At the start of 2017, I was caught up in life. I wrote some blog posts but didn’t publish any of them. I didn’t feel the worst I ever felt, but I wasn’t entirely happy either. It felt like several pieces of a puzzle had been misplaced and thus the year became one of the difficult decisions to try and repair the picture.
A very significant thing I did may not seem it. A very kind person offered his help for me to beat anxiety through meeting once a week. Past me could make up excuses to avoid meeting anyone, but I decided to take this opportunity and believe in it. While I struggled with going to seminars in 2016, the struggle eased in 2017 and has now nearly disappeared. I have been able to apply for jobs, speak in class and join sports teams with people I didn’t know at first. I even think I might be able to hold a presentation, something I didn’t think I’d ever say. This significant thing has allowed me to make all the difficult decisions that followed, as I slowly grew more confident over time and at ease in myself.
The most difficult decision I made this year was to break up with my girlfriend. I loved her and she meant the world to me but I had to realise that sometimes love isn’t enough. Given the circumstances and our personalities, I didn’t think either of us could be entirely happy if we stayed together. I felt incredibly guilty and sad; as if I had failed her. I had to choose for my own happiness even though it meant I’d hurt her. It was the right decision for both of us.
In May, I made the best decision of the year; to play the rugby 7’s tournament. I was unsure because I didn’t enjoy the year before. I felt incredibly anxious and had a nervous breakdown the night before that thankfully, a friend helped me through. I decided to play on the morning of the tournament and once I did play, my legs had the same energy of those of a child; I had no fear of tackling and literally felt on top of the world. At the end of the tournament, my team awarded me the award for best overall performance.
By the end of the academic year, I had lost a feeling that was very dear to me. I knew I had to actively change something if I wanted to get it back and so I joined the Aberystwyth Town Ladies FC in summer. The idea of changing football teams played in my head since Easter but I kept thinking I wasn’t a good enough player. In August I decided to just take the risk, whether it’d work out or not. Within just a few weeks, Abertown helped me regain the joy of playing football, while it simultaneously provided a challenge and helped me improve as a player.
I have always wanted to do my best in everything that I do. A part of this is performing well academically, but when I was mostly awarded 2:1’s last year, I didn’t think there was still a point in stressing over trying to get a first. I was helped and encouraged again by the same kind person and it has shown me that I can, in fact, do better than I thought I could. I have the capability to be a good writer. I am a good writer and I will continue to improve so that everyone will be able to read one of my stories one day. I have decided to keep working and improving no matter what.
In the new academic year, I also became a part of the universities basketball team. It happened by accident. My flatmate had met the team on a night out and promised them she’d come to a training session, and so I ended up joining her. She didn’t like the sport enough in the end, but somehow I stuck around. I thought of quitting a few times because of my insecurity and lack of technical skill but I wanted to stay for the nice group of people. Being a part of several teams (Abertown, uni football and uni basketball) meant I had to make difficult decisions. Do I play a match for one or join the Christmas meal for the other? After days of fretting, I decided to do what makes me happiest rather than what I think is expected. The joy of playing for this team has been two hundred percent worth it and I actually really enjoy the sport itself now.
2017 has been the year of confidence;
the year in which I discovered I can do things that I never imagined.
All these successes are not to say I didn’t have any lows. Many of the decisions were struggles that started with despair. I also struggled with severe headaches for months and as it is, I still struggle to sleep on a daily basis. As a result, I also struggle with my quality of health and productivity.
However, past me used to see the start of a new year as a drag. It used to mean we had to start again at zero; 364 days left until the end of the year. I don’t think about this on a day to day basis anymore. Actually, the change of the years doesn’t matter that much at all. It’s now a time of oilballs and other stuff I probably shouldn’t be eating. It’s a time of change without much time at all; much like when I age on my birthday. I’m happy for being who I am and I hope to continue this in the future with all the people I love.
Happy New Year!