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.

7 January 2018

Loneliness

I’ve always considered myself to be a somewhat lonely person. It’s not that I haven’t had friends or even best friends, but I guess that I’ve always felt slightly different to them, and as if we haven’t completely connected. However, I’m now at a point in my life where I can genuinely say that I have no real friends anymore. This isn’t to say to I’m completely isolated, I have people that I can chat to, and I have some old friends that I know are there if I ever get in touch, yet that comfort of a solid group of friends that I’ve been used to having my whole life doesn’t exist anymore.

I can’t decipher whether this is merely a part of growing up, with people’s interests changing, or whether it is symbolic of some deeper problem. I mean, ultimately, I’m not your average seventeen-year-old. I’d much rather stay at home than go partying, and although I like a glass of wine I’d much rather go to a restaurant than a club. I know that this is okay, and I know that there are other people out there who will feel exactly the same, but I just haven’t really met any of these people yet. I have acquaintances who complain that they don’t like going out, yet still, continue to do it every weekend, and this I just can’t understand, and I guess that it makes me feel even more lonely.

I’ve never really been a hugely social person, and I have generally always had two or three ‘best friends’ and I have been perfectly happy with that, I guess it’s just the security of having people there. However, these ‘best friends’ have changed scarily quickly, and often not even out of my own intent. I can honestly say that I have had a different friendship group nearly every year of my life since I was aged eleven. I’m sure that this is just down to how I have evolved as a person, and probably this feeling of being left out and not on the same wavelength as other people, yet it is still worrying to think about.

However, I don’t always miss this feeling of having a friendship group. In fact, at first, I found it pretty liberating. It meant that there were fewer people to please, no potential for arguments (which I had grown accustomed to and sick of) and it meant that I could put all of that energy into my academic studies. Yet sometimes I get this melancholic feeling, and I wonder if there is something genuinely wrong with the way that I approach other people. I’ve always tried to be kind, caring and warm, but I know that to some people I’ve not always come across that way.

I think that these feelings have been intensified by the huge change that is going to hit my life at the end of this year, that is moving away to university (and I want to do another blog post about this at some point). The only remaining support networks that I have, that of my family and boyfriend, will suddenly not be there anymore. Therefore, I have concluded, that unless I make friends, I won’t have any anyone to talk to.

However, I know that this is the completely wrong way to look at things, and if any of you feel the same, let’s try and get out of this negativity together. I think that it’s important to note that being a teenager is confusing and changeable, and people are always going to change and grow. The key is to find people that don’t care if you change and that you can grow with. The other thing is that being in school, college or sixth form, you’ve actually only met a few people, whose cultures are generally going to be quite similar. There are definitely going to be people out there who enjoy the same things and have the same attitudes as you, it’s just a matter of getting yourself out there and finding them.



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