Looking Back on 2018

It doesn’t matter where you come from,
It matters where you go.
No one gets remembered
For the things they didn’t do.
(Peggy Sang The Blues ~ Frank Turner, 2011)

When I started thinking about how to look back on 2018 here in this space, I was torn between two opposing sides: discussing at length why and where I think I had been floundering too much and how I had been letting the year pass by without any real achievement or growth (professional or personal). Or shouldn’t I be rather looking for and focusing on the positive elements of the year, because they must have been there, right? At some point I might need to work through what I think I could have “done better” in 2018. I might even put these thoughts down here publically. Right now though I want to remember 2018 for the things I did do and I want to think about where I’m going in 2019.

Even with all the stuff that didn’t work out the way I had hoped or planned, over all I feel like at least I’ve been more kind to myself. There was less of telling myself “Duh, of course you messed that up, why did you even bother?” and more of “Ok, that didn’t go as planned, but you’ll do better next time”. That’s progress. For me anyway. Even though I still worry too much and I am way too anxious about a lot of things, I feel like I’m able to talk myself down from the crazy quicker than before. I’ve also been less “pre-emptively defensive” towards other people, I think. More open and less wary. I really appreciate that.

Towards the end of 2018 I finally got back into writing mood and even if it’s sometimes just random ramblings about my day and stats about coffee & chocolate, it feels good doing it and that’s definitely something I plan to continue in 2019.

I wasn’t as active as I had hoped neither with My Peak Challenge (MPC) workouts nor running nor any other kind of sports. There was a distinct lack of consistency. That’s another part of my life I want to change in 2019. Nonetheless: I didn’t gain back too much of the weight I had lost in 2017. Besides the few regular runs I did at home, I ran on the beach on Fuerteventura in February. In May I ran along Regent’s Canal and through Regent’s Park in London and that felt kind of cool. I also hiked up Snowdon in Wales in August, which was something that made me proud to have accomplished. Before I signed up for MPC two years ago and established some kind of workout routine, I would never have thought myself capable of doing that. And it might be less the working out, which as I said I didn’t keep up consistently, but more the spirit of challenging myself. And of trusting myself to be able to do this. Something else I did carry over from 2017 through 2018? Feeling a bit more comfortable in my own body. Overweight and all. It’s my body and it was this functioning and moderately fit body that got me up the Snowdon summit. Besides the change the MPC program brought to me in 2017, in 2018 I most of all have to thank Bryony Gordon for helping me to change the way I see myself. Her writing and her selfies and her Instagram stories. She is why for the first time in years I felt comfortable putting on a bathing suit. Isn’t it a shame what we women do to ourselves by letting other people / the media / advertising etc. screw with our minds and ideas of selfworth and body image? Thanks for speaking up, Bryony!

Other things I for the first time ever trusted myself to do or felt comfortable doing? Dancing in public fully aware somewhere online there would be a video of it. Dancing like ‘I don’t care at all’ at a gig, without any thoughts of how I look like. Putting my face out there on Instagram Stories and such a bit more.

I don’t remember all the TV shows or movies I’ve watched, so maybe I should keep better track of that next year. Up to today I’ve read 48 books and thanks to Goodreads I at least have a good overview about those. In the summer I switched back from ebooks to real books, for the most part anyway. There are some series or authors I’ve only read on my Kindle so far and for some reason it feels weird to change that. Quite a few of the books – especially the ebooks – I only read to keep my mind occupied or distracted or something like that. Escape into the world regency or contemporary romance. Not the most challenging reads, but comforting in a way. But I’ve also read some good books that stayed with me longer and another thing I want to change for 2019 is to actually write a short review for each book, so that at the end of 2019 I can give you some decent recommendations. After some back and forth from the nearly 50 books I’ve read I would pick these five as my favourites in 2018 [Links to their sections on the publishing house websites]

My Box-Shaped Heart – Rachael Lucas, 2018

Eat, Drink, Run: How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad – Bryony Gordon, 2018

The Songs of Us – Emma Cooper, 2018

The Break – Marian Keyes, 2017

The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola, 2016

I went on two lovely vacations this year, a week on Fuerteventura in February and two weeks in Wales in August. I realise I haven’t really shared my memories from that trip. I posted photos on Instagram while I was there, but never wrote about it here. Bummer. And all in all two weeks of my vacation days this year I spent on travelling to Frank Turner shows. What can I say? I’m a fan. I went to 15 of his gigs this year, which might seem a bit excessive to some, but I don’t really care. I had fun and I’ve met so many (new) people and I made so many good memories. From the first show in Swindon in January, which came with a crazy travel story. To the last one in Düsseldorf in November, which was my #40 and where he changed the setlist to play my request. At least that’s what I claim ;-). With all this travelling and meeting people I also once again learned a bit more about myself and that’s always a good thing. In the long run anyway…

So, 2018 in short?

Not enough workouts.
More self confidence.
Way too much chocolate.
Never ever too much Frank.

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