are going to have your best interests at heart, and you might have to search for these people. However, the only person who can truly stand for your values, beliefs and happiness is yourself. You are your greatest advocate. 

7. Follow your instincts.

In continuation of the previous lesson, the most important thing that I have learnt this year is to follow your instincts. Your decision may feel unorthodox, or unaccepted, but the only person who truly knows you is you. You know what you want, and you know how to get there, so follow that path! You're the person that you will have to come home to every night, so if you're not happy with where your life is headed then change it. I can't re-iterate this enough, I have found so many people this year who have felt stuck and unfulfilled, yet have refused to change the things that are making them unhappy. Trust your instincts and follow your gut, they know you the best. 

Live your best 2018.
Amelia Hope © . Design by FCD.