Developing myself in 2016

Year round-up posts usually come at the end of December so it's a little odd that I'm posting mine mid-way through November. I think I'm just at the right stage where I want to draw a line under 2016 and I want to share everything I learnt on here. Everything I achieved. Everything that changed me, because it's no secret that this was probably the biggest roller-coaster year of my life so far.

I entered 2016 with more confidence than usual. My blog had just been re-designed so I started getting more opportunities and my job was going great, I'd been given a pay rise. But that was it. That's all I had going for me and looking back I think I knew that wasn't enough for me to be happy.

I was lonely even though I wasn't alone and I was miserable. Everything was the same. The same routine. The same people. The same places. There was no excitement in my life and I had nothing going for me. I think this was when I first started to develop myself.

As a Christmas reward from work I got given driving lessons and even though I'm still learning now I'm proud that I'm actually getting the hang of it. None of my parents have ever driven so driving to me was completely new and to be honest I thought that I would never get the hang of it, but now I'm practically ready to do my test. As it was my biggest new years resolution to learn how to drive I'm glad (and shocked) that I've stuck to it.

I started to get fit at the beginning of the year. Working for a fitness brand and having to post inspirational fitness quotes to motivate other people when you're the laziest of shits is difficult. So I started doing the T25 and actually lost a bit of weight for my holiday in May. It was after that that I became lazy again and just stopped. I'm disappointed with myself in a way because I was doing well and I just let myself go again, but I've started to feel the motivation to get back into it recently and if I book myself a holiday for next year then that'll make me want to sort my body out.

In February I started to see more bands live. Everyone who knows me knows I have a bit of an addiction to live music but in 2016 I went to so many gigs. In 2015 I wasn't able to see a lot of bands play because I was unemployed for half the year so I made it my mission to go to as many as I could afford. I saw Foals/Everything!Everything! and Enter Shikari in February and they were both amazing gigs to start the year with. I could look at them both negatively for several reasons but that doesn't overpower how happy their music made me on those nights. Then in April, me and my mum made a last minute decision to go and see Muse and honestly, even though I was so poor after that show, it's a memory with my mum that I'm glad I got to make. Me and Rach went to Leeds Fest at the end of August and that was probably the biggest highlight of my year. Not only was the music incredible but it was just a memorable weekend. Falling into mud a dozen times, walking ten miles for a shuttle bus after falling in a ditch and then queuing for 2 hours to get onto the bus with nothing but some tin foil to keep me warm was worth it because I still cry laughing at the memories we made. I've ended the year seeing The Sherlocks, You Me At Six and one of my favourite bands, Bring Me The Horizon live and they were all incredible. BMTH was actually the best gig I've ever been to, and I've seen Foo Fighters 3 times so it says a lot doesn't it.

I'm really bored of mentioning the toxic relationship I was in but it's got to be mentioned because leaving it was the best thing I did in 2016. It's a big thing when everyone around you tells you they're proud of you. Even my mum didn't think I could do it and to be honest I didn't even know I could do it. The thing is, you've got to leave when you're ready to. You could have a thousand people telling you to leave but you won't be able to until you yourself can do it. Nobody knows your mind and nobody knows your heart like you do.

That's when the real change began. Before May I didn't really have anyone. I had one friend that I didn't get to see very often and I was terrified of being alone. I'm so lucky to have a close family but at this point I think what I needed was people a bit like me around me, to help me find myself. I got so close to my best friend Rachel after this and honestly she changed my life. She welcomed me into her group of friends and I feel like I'm part of a second family now. I made my own friends too. I genuinely have never felt so comfortable around people like I do around the people I'm with now. It's mad to think about who I have in my life compared to this time last year. I've rekindled old friendships and made new amazing friends. I don't go a day without laughing and somebody is always there for me whenever I need a cry and they always let me know when they're proud of me. That sort of friendship is priceless. I'm going to shout out the best girl friends I could have because I know they're going to read this and will want a mention - Rachel, Beth, Laura, Hannah and Mollie. 

There was a few people I re-kindled with and it didn't work out but that's okay. I said in my last post, not everybody is compatible and so just because I got on really well with somebody at one point doesn't mean I will now. People change drastically and personalities clash and you shouldn't feel bad for cutting people out because they might not be right for you.

I went downhill too for a while. I went out every single weekend for weeks and thought I was "happy" when all I was actually doing was jagerbombing my emotions away. It's all fun and games until you throw up on your mates and wake up on your mum's sofa with no idea how you got there. Going out and drinking is fun but not remembering any of the night is not and that was a big lesson I learnt the hard way this year.

I did a lot of travelling. I only left the UK once, when I went to Lanzarote, but I've been all over England and Wales. I went to York for the day to review York Dungeons with Izzy. That was an experience and a half, we were both still drunk from the night before and had to get on four coaches that day. It was tragic but hilarious. I took a trip to Brighton with my dad at the end of July. That was a really good weekend because Brighton has always been the place me and my dad went to when I was growing up so going back now and spending quality time with him was a lot of fun. I also ate so much Italian food for three days which was probably the best part. Obviously I went to Leeds Fest at the end of August and that meant going to Leeds because we stayed in a hotel in the centre. We actually saw quite a bit of Leeds, mostly on the final day when we went for food and did a bit of shopping before getting our train home but I think I'd like to re-visit for the day to see it properly. Two of my best friends live in Cardiff so for my 20th birthday I went to stay at Rachel's uni house for the weekend and had a night out with Laura and Mollie too. That weekend was so much fun and I can see myself seeing a lot more of Cardiff seeing as I've always got somewhere to stay now. Mid-October I went to see You Me At Six with Beth in Liverpool so we made a night of it and had one of the best nights out I've ever had. Our plan was to spend the day after looking around Liverpool but we just went back home instead because we were rough as hell. I'll be back though because Laura lives there and I want to try her mum's scouse (it's like a stew apparently).

I'll never regret going to new places, or re-visiting places. I think sometimes you just need to leave everything for a while and be somewhere new, away from everything that's bothering you. I have so many travelling plans for next year. I was speaking to one of my friend's about travelling the other day and what he said was so relevant - "we can literally do whatever we want. I just thought about like the idiocy of booking random flights to see someone I've never met in a  brand new country but you know what fuck it. I'm not gonna sit around and be a boring bastard that's just set in the way of life. I have plenty of time to start life properly so fuck it, let's wing it." And although that doesn't completely work for me it makes a lot of sense. Going out into the world and actually experiencing it will never be a regret.

And now the year is coming to the end and I'm in a good place. My sister had another baby at the beginning of the month so I now have another nephew. I've got the best people around me. I'm in a happy relationship with someone that genuinely cares and supports me and even though I found trusting somebody incredibly hard, I'm glad I didn't let the past stop me from being happy.

I moved into my new flat with my dad and although it doesn't quite feel like a home yet, it's getting there. I was really worried about leaving the home I'd grown up in but you've got to get out of your comfort zone and change stuff, especially to keep your life exciting. I wasn't happy in my old house, I was hanging on to old memories and that's all I was staying for but I've left now and I still have those memories and I'm happier being somewhere new starting a new chapter. I'm on the look out for a new job at the moment and although I don't have much in the pipeline, I'm not worried because it'll work out.

So that's my closure for 2016. There's still a month left to go but I'm ready to focus on attempting to make 2017 extra special. I have so much planned that I'll let you know about by the end of the year.

lots of love
Jennie x