Real Talk (A Review of my 2017)

It’s less than 1 week from Christmas and what a very bad blogger I have been. Around this time over the last couple of years I have found myself writing a post that looks back on my year, reviews the things I’ve done and the things I’ll hope to do the following year. This is seemingly the norm for many bloggers and perhaps one of the only times of the year that they can be truly self-reflective, rather than writing about whatever their niche topic to blog about is. Personally – aside from writing majorly on travel – I’ve stopped caring about finding a niche. Years ago when I first learned of blogging, it was more like a public diary than a profession. If you can succeed with blogging as a profession then fair play to you, but perhaps I’ve been such a reluctant blogger in 2017 because of the pressure that seems to be attached to it now – writing the right content that will get you thousands of views, likes, followers and everything else that comes with running an effective blog. I have written very few posts this year, hence receiving a very minuscule amount of what I’ve just described.

In a sense this disappoints me because at the start of the year – like most before – I wrote myself monthly goals aimed at exactly what posts I would write and when I’d publish them but as optimistic as you can feel in the first week of January, it lasts just about the entirety of that week before realizing that a) new year doesn’t necessarily mean masses of productivity and inspirational life changes, and b) January is an utterly shit month. We all know it.

So here I am. December, and it’s been a bit of a strange year all in all. Travel-wise, I have been to a total of two countries this year: Portugal and Slovenia. For someone who loosely refers to themselves as a travel blogger, TWO countries in a 12-month period is POOR (not complaining, Slovenia was stunning). However I had told myself that I wouldn’t go crazy, that I’d focus on work and saving money… following my big trip around Europe the previous Summer. So I guess that’s exactly what I did – albeit dull – and it’s primarily through work and saving money that I have experienced quite a strange year thanks to various events and encounters. This is only to be expected when it is through work that I live the majority of my life. My entire circle of friends are my colleagues. My only time-out from work is being at home with my family (who are also equally as weird, including myself so there’s not much escaping the weirdness).

 

Besides the general weirdness, my year took a dive a couple of times too, with my motivation level dropping to zero and my level of pulling-myself-out-of-a-demotivated-black-hole sinking to below zero. I’ve had days with absolutely no desire to do anything and I fell into a habit of living each day and thinking forward to tomorrow, then to the end of the week, the end of the month… and now the end of the year. 2017 has come and gone in a flash. And honestly I’m just looking forward to 2018 because years ending in even numbers have worked out so much better for me recently!

So this time around (writing my yearly review post), I’m going to be quite frank. Maybe that way, a year down the line anything I’ve achieved will surely be an improvement on what I’m predicting as of this moment right now…

I predict that my January will be a dull and miserable month filled with resentful moments of me questioning me: ‘why didn’t you just bloody book a weeks holiday to have something to look forward to in January?’ February will be done and dusted in what will feel more like 2 weeks than a month so no need to fuss about that. March is when things start to get busy for me work-wise and my company is due changes in the new year so who knows what this could throw up? April might just be a little bit joyful as it’ll be the start of Spring and the end of what will have seemed like a year’s Winter! (Plus lambs and Easter eggs make everyone happy). May will be warmer and closer to June meaning… summer and holidays! July and August will be a mix of emotions: working long, sweaty days but enjoying lots of light evenings out with my weird (but loveable) friends! Then we reach September, another prime time to go on holiday so hopefully I’ll have another one in store. October brings us back to cold climates as a little tease for the LONG AND MISERABLE WINTER that awaits us. November and December I can easily skip through as very cold months, two highlights being my birthday in December and the return of toffee nut lattes in Starbucks.

And there it is, my 2018 summed up in 231 words. Thats what I predict. Usually I would set some goals too. However this time my goal is to NOT set too many goals. A small goal here and there is fine, it’s manageable and if it’s not, then I’ll get over it. But I’ve proved to myself this year that I can’t exactly commit to all of my goals. Not at the moment anyway. Committing to no goals also comes with small dangers too. As an organised person, who has to regularly write down their thoughts as well as to-do lists on a daily basis to prevent their brain turning into mush, having no goals could be a bad move for me. My motivation as it is in 2017 has been shocking for the majority and it’s clear to me that I need a change in my attitude to certain things so, is having no goals risky or is it exactly what I need to stop pressuring myself into achieving time-scaled, sometimes unrealistic ambitions?

Where travel is concerned, I can only hope that whatever I choose to do in 2018 I either take the plunge and go far away, for a long time or I discover at least 2-3 new destinations, meaning that taking the plunge is postponed even longer. And as for my blog, I just want to become a better writer and I want to write for myself again, not for anyone else. As it stands, I have 14 unpublished, unfinished posts sitting in my WordPress account because I rushed through posts believing I needed to publish more on my blog, more frequently in order to gain even a tiny bit of success. The result of that is average writing (in my opinion) which then leads to a lack of confidence to post anything at all. It’s kind of a vicious cycle, and when you look at it on the grand scale of what is actually your LIFE, it’s also completely meaningless.

I’m not a strict follower of inspirational quotes by any means, but I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict and coming across quotes is a regular occurence during a Pinterest scrolling-binge. The other day, I found this one by Joshua Glenn Clark – who I’ll be honest have never heard of in my life – but he writes a good quote.

This explains exactly what I mentioned above, about thinking ahead to my next day, my next week, my next month. No wonder 2017 seems like it’s flown by. The sad thing is, that more well-known saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ isn’t exactly what applies to my year.

Hopefully I’ll learn how to slow down in 2018 and try to enjoy each of my days before thinking forward to the next one. I’ll let you know how it goes in 12 months time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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